We’ve Started Water—Monday, April 11, 2016

Hard work but every so necessary.  Without water we would not have crops. And here we must water with syphon tubes or gated pipe.

Cleaning-DitchFirst we had to clean out the ditches—these ditches are terrible for collecting trash from our fields and neighbor fields, that Colorado wind, you know.  🙂

Setting-out-tubesThen while Terry marked out the fields I picked up all the syphon tubes I so carefully put away last fall and placed them in their proper slot on the ditch.

Digging-endsAfter which it was time to start the water…Terry does the head gate thing, I’m a tad ‘feared of the head gate.  Scary roaring powerful thing that it is.

Then we both start digging out the ends so we can lay the tubes into them.  The tubes suck the water from the cement or dirt ditches and channel the water down the rows. Gated pipe is much easier, you just open a gate.  BUT trash gets in the pipe, plugs up the gates, you can’t get it out without tremendous work…a stick took both us four hours to get it out…it was just out of reach and we couldn’t get it…then it trapped all the weeds….ick.Setting-tubes

We do this over and over until all the furrows are full….we set about 40 tubes per field.

WetIn eight hours that set has the soil wet enough we can move on up the ditch.  Right now we have two fields we are working in.  Two areas to dig out ends, walk the water down the row to make sure it keeps going straight and doesn’t cut over into a neighboring furrow.

Lots of work…but you know what!? I love it!  I love the smell of the water when it first hits the bone dry soil, and I love the rich, moist smell of the fields after the water is removed.

Wet-1

We check constantly making sure everything is working well.  The first irrigation of the season is the worst, (in the terms of work), but once the rows seal, the plants are up, it’s just a matter of setting tubes and making sure the water makes it to the end (so the next field can get some.)

On-a-ditch-bank-3Sure is a nice life…if Terry had dirt in his veins, then I have irrigation water in mine.  Tee Hee.

Your friend on a western Colorado farm,

Linda

 

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42 thoughts on “We’ve Started Water—Monday, April 11, 2016

  1. Great report Linda – a lot of very hard “Yakka” you both do.
    Real teamwork – love the ending of this daily ritual with the watering
    of the fields.
    “If Terry has dirt in his veins, then I have irrigation water in mine”.
    That says it all for “Life on a Colorado Farm”.
    Well done – real loving teamwork.
    Cheers
    Colin 7.35 pm Monday 11th.
    PS: I guess you are now on daylight saving time.

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  2. i was just thinking the same thing as linda ault above – how different some of your spring prep is from our farmers’ prep, for the same crops, here in NE ohio. i was also struck by this a few years ago when visiting southern michigan/northern indiana, where a lot of seed corn is grown, and seeing the extensive areas of irrigation pivots, etc., miles after miles of them, and the other work that goes into hybridizing, for example. –suz in ohio

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  3. gr8 last pixure.

    your effort (& the “worthwhile-ness” of it !) makes our gettin’ the pump/IRR system to water our puny < 2 acres (of useless lawn, mostly!) trivial in comparison.

    never-the-less, i/we had spent parts of 2 (or 3?) weekends (weakendz) re-building the dock at our pond. we finished! ~ 3 p.m. yesterday,

    then Betty says "let's get the lawn-sprinkling system working" — surprising things were (1) it only took 3 beers (total for the day) to finish up AND (2) the sprink system (mostly) worked when we turned it on! (THAT used to hardly ever happen).

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      • basically, it’s gotten (for years now) that for me (and we?) to accomplish one “major task” in a day is something. then for her to say let’s do this other thing … i was planning on COASTING the “rest” (pun intended there) of the day ~

        to make my sad over-worked weekend weirder — the day before i drove to/from NOOKLA to participate in their animal shelter fund-raiser, and found that the event had been cancelled! (yes, i’m stoopyd, should-a checked the website as they had announced the cancel a few daze prior)

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  4. I’m reading a science fiction/action book set in the future and it is all about water rights (of course it is all dried up and quite the war). It kind of makes it seem more real, knowing you do depend on, and work hard for, the very same water the book is based on! I will have these visuals in my head when I get back to the book tonight.
    I also adore that last shot – it’s perfect to show the end of a long day’s work and the rewards, too.

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    • There have been murder’s in our county over water. And if you want to make an enemy just take their water, even if it flows right by your door. Cedaredge has the worst problem with water rights, down here we have the ditch riders whose thankless job is to ride the ditches and make sure the water is going where the person who has it allotted to their farm and paid for it is supposed to be.

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  5. It all seems so complicated Linda, this water business. I never of this being done until I started reading your blog last year. Wow …. what a lot of work. I love the way you talk about it though and the things you enjoy about it, even though it’s so much work. Worth it in the end!!! Thanks for your blog and great explanations!

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    • I have to lay the tubes in the water and then place the palm of my hand over the end and fling them into the furrow. Terry just picks up the tube, pumps it two times in the ditch (never bending over) flings it into the furrow and walks on. I have never figure it out.

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  6. Hard work! We had to irrigate in NE growing up. Huge garden near the house irrigated by changing the course of a creek. An acre in our alfalfa field devoted to difmelons.kinds of melons. Same creek! What we didn’t eat or can, we sold in town. I understand the smell of still getting watered in spring. Newly mown hay, new denim and horses. My fav smells from childhood!

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    • Mine too…I love the smell of horse! And fresh mowed alfalfa is perfect! Then there is the smell of rain, just before it rains…oh, you are so right, the list just goes on and on. 🙂

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