Irrigation & Cowboys

     Irrigate! Irrigate! It’s in, it’s installed, the drip tape has landed!

Purchasing a drip irrigation system was a mega ‘gulp’ investment, but after hand watering each individual plant for the last month, it feels so nice to just be able to hook up a hose and let her run. I even surprised myself with over the top excitement, when two big boxes of irrigation bits and bobs arrived at the doorstep. The days are getting longer and the 80 degree trend has not ceased. Time for everyone to stay hydrated.

The irrigation came with impeccable timing. The big tasks that accompanied the big field have finally found completion. The three hundred feet of fence, applying manure and tilling. I played a small roll in getting the field to the state it is in now. A major highlight of this year has been making beautiful connections with hard working, high spirited individuals who are shaping this season.

The services of Austin were recommended to disc the field back in March. At 13 years old, he owns his own tractor and contracts out his services at a nice penny, that he earns through good work. A Siskiyou boy through and through, Austin stands with a hand in his back pocket and all his weight to one side as he spits out sunflower seeds and discusses the weather, this year’s season and the price of diesel.

Ed, our neighbor to the west skillfully and amply applied manure to the field. He is also very much of this land, offering a warm smile and stories of growing up in the area circa 1950. In addition, I’ve had the joy of meeting Ed’s mother-in-law who has shared story gems of her own. With delight in her voice she talks of how she, at 87, is third generation Siskiyou County. The house where her father was born still stands near Greenhorn Park in Yreka. It was her elders that taught her how to garden, a tradition she continues, although her hip slows her down now. I can’t help but continue to feel blessed and humbled. As turbulent in joy and hard work as this season will be, it’s grounding to know that in the end it’s all just a part of a story. To know that my story and that of Ed and his families’ have come together brings a depth to this project that makes everything feel right.

Ed has further extended his generosity to the farm in lending the use of his Troy Built rear-tine tiller. With this tool now a part of the farm’s arsenal I feel as if I can take over the world. It’s as if I ask, “What are we going to do today Tiller?” And it responds, “The same thing we do every day. Try and take over the world!” It’s the type of power I could get used to. A half an acre of pasture has now been converted, weeds tilled in and fluffy beds created ready for transformation and transplants.

A half an acre is a lot of work by one’s farming self. Just enough to truly appreciate the companionship and help of additional hands. Jonathan Mann has become a devoted friend to both myself and the farm. Even with a full time job of his own, working 40 hours plus on a fire engine for the Forest Service, he continues, week after week, to be there. Always in for the adventure he’s there to the milk cow as part of the milking share, plant transplants, put in fences, install irrigation, weed, till, dig trenches and more. He’s been catching on quick, having never worked in a garden or with plants. We’ve come to an agreement that I’ll teach him what I know about farming in exchange for chain saw skills, harvesting and bucking fire wood and to learn how to drive a stick shift. Yep, that’s right folks, she can grow your food, but can’t drive la manual.

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2 thoughts on “Irrigation & Cowboys

  1. I love this post Kate! I think this might be my favorite one you’ve written so far. The stories of the folks you’ve connected with are wonderful! I’m so glad all your little plant babies are getting plenty to drink n their own now;)

  2. hey was that a pinky and the brain reference? ha. well i am truly honored to be a part of the homeward bounty!

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