A Small and Welcome Snow—Monday, December 3, 2018

“The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a Magical Event.  You go to bed in one kind of a world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not Enchantment, then where is it to be found?—J.B. Priestley

The day is still cold enough the remnants of last night’s small snow is staying on the ground

We have been so terribly dry that even this small snow is a wonderful gift.

Your friend on a western Colorado farm,



The Loss of Vital Moisture—Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Back to our little trip with good friends, Larry and Glenda, on Saturday.

Although, we have known, have driven around and seen all the horrendous loss to the lakes in Gunnison and Ridgway, and on Grand Mesa

Riding in the backcountry, brought the tremendous loss right up front.

 The need for snow and rain is huge

Since Larry and Glenda live on Grand Mesa year-round, I asked if there are any signs that the snowpack will be abundant this coming winter.

They both explained that if the Fireweed is correct….(the old-timers say when the Fireweed is abundant it means there will be lots and lots of snow come winter)—Grand Mesa should have lots of snow.

Click on the blue link to see information about the Fireweed.

They continued on explaining that this year, on the Grand Mesa, the wildflowers were rich and abundant and very plentiful.  Especially the Fireweed.

Click on the blue link to see photos of Fireweed.

Excellent news, don’t you think?

Your friend on a western Colorado farm,


The Dazzling Luster of Each and Every Day—-Monday, May 7, 2018

The big fluffy clouds fill the sky, white and airy, casting shadows on the ground as a high winds slowly, ever so slowly herds them along from one spot to another.

The long and soft shadows move slowly over the grasses, and the irrigated fields

The dirt slowly absorbing the flowing water, turning dry soil into wet

The days start early, always by first light, the sun gradually lighting the farms, mesas, plateaus, hills, dales, knobs, and subdivisions…the cold air damp on the weeds and grasses this time of day, this time of year.

It’s very dry here.  Dry enough farmers and ranchers are extremely worried.  The Forest Service as issued statements saying no cows are allowed on the Forests this year (and if there are some long-time permits being honored…its only for a limited number of cattle.)

When one or more farmer gathers the talk is always about water.  Those farmers in the Cedaredge/Eckert area are stating there is very little water for them this year.  Very little.

Tiny amounts of water.

Terry talked to our Ditch Rider (Uncompahgre Valley Water Users)  and he says we will have water. It will be short, but there will be water. (Our water comes from Taylor Park Reservoir around the Crested Butte area, then into the Blue Mesa Reservoir, through the Black Canyon then on to us….winding it’s way from here all the way through the Colorado River to California.)

Our day ends as the daylight finally thins way after the sun sets around 8:15 or so.  Long shadows filling the lessening day until only night remains.

Long days.  But a good way of living.  Neither Terry or I could ever ask for more.

Your friend on a western Colorado farm,


Winter Work January 29, 2014

Blading-in-the-ditchTerry started covering the rest of the transmission ditch.   Terry’s been putting in transmission pipe for some time — a transmission ditch is just that a ditch that takes the water from point a to point b or c or d or whatever.  We do Not irrigate out of a transmission ditch.   A transmission ditch is just a mini-canal.

With water always an issue, and getting worse in the southwest part of the United States, we are always trying to think of ways to help the water stretch further. (We are in the abnormally dry area).  An open dirt transmission ditch has lots of problems—water is lost through evaporation (the sun beats down and takes up water into the air), the ground itself has to absorb the water until it get full enough of the water (turns to mud) for the water to move fast enough toward the take out point to get enough to start the siphon tubes or to fill the gated pipes, and then there are the weeds.  Weed seed just naturally flows toward soil in water, when the water is stopped from that transmission ditch, the weed seed stops with the water; delightfully growing and growing taking up even more water as the season progresses.


So yesterday Terry began the closing in the ditch, shifting the ground so the deep frost will start to dry out, and gathering the weeds in a pile so the cows can munch through them.  Even if we get snow the snow will blow on over toward the canal now and not land in the ditch causing us to have to wait even longer before we can begin.

Once the ground is frost free (or Terry gets tired of waiting) the backhoe will come in and dig the last link to connect all the transmission lines together.  Then Terry and I will start laying the pipe; then covering up the pipe.  Once done we will be ready for the new year to begin.

This weekend is the second consignment sale for the winter.  We’ve decided not to take anything up to it, but wait for the first week in March for the third consignment sale.  Every day we moving closer and closer to the beginning of another season of farm work.

Once that happens I know that we have advanced into spring!

