Friday, July 8, 2011

Making it Rain

by  Andy

When we really want it to rain, one way to have it happen is to expend a lot of energy setting up irrigation. Another way is to have our neighbor cut a bunch of hay for us and have it baled up in the field, waiting to be hauled to a dry barn. Another is to leave the windows open on my car overnight. Or how about leaving a bucket of organic fertilizer outside at the end of the day?

So far this week we have tried all of those. And it still hasn't rained. It really is time for some rain. Our soil holds water very well, so the plants in the garden do not experience water stress until about a week after our friends in Prairie Farm have already started watering. Most of the summer there is enough rain for us not to bother at all with irrigation. It might get dry for a spell, but just when we start to get the hoses out, we get a soaking rain. It gets so we think we can make it rain by getting out the irrigation.

Since we irrigate so infrequently, it is always an adventure to set up the system. This involves numerous trips to the store for couplers, hose clamps and other sundry items. We are usually covered in mud by the end of it. Also, we