Monday, June 07, 2010

Monday with Marcia Lowry--Got Water? Irrigating 101

To irrigate our hay fields, water is diverted from the creek that goes by our house into a canal system
When the spring melt is on our creek CAN flood - as seen by this picture.
It is the irrigater's job to open these "gates" and water the field
Riley dog was immediately able to locate the dead porcupine irrigater's helper!
All in all, with a view like this, it's not a bad job in the summer!

It requires a lot of water to produce crops in this high desert country. Wyoming has miles of irrigation canals and ditches that carry the much needed water to farmers and ranchers. It is then the farmer/rancher's job to get it on his field. This is called "irrigating" by some and "irritating" by others. When it goes well it is very satisfying, when it doesn't you are allowed to use lots of colorful words.

When the spring melt is on our creek CAN flood - as seen by this picture.

We have canal headgates (slides that open and close) on our property that are opened up to release water into gated pipe (10 or 12 inch round PVC pipes with little "gates" every 3 feet or so that open and close).

There are LOTS of variables that can make this fun... or tend to get very wet at some point, and on a 90 degree day - not so bad.

It is necessary to "flush" the pipes at the first of the season to wash out any residual mud, sticks, etc. left over from the last year. Every so often you get a surprise - this year it was a partially decomposed porcupine which we could not dislodge, so we had to replace that section of pipe.


Melly/Melody/or Mel said...

I love Riley..and that view.

I know you work your butt off all year..but for a view like you describe, I'd do it!

Linda said...

Hi Marcia (I THINK this goes to Marcia, right? If not, Mel, you better forward or you know what will happen to you! The Ghost Hotel for you!! hahaha)Anyway, Marcia, I am a former Montana farm girl, so I KNOW how much work you are doing to keep things going in the right direction there in Wyoming! Keep it up. I enjoy your photos and posts.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps some of that irrigation genius can be put to work in my backyard here in California!

Anonymous said...

OurBig - With our gated pipe, are actually behind in irrigating technology - the lastest and greatest in these parts are pivot sprinklers. Unfortunately they require an electric or diesel motor which can run into BIG bucks to operate. We are looking into possibly solar power but are having some issues with the power company...go figure...Marcia

Anonymous said...

Hi Linda - Thanks! Where in MT did you live? Montana is my next favorite state :) - Marcia

TaraDharma said...

beautiful views... my hat's off to you for all this irrigation work. Yikes!

Anonymous said...

Martha, Martha, Martha...

Your flood waters look like Ruth's brother's place. Mike lives in Lander heading up Sinks Canyon. He has one stream which looks like a river! He had a bridge across it (maybe 20 feet across) and now it looks like the Yellowstone River!

Is Riley a dog Jeff used to have?

Take care,

Anonymous said...

Good to hear from you John!

We've been hearing and reading about the flooding in Lander and Hudson - wow, the power of Mother Nature!

Yes, Riley dog used to live in Vegas - WHAT was Jeff thinking?? She loves living here in the wide open spaces ~ Marcia