Water is not only the backbone of the farm.
Water is a tool.
To irrigate properly you not only need to understand water, the needs of the water, and how the water performs on the land.
You need to also understand the land you are using the water on!
For some people, like Mom, watering yard…she just turns the spigot on, moves the hose with the sprinkler head here and there all over the lawn in 30 minutes stretches.
Also, Mom takes off the sprinkle head and puts on a soaker head so she can water her flower beds.
Yes, this takes lots of time, because Mom doesn’t have a sprinkling system.
But for the water on the farm, on this side of the Rocky Mountains, in the high mountains desert…water is moved through furrows.
Other places rely on rainfall—that will never happen here.
Some other places pump water out of a river, or lake, or pond, or an aquifer into huge sprinkler systems that never stop. (Because sprinkle systems only put down a tiny amount of moisture at a time, so the sprinkler has to be moving constantly to get everything wet down to the roots of the plant.)
Some places flood-irrigate…like rice paddies, for instance, or some other type of crop which moves lots and lots of water onto the crop then take it away and let it dry, only to repeat again later.
Here we take our water onto the land in a big head — the head is made up of shares. The Shares are the amount of water allowed for that farm.
Moving water onto the farm takes timing, balance, athletic ability (you have to stand or jump on the ditches), and an understanding of the farm and water.
Mom says there is something so beautiful, soothing, and marvelous about working the water on the land. Just listening to the water is calming; making sure the water is doing what it’s supposed to —
run down each row…the row that amount of water is allotted to is exciting.
Sometimes the water wants to ‘cut over’ into its neighbor’s row, or something jumps into the row—like a clod of dirt, or the remainder of last year’s corn cob/stalk — getting the water BACK into its own row and taking the block out can be a tad exciting (and muddy and stressful.
But seeing the water running nice and even, the sides of the furrow’s turning browner soaking up the water, watching the ground soak up the water all the water to the middle.
At least two more chapters in the backbone of water—Stay tuned!
(See my gift to Mom—MOUSE!)