Been a busy couple of weeks on the farm and somehow I don't feel like I've gotten anything done.
The main project that I've been working on has been our irrigation ditches. They were neglected, though not terribly, but were in an unwieldy position for efficient crop watering as we plan to do. The only thing they were ever put to use for was to flood the pasture and let grass grow. With our significant modifications I hope to have a great deal more control of the water and can use it to it's most efficient end.
I often liken our property to a landing strip. It's nearly 1300 ft long and just shy of 90 feet wide. This photo is of the mass of the property, the home is off the page but you can see on the far left side of the property our triangular marshland area which is at the lowest part of the property and on the right side, the sweeping path of our main irrigation ditch as it was when we moved in.
Here's a little closer image of the right side of the property so you can clearly see the irrigation ditch as it is... or WAS I should say. The old method of irrigation was to basically open gaps in the ditch bank and let water run to the left across the open field as you can see leaving quite a few un-watered areas.
Our primary modification to the irrigation plan has been to dig a new main ditch out into the property and then to add a three way split to send one line up to our neighbors property and the further down the irrigation line, and the the other line further into our own property to another 3-way split. This one will head down to our other new neighbors house for their fields to be irrigated... a thing that has not been done in years apparently. The existing ditch will be filled and our previously bifurcated "front garden" will be joined and of much greater use we hope.
When we brought the new ditch across the property we needed to replace the galvanized pipe that was there as a pass through allowing us to drive over. I had a great idea to try to manufacture one on my own from some steel 55 gallon drums that I have. I cut the bottoms out of a couple and banded them together. Upon bringing them over to the trench which had been dug for them and rolling them in... they abruptly fell apart. This DID NOT work.. Ha.. well dangit, it was worth a try I guess.
So a couple of days later I bit the bullet and went ahead and paid $152.00 for a 12 foot section of shiny new corrugated galvanized pipe which I promptly buried beneath a pile of clay soil!
The next couple of day saw my back getting made sore by digging out, cleaning and building up the head gates. The one below is the second split which will head off to our South neighbors. The right side head gate leads out into our back field.
And this is the main head gate coming in from the main ditch. The concrete pipe leads out into our property and just on the right you can see the new steel pipe going up to our North neighbor.
I was lucky to be able to get the last head gate built just in time for the water to be turned down the ditch.
So like I said, I feel like I don't see a lot coming along, but really there's been quite a lot. Water is here, spring is upon us, and although I STILL don's have anything but fruit trees in the ground, we will get there eventually.
More to come.
Best to you all.