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Author Archives: Denise

Draggin’ Hoses

What happened to our Monsoon season? One storm that drops only enough water to dirty the truck is not going to cut it! I need my rain because, other than my ancient flood irrigation system that I keep patching up, I don’t have any way to satisfactorily water anything anywhere on the farm. What a strange thing, to have on a property that is crossed by three blue lines: Page Spring, the Mason Ditch, and Oak Creek, and no way to get any of that water to where I need it without dragging hoses.

I’m not the only one who failed to install a working irrigation system here. When I arrived there were six defunct systems that sought to (and failed) to put water where the flooding didn’t reach. Some of them used pop ups sprayers, some standing sprayers, some large turning spray heads. Most of the pipes and heads had baked in the summer sun along with the plants, and cracked and broken. I discovered two more systems, with two different sets of supply pipes, in the orchard. They died a long time ago and the ground was allowed to uppen over them. (“Uppen” is Joel Salatin’s term for how soil grows–it doesn’t deepen, it uppens.) Every so often I discover another set of pipes and spray nozzles as I’m digging.

Even if they hadn’t been already defunct, I wouldn’t have kept those systems. That’s because all of them used water from the wrong end of my pump house, after it had been filtered and treated, turning magical alive spring water into chlorinated dead water. That chlorine system is gone now, replaced by UV, which is no better. The water is “safe” to drink but just about as dead as chlorine makes it. Ugh. I have amazing spring water here. That’s what I want to use on my plants.

Which is how I ended up with miles and miles of hoses. I bought a few 1/8 horsepower sump pumps and dropped them into my two spring boxes, attached the hoses and started dragging. I pull them down to the big garden. I pull them up to the front of the house. I use them to water the roses above the propane tank and the little garden I built for my birthday some years ago. I drag them back beyond the pump house to water my cherry and plum trees, and those #*@% fig trees that are once again refusing to set fruit. I really am going to cut them back this year. And in a never-ending cycle, I pull them across the elderberry and apple orchards on the middle hillside.

You can see the water droplets the wobblers are throwing out

You might be wondering why I stick with hoses rather than installing my own in-ground system. That’s because my magical, live spring water comes with a few add-ons, like dirt, the occasional mushy fruit, a few crayfish, a dead owl (I was so sad when I found it), and such like. I make a number of attempts. I tried Netafim which I had used in a prior life and loved. Clogged up. A length of regular blue stripe drip system followed. Clogged up. Soaker hose. No-go. That’s when I came across the Wobblers. These are sprinkler heads with a single large opening. The pressure of the water moving through that opening causes them to wobble on top of their support, sending huge water droplets out in a wide circle. Well, until some unfortunate bug gets sucked in through the spring pump, down the hose, and into the channel of the wobbling head to the point where the water exits. That’s where they all get stuck, clogging up the sprinkler head. It’s a very messy end for them and they’re really hard to remove. While wobblers are a good tool for my watering tool box, they work best in wide open spaces. They don’t do spot watering and I need water to hit the roots of my trees, bushes, and plants.

For the record, I had to stop typing this post four times to move hoses. That’s it. Somewhere, someone has to have a solution for this problem of mine. I need something more permanent, something that stays put, that I can turn on with a flick of a switch or even– gasp!– use a timer for automation! Until then…well, I’ll be draggin’ hoses.

 

Dog Days

Here we are again, starting into the dog days of August, and boy, oh boy has it been hot here. We had two days–maybe three; I can’t remember because the heat addles my brain–over 105 degrees. That’s really unusual for us, and it’s made worse by the very thing that usually makes this place livable:… Continue Reading

Llamas

A couple of weeks ago I was having lunch with my friend Su. Su and I have known each other about nine years now, having met while exhibiting at a local craft fair. She was selling Norwex. I was subtly introducing raw milk to my community by selling lemon curd and my jalapeno jelly. The… Continue Reading

Bear’s Big Adventure

So Bear gave me a scare last week. It was my fault because somehow I managed to leave two creekside gates open overnight. I swear the heat pickles my brain, but I’m unwilling to give up garden time just because it’s 104 degrees. At any rate, the gates were open overnight and, to the best… Continue Reading

It’s Happened

I know this will be hard to believe, but the impossible has happened. I have run out of baling twine to use for my building projects. Oh, the horror! What can I say? Every animal I own is grazing on pasture at the moment, so I’m not buying any hay. That may change in the… Continue Reading

Truant Teen-aged Chicks

So, I had a brilliant idea the other day. I was in the garden looking at a butternut squash vine, or rather I was looking at a pair of squash bugs mating on the butternut squash vine. Just prior to discovering the squash bugs I’d seen a plethora (or maybe closer to a ba-jillion) little… Continue Reading

Turkey Merger

Before I talk turkey I want to offer a garden update. Between the high temperatures and me remembering to water, the first of my all-volunteer sunflowers are now over eight feet tall. I’m in the picture to give you perspective. Because most of my sunflowers are volunteers I doubt any of them will have the… Continue Reading

Too Many Tomatoes?

Is it possible to have too many tomatoes growing in your garden? I’d like to think not, but this year I may well discover the answer to that question. Like every other gardener in the world (except my youngest sister), I love a fresh, home-grown tomato. This is saying a lot considering that early in… Continue Reading

Birthing

Any remaining doubts I had about Tiny, my oldest ewe, being pregnant (not just fat) were answered last week. Not that I had many doubts remaining, not after her udder swelled to the size of a volleyball. That’s the big giveaway when it comes to pregnant sheep. Just days before delivering, a ewe’s udder gets… Continue Reading