The Growing Season has Begun!—Tuesday, April, 2017

We got the ditches all cleaned and then

Turned in the water!

We started small…20 tubes, so we could manage the setting and the digging out of the ends

Gradually we added more water, more rows, and more tubes

Nothing like the smell of the dry earth, as the water soaks into it.

Terry dug out the ends and I started the tubes. In a wee break I stopped and looked at Terry, who had a huge grin on his face.

“You are sure happy” I commented.

“Yes!” he replied.  “Being out here, doing this, makes me happy!”

“Me thinks”, I smiled at him….”You love being a farmer.”

“I think so too.” he stated.

Your friend on a western Colorado farm,

Linda

 

 

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The Adventures of Boomer on Friday—Out on the Ditch Bank

 

Coming-to-me

Mom had to go help Dad over at the other place.  She went on the tractor so I didn’t get to go!  😦

Mom and Dad won’t let me run alongside either, they say I’m too old (I’m eleven now) and it would be way too long of a run so I get—“No, Boomer!  NO!  You stay here”!  Then Mom gives me a hug and a very stern look and off she goes.

BUT!  I always meet Mom when she comes home!  ALWAYS!  I meet Dad, also, but I don’t run down the road as far. 🙂

The fox are coming into the yard.  One had Sammy cornered.  Mom heard the racket and came running out of the house just in time to see the fox and Sammy in a standoff at the grain ben.  I chased the fox all the way to the upper end.  Whew!  Boy was I ever hot and tired when I got back.  Mom gave me a big bowl of cold water and a dog cookie.  I gobbled up the water and the cookie and took a Loooong nap.  I sure needed it.  (I might be old(er), but I can still do my job!)

Hidden

Last night we scared Momma Deer and her Princess out of the corn field when we went up to change the water.  (Dad was a little disgusted, but at the same time we ALL liked seeing the little baby!)  Mom told me that today we will just take up more of the shelled corn and put it closer to where the deer are bedding down.

Pink-water-Use

Everyone had a big laugh when I chased a mouse out of one of the siphon tubes.  It ran toward me and I sorta jumped.  BUT!!! No one jumped as much as Mom did when she put a siphon tube into the water and a vole rushed out of the end of the tube and over her hand!

Mom didn’t scream but she sure did lose the siphon tube in the ditch and run backwards for a short spell!!! 🙂

Early this morning we were just stirring around when the fox came back INTO THE yard and ran right by the kitchen window.  Monkey started growling low in her voice, Sam jumped up on the window sill, Mom and I hurried out the back door and Mom said “Get!” to the fox.  Which it did.

I didn’t chase the fox this time, he/she was going so fast there was no reason to give chase.

Helping-out

Well, there is my week. Doesn’t seem like much, but it sure is fun!
Boomer

Listen—Sunday, June 28, 2015

Set-4The heat is ferocious–late July and early August heat.  Bearing down and smashing one into the ground.  Still I’ll take it any day over the long, dark, cold, and dreary days of winter.

Anyday!

Scotch-BluebonnetsYears ago I saw these beautiful flowers growing in my Mother-in-law’s yard.  She was ripping them out and tossing them in the trash heap.

“Oh, what are those beautiful plants”?  I asked her.

“Scotch Bluebonnets”, she replied.  “You don’t want them, they spread like weeds.”

“Oh, but I do! May I have a couple of shovel fulls to plant in me yard?”  I replied with shinning eyes!

“Honestly you will NOT want these things” she said in disgust,  as she put two shovel full of starts in a cardboard box for me.

I hugged the box to my chest and placed it very carefully in the trunk of the car.  “Thank you!” I cried.  “I’m sure I will love them.”

“Don’t thank me”, she very tiredly replied.  “I guarantee you will not like them, in the long run.”

I can assure you, many, many, years later…SHE WAS RIGHT!  I do NOT want these invasive weeds masquerading as flowers.  Horrid plants!  Just HORRID!  They are everywhere in my yard, in the grass on the lawn, in every flowerbed, along side the ditches—-ugh!

The-end-of-the-dayEvery morning the earth, the sky, and the air seem so fresh and alive. If one stands still surrounded by the chirps and chitters of all the birds; stands outside and is very still.  Still in the mind, not just the body, still so your soul can hear—the voice of the earth will speak loud and clear.

