Today was irrigation day. Jim calls the Ditch Rider early in the morning to see if it’s OK to irrigate. We have to coordinate with other properties that draw from the same ditch. If everyone irrigates at once, the water level will drop and no one will be able to get water.
But today, a Thursday after good rains up north, the water comes fast out of the gate. It flows from a larger ditch, one of many that run throughout the Rio Grande Valley, into smaller acequias. Ours is lined with concrete, technology from decades ago.
It’s not an efficient way to water. It’s ancient, flood irrigation. It’s cultural. We are slow to change. Jim wants to participate in the latest water conservation methods, but we can’t do anything until after the season. The trees are full of apples, and we have to use what tools we have.
It’s labor intensive, too, working the land. Not many people do it any longer. We know old-time farming families in our community. The men and women, both, get hunched over. They look like they are walking sitting. They work harder than anyone I know. Their lives seem romantic. It’s the land. The land is beautiful, but its beauty (if it’s a farm) is often directly proportional to the amount of bend in its farmer’s back.
We’re not real farmers. Well, I’m not a real farmer. Jim is close. He works hard every day outside. He works with his hands. I tell people that if we both worked on computers, our lives would be sad.
Jim took these shots today with my camera. I loaded them into my Flickr account, just to save space on WordPress. I feel weird having them there. But he’d never create his own account. He just comes to where I’m working, shows me his shots on the small screen on the Canon. Then says, “OK,” when I ask him if he wants me to load them onto my computer. I look at them and realize, artists aren’t the only ones who see things a certain way.
Right now we grow apples. Some pears, too. And grass that can be turned into hay. We talk about farming. It’s true we might do it. A little patch, anyway. We’ll have to see. That’s what my mom always used to say. We’ll have to see.