Your friend on a Western Colorado farm,


P.S.  Cully if you are reading this, your email doesn’t work.  I’ve tried to answer your comment two times and the  mail comes back undelivered.  Please know that I really appreciate you taking the time to read and to stop by and comment.  I’m sorry if you aren’t able to get my replies.  I do try to reply to everyone who leaves me a comment.  😦

April 23, 2013

A very cold winter wind is here!


The lovely spring day we had yesterday is just a distant memory now.  A tease of warmth and loveliness.

The wind turned cold last night, waking us up to freeze warnings until tomorrow morning sometime.

The fireplace feels good!

Still the work must go on.


We got word that we just might be able to have 55% water, instead of the 50% so Terry made the decision to go ahead and plant pinto beans.  This will put 70% of our farm into production.  ( I was hoping for alfalfa, but pintos don’t take as much water and their growing season is much shorter.)


We’ve started the water in the established alfalfa field — another field that has an earth ditch and siphon tubes.  This morning when changing the tubes…moving the water on down the field … there was ice along the rows.

Hay-and-boomerAlfalfa at this stage of it’s life can handle some freezing, but newly planted and just starting to pop up alfalfa would be killed.


Today Terry has finished leveling the pinto bean field (putting a slight grade on the land so the water will run ‘down’ the rows and on out to the waste ditch), and started marking out the rows.


(Terry is marking out the bean ground, even as I type)

As soon as we are through the alfalfa field we will start water on the pinto bean field.

I sure hope this last nasty/cold winter wind/storm is the last of winter’s hurrah!  It’s been so cold the snow hasn’t even started to melt in the mountains…which is a blessing and a curse wrapped up as one.

Well, enough of this whine at least it must be snowing somewhere, its just that cold.  And snow means water and water means less worry about drought and less drought is good for everyone.

Stay warm, my friends!  At some point winter really will leave and spring will arrive!  When it does—We all will be ready!


Maybe This Time

We are in the middle of another winter storm…high winds, blowing snow and winter advisory over the Gunnison Mountain Range.

Terry and about 4 other neighbors were talking yesterday evening about the snow on the Gunnison Mountain Range…this is where we get our water.

The whole conversation was dismal, to put it lightly.

One of the neighbors is the Vice-President of the Uncompahgre Water Users (our irrigation water) and he said things are looking very bad in the water department.  The snow pack is 77% of normal, but the snow is a very dry snow, with very little water.

The Water Users were going to turn the water on the middle of April, but now they aren’t….they are going to wait until the first day of May, hoping to have water for the heat of the season…July and August.

Now, no one knows what to do….everyone is looking at planting a maximum of 60% of their farm ground, but…can they?  The sweet corn farmers and the onion guys need to have the seed in the ground in April, wet and ready to sprout by the third week of April to have a crop.  With this late water start it is looking like the crop for Olathe Sweet Sweet Corn and Mountain Sweet Sweet Corn is going to be very slim…if at all.

Pinto Beans don’t have to be planted as early and can be harvested early, but they do need lots of water…the pinto bean guys are wondering if they should even try since they can’t afford to have the water shot just as the pods begin to swell.

Corn for corn bread, chicken feed and cow feed takes a long growing season and needs to be in the ground, watered up before the first of May…

Lets hope this storm is being very good to us and lots of WET snow is falling on the Gunnison Mountains…magic thoughts from all you, please!

Food is going to be sparse this year from our part of Colorado it seems, unless the Gunnison Mountains can get lots and lots of WET snow.




Water—-The Lifeblood of Life

We received notice yesterday by the Ditch Company that the irrigation water is to be shut off early this year and (depending on the snow levels over winter) to start later next year.

Although, we have turned our water off, there are those who have planted winter wheat and also those who have just cut their hay and will need to water the alfalfa field one more time before going into winter.

“Due to drought conditions and the heavy usage of stored water this summer, the Uncompahgre Valley Water Users Association –UVWUA- will be shutting the Gunnison Tunnel off two and a half weeks early this year. The shut-off date will be October 15th. This decision has been made to conserve Taylor Reservoir water for next year. Growers planting winter grains should plan accordingly. Pending the type of winter we have this year, there is a possibility water will be turned on later than normal next spring.  For questions or comments call the UVWUA.”


You are looking upon our head gate for the irrigation water to our place.  Our share of this canal (the Ironstone) is taken out at this point.  It goes back in at the end of our farm.

We were watching the Rural Farm News (yes, we do things like that) and the report on there was this drought is the largest drought in years, and years, and years, encompassing most of the United States clear into Canada.

As much as I dislike snow and ice and the dark and cold of winter….I’m sure there isn’t a person out there that doesn’t want a lot of moisture this winter.

Finger crossed and toes crossed for moisture for drought stricken regions everywhere!!!!