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Posts Tagged ‘flood irrigation’

his and her wellies

his and her wellies


These are the boots we wear to irrigate. Mine are cream colored with koi fish designs. And Jim’s? Well, his are basic black.

This weekend Jim taught me the ropes of flood irrigating our land. It’s no easy task. I have a new admiration for the work he does.

And gratitude.






easter tulips

easter tulips

It never was my intent to learn how to irrigate. I have many passions as it is. I love the land, but its care and feeding—that’s my husband’s domain.

But something happened. The Saturday morning before Easter, I heard Jim calling for me from the bedroom. I opened the door and found Jim collapsed on the bed. Minutes later, three paramedics and two ambulance attendants were in our home.








serenity

serenity (for jim)


Jim is fine. He is alive and better than ever. He had blockages in his heart, which have been opened. He has more energy than he’s had for a very long time.

But it’s going to take him and me both some time before we stop thinking about how fragile life is. Although, perhaps that’s something we don’t ever want to take for granted again anyway.







Postscript: Jim is fortunate. He didn’t have a heart attack on the Saturday before Easter, but he did have a close call. The medical staff at the hospital were savvy enough to know that Jim needed to be treated. They kept him in the hospital over the weekend then first thing on Monday performed an angioplasty and inserted two stents. A main artery was almost completely closed, with only half the heart functioning. There was no damage to the heart. Jim’s healthy lifestyle likely contributed to the fact that he is still here today.

Jim is a tender soul and a genuinely humble man. He told the cardiologist who did the procedure, “Thank you for saving my life.” As Jim now tells the story, the doctor smiled and said, “It was my pleasure.”





acequia

wagon at dawn


jim and rafael

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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.

I wouldn’t mind if we stick with pasture grass and the orchard. We could do so much more, I know. But we could do a lot less, too.


 
 

 

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