It seems that the rocks and the trees and even the soil underneath your feet is waking refreshed and eager to start the day.

Set-5

As the day ends and night creeps along our mesa; lengthening it’s way toward the west;  I can sometimes feel the sweet song of bedtime flowing down deep within the earth.

Today is Sunday. Today we only do those things that MUST be done…today we rest and enjoy the fruits of the past week, preparing for the new week.

I hope each and everyone of you have a good Sunday, my friends!

Your friend on a western Colorado Farm

Linda

 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

The water fights have begun…not with the farmers but the subdivision people and the ditch company.  I am so thankful I am not a ditch rider (although, there was a time I would have enjoyed being a ditch rider.)

So many people don’t understand what ‘priority rights’ mean—nor do they want too.  They also don’t understand that the water levels are way, way, way below normal in Taylor and Blue Mesa Reservoir.  Drinking water and farm water comes first.

Sort of sad really.

The water is still three miles from us.  It will be that way until sometime next week.  There are so many canals, laterals, and ditches that have to be cleaned and flushed before the water gets to us — we are close to last on our mesa before the water heads into the river.

Since the water is not as close as we thought we have been able to slow down the pace some and get caught up.  A nice little gift of time.

Terry is calling Monday to see when they think the water will get here.  Once it’s here and the head gate is unlocked (and locked back at 50%) we will hit the ground running.

Heat-seeking-cat

Nothing like the life of a cat, is there?

Linda

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!!!!

Linda

I’m BAAAAAAAAAAACK!!!!!

We were lucky, the weather held until we got the hay in.  Terry stacked it in a whole other spot so it won’t get mixed up in the really good hay. 

Since we only had the irrigation to do and Terry needed a part for one of the tractors we took off for Rocky Ford, Colorado.  (The home of the wonderful cantalope—–and great tractor and combine salvage yards).

Blue Mesa Dam was beautiful

This is where we get our irrigation water, so seeing if full is wonderful!

It was fuller than we’ve seen in a long, long time.

The shopping center was full of all sorts of goodies

So much to chose from

In the end the perfect part was there.  And for a really nice price.

Home again.

Along the way I was given  a gift also

Pretty Cool.

We got back to a couple of really big, fast moving rain storms.  Everything is rich and green, including the weeds.

So I guess you know what I’ll be doing today. 🙂

Thanks for stopping by and leaving comments.  I plan on getting around to everyone’s blog soon and hope to get all my comments answered today!

Linda

Anniversary of Delta County 1883-1958- The Fair

Here is Where it all Begins and Ends

Black-Canyon-Water

On Thursday or Friday of this week our irrigation water will be turned off. 

No longer will irrigation water from the Gunnison River flow through our canal on its way to California.

Gunnison-River

The canal will dry up and stay empty until next spring…the last week in March.

I am showing you pictures of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. 40 miles from our farm.

Gunnison-River-becomes-our-

This is the canal that diverts the allotted portion of the Gunnison river into canals for irrigation and drinking water.

This canal is so large a grain truck can sit in the bottom of the canal and there is still several more feet to the top.  Lots of water flows through here. Lots of water.

I actually like this incredibly dangerous and frightening water.  I enjoy knowing the life that it brings to the land.  And I like drinking it too 🙂

Linda

More on Irrigation Water

Sometimes people get weirded out that farmers waste water, but water is never wasted. (as far as I know).

After we put the water through our fields the water goes back into the canal; rushing to the next farm down the way.  This is the main artery head gate at the end of our place. 

Canal-Headgate

The canal divides the water to go under the road to next set of farms and down the hill to a whole different set of farm.  These big head gates give me vertigo, so I am grateful I don’t EVER have to do anything with it.

More-Ditch-Foam

This is a cool photo of ditch foam.  I like to find ditch foam.  It is a rare, but not unusual phenomenon, which occurs when conditions are just right.  I found one awhile back and posted about it here. https://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com/2007/07/27/ditch-foam-happens-once-in-a-great-while/

Moving-Water

This photo shows you a head of water let loose and moving quickly.  When you pull up the dam the whole head swooshes down the ditch, so you have to hurry to beat the water to your next set or the water can run over the sides.

Devils-Kitchen

Our farm is on a mesa, just above some very interesting canyons.  Last evening we went to Fat Man’s Misery and walked up to Devil’s Kitchen.  The formations here are just amazing.  The last thing you want to happen is to be here when a flash flood occurs.  And they do occur, as you can tell from the standing water.

I am not going to be able to do much posting for a few days now, we have company coming, and a short trip to Dove Creek to visit some friends.  But I will be checking everyone’s blog over this next week, just not planning on doing much posting on mine.

Everything should settle itself down after the 4th of July and return to normal.

Have a nice week and really good 4th of July!

Saturday

making-a-ditch

Saturday my husband leaves for Macon, Georgia, to help our son move back home.  This is a good thing for us, but it will entail lots of hours of driving.  While he is gone I will be responsible for changing the water, feeding the animals, and keeping wood in the fire. (Maybe it will warm up and I won’t have to worry about that part.)

I have a few more step 7 photos, but I need to take them first.  Then Step 7 will be complete.  Irrigation lasts until October, but setting the water up for the first time, takes lots of work.

 

dirt-ditch

We still have a few dirt ditches, which have to be cleaned out every spring and when they sand up, cleaned out again and again, until the water is turned off.

And we water our pasture out of an earth ditch. 

One thing about farming, you get to use big equipment. 

earth-ditch

Here is how the gates are opened from one ditch to another on our place.

gate

The orange dam is how the water is stopped from going down another ditch.  (The ditch you aren’t using at the moment.) 

Step 7- Starting the Irrigation Water

utah-wind

Before we could begin a big wind storm from Utah hit our area bringing with it 45-60 mile an hour wind.   

Step 7 has many, many parts to it:

1.     Call the ditch rider so the water can be turned into your head gate.  This is the amount of water you are allotted per season.  You can NEVER go over this amount, but they can cut you short of your amount because of drought.  You still pay the same, whether you get your full amount or not  (and water here, costs more than the taxes on the farm.)

2.     Gather up all the siphon tubes and lay them out in the correct pattern

picking-up-tubes

 

 3.    Turn the water down the main ditch artery for our place- once it is turned into this ditch, that ditch will always have water in it until the end of the growing season.

4.     Although we cleaned the ditch (by hand-called digging out the ditch) the really messy wind had filled it back up with trash

cleaning-the-ditch1

5.     Set the tubes.  This requires a siphon like action.  I have to put the tubes in the ditch, cover up one end and then hurry and spill it over the side. 

Terry just walks along and covers one hand over the end, pumps two times and drops the tube in the furrow.  I take forever; he is done in a short time.  THEREFORE I set the tubes in the furrow, while he siphons the water into the furrows. We try to have enough tubes that once they are set we don’t have to pack them again. But every year we have to replace tubes as they wear out or get broke.  Some years we just pack the tubes as that is a cheaper way to go. 

Depending on the field there are about 30-40 tubes per field.  It also depends on the amount of water in the ditch.  Sometimes we double tube, but that is later on in the season.

setting-tubes

 

6.     The water is moved after the proper amount of ‘subbing’ has taken place.  And the water has made it to the end of the field.  Usually about a 12 hour set.  But when water is short it is moved every 8 hours, day and night to get it through all the crops.

wind-in-fuzzys-fur1

Fuzzy loves to help, he spends lots of time barking at bubbles, trying to catch sticks and sometimes jumping in and wading. 

 

7.     The irrigator has to follow the water down each row, making sure it doesn’t plug up, sink in a hole, cut over into another row until it gets to the end of the row.  5 acres is a job, 30 acres a pain, and 50 acres horribly hard.  We farm 80+ acres.  The water only has to be walked if the leveling job is not good (that’s why I say it is an art form).   Then we only have to walk until the row is imprinted with the memory of the water, after that it is sealed.  BUT….once Terry cultivates we have to start over again.  Then when the crops get too big to get the tractor through the field the water just has to make what way it can, hopefully the imprint is firm and we don’t have to worry.

Maybe you can see the subbing taking place in the below photo.

 

water-in-the-furrows

There is more, but this gets the water started for the season.