We started the water for the first time Thursday morning around 6:00. Terry worked at the head gate and I cleaned the ditches as the water flowed toward the fields. I rejoiced that I had gained back my summer muscles by the time we turned on the water! You see a person must straddle the ditch, pitch fork in hand and scoop and fling out trash like crazy, then jump back to one side and rush down to a further location, straddle the ditch, and start scooping again until we get to end of our place and the water flows back into the canal.
There is always, always tons of trash in the ditches.
Then Terry joins me, he places the dams along the cement ditch; backing up the water. After which we start the tubes, he digs out the furrows and I start the tubes. We must work fast or the water will back up and flood over the sides creating a mini-disaster.
Twice a day every day the tubes are changed….every two hours or so, the tubes are checked to make sure there is no trash in the ditch and the water isn’t running over into fields that haven’t been worked.
In the evening we move the water to the alfalfa field, since it doesn’t need to be checked while we sleep.
Spring time work is always a huge, huge push. But there are so many wonderful things about being out there on the land: the smell of the ground as the water hits it for the first time, the extremely cold invigorating wind on your face as you drive the 4-wheeler, the warm body of Boomer as he huddles next to me using me as a shield, the peace and beauty all around, seeing pheasants rise with loud squawks and cries of alarm, if we get too close to them, watching a fox trot along the edge of the alfalfa field searching for mice, bending over and setting a tube (and it works the first time) then moving on, always staying ahead and in a rhythm, the sun coming up and starting to warm the air the land and you, shedding your jacket and feeling the sudden coolness that soon disappears as you work.
Long before we finish the last set of the day the air starts to cool down so the jackets come back on, Boomer is tired and hangs by me all muddy and pleased with himself, the Western Meadowlarks are now silent and the Red-winged black birds chirping sleepy time calls, a little family of Kill Deer run quickly away from us, and the sun breaks forth into dazzling colors, peace and calm settle down upon the land as the life giving water flows toward the end of the field.