May 19, 2008

More Day Labor

We had our first irrigation this past Saturday. I was under the mistaken impression that we just had to turn on the water to the gated pipe system when it was our turn to get the ditch water, and we’d be set.
First we had to repair the hole in the pipe where Boss stepped on it last fall. (After that mishap, we ran electric wire along the pipe to keep the horses off.) The pipe replacement wasn’t too difficult. Then we found out that we needed ditches and some furrows to reach the higher areas. Even though the pasture appears completely flat, it’s not, at least not as far as the water flow is concerned. Our neighbor dug some of the ditches with his backhoe, but the furrows were up to us.
The actual water flow went pretty well, except for a minor tsunami coming out of one of the pipe connections with a worn out gasket. Finally, exhausted and filthy, we had the whole pasture watered, after 9 and a half hours of monitoring. But… we couldn’t get the water turned off! Something was wrong with the seating of the valve. With the neighbor’s help (he was anxiously awaiting his own water turn) we managed to get it closed down.
Ah, the relief. However, three days later, the valve is gushing again. We’ll just have to accept the extra water until the group of neighbors who are on our system finish and the main pipe is shut down. Then we can fix the problem. We hope.
Ibis, some kind of gull, and other long-legged fishing type birds seem to follow the irrigation in the early spring. It’s fun to see the birds squabbling with each other over a worm. We also saw mallards in the flooded field, and possibly snowy egrets (not sure of the identification.) We’ve seen lots of goldfinches and other finches at our backyard feeder, and there are always plenty of water birds, robins, and various raptors back along the creek.

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