I shared photos of what it takes to get ready to irrigate in this blog post on June 8. I asked for the water to be delivered on Sunday.
Here is what the ditch to the west of the property looks like when the water is coming to us. That red valve lifts the gate at the bottom of that cement structure and…
…the water fills the standpipe at the corner of our pasture…
…and flows out the hole at the bottom, filling our ditch.
This is looking west towards the standpipe.
There are cut outs along the ditch where the water runs out into the pasture.
After all that weed eating I described in the first post there is lots of debris in the ditch and the water carries it along until it jams up somewhere.
I have to scoop all of that out to keep the water flowing as well as possible.
This is the ditch at the end of the main pasture looking west.
More grass to scoop out.
This job doesn’t do my elbows any good when reaching over and tossing wet loads with a shovel or pitchfork. If the ditch isn’t too wide I can straddle it and scoop while being more centered over the ditch.
I did a lot of weed eating Saturday. The sheep have been grazing the west paddocks and haven’t been here on the east end for a couple of weeks. We’ve had amazing growth this spring.
This is what it looks like as the water flows through the cut outs and into the pasture. This is the most recently eaten paddock.
This is the paddock to the right (west) of that last one. I have to walk through this to figure out how far the water has gone. You can tell by the squishy sound as you walk.
This is the tail water ditch at the south end of the pasture. I put a tarp in this ditch too so that the water will back up and fill some of the checks from the other end—our fields haven’t been leveled or had anything else done to them since we moved here 20 years ago so the irrigation water doesn’t always get to everywhere I want it to in the time that I’d like it to. I also didn’t get around to weed eating this ditch on Saturday so next time I need to. It’s important for the water to flow out when we’re finished to avoid mosquito development.
This is what it’s all about.
I dug up a clover plant to see the nodules on the roots. Clover and other legumes fix nitrogen (remove nitrogen from the air and convert it to a form useable by plants) through soil bacteria called rhizobia that live in these nodules.
The plant with the yellow flower is birdsfoot trefoil, another legume. Not all my pasture looks like this, but I keep working towards this.
So now when I say that I “have to irrigate” maybe you have an idea of what I’m doing out there.