The Farm on Oak Creek


The first daffodil of spring!

The first daffodil of spring!

Ack!  It’s that time again.  No, not the time of year when daffodils bloom (at least where the turkeys haven’t eaten the buds before they open) and everything comes back to life, including an amazing number of Boxelder Bugs.  There are so many in my back someday-to-be-pasture or piggery that I collide with them, or rather, they collide with me.  Too bad the chickens and turkeys don’t like them.  I suspect the bugs do more than stink when bitten or swallowed

No, it’s time for the Page Spring Ditch to be shut down for maintenance.  Our ditch doesn’t go down for the tolerable 7 days as does the Mason Ditch, which runs through the center of my property.  Ours is down for 10 nail-biting days.  That’s 10 whole days that I have no water coming in and only 8 thousand gallons in storage.  Unlike the other 12 properties that use Page Springs water and have wells, it’s not just my irrigation water.  I drink it!

Ack, ack!  Can I manage on 800 gallons a day without running dry?  I’m not sure.  This year, I have a renter living in the house and a renter using in the kitchen.  I’ve already talked to both of them about being conservative and all.

Why is our ditch off 3 days longer than the other one?  I suspect the de facto ditch boss wants two full weekends to get his cleaning done.  Ah well, I’ll manage somehow.  The worst of it is that I’m house number 11 on the list.  On that last day the 10 houses upstream are taking every drop as they prepare for the shutdown.  I have to wait with bated breath to see if I’ll be able to collect my full 8000 gallons.

This will be the first year since I moved up here that there’s going to be a ditch meeting.  You can bet I’m going to mention to the others that I do drink this water and to please leave me enough that last day so I have enough to make it through the extended and artificial drought.

As for repair work, I’m fortunate not to have to do too much.  Sam Frey, who owned this house before me, was fond of telling folks that he had more money than God.  That meant he could afford to install really nice buried piping that channels the spring from one end of the acreage to the other.  Unlike a number of the other folks who play host to Page Springs via an open dirt ditch, the water passes under my house unseen.  Being me, that’s sort of disappointing.  How cool would it be to have my own personal stream dancing along under my porch?  On the plus side, the only maintenance I need to do this year is to find a way to protect the now-exposed pipe that passes under metal bridge #1, located at the upper center of the property.  Metal bridge #2 crosses the Mason Ditch at the far end of the property.

pageSpringspipe Both bridges are necessities, but especially bridge #1.  It is strong enough to withstand the force of monsoon season rainwater that torrents down the hillsides above me, through the gully that starts at the top of the property, then under (and over, actually) the bridge, until the cataract shoots into the Mason Ditch with enough force to send it tumbling out of its banks.  I’m certain that when Sam first installed the spring pipe it was all at least 6 feet under ground.  As you can see from the picture, the pipe remains 6 feet below ground level…the ground’s just gone missing.  You can see the base of the bridge above it. I’m going to have to get going on a plan for doing something about this, and soon.  There’s only 4 days left before the water’s off.

Lastly, I have to add a sad note here.  I’m really missing the cows.  I hadn’t realized how much humor they supplied to my life.  Nothing funny happens around here any more.  Sigh. Maybe I really will have to get pigs.



© Denise Domning, 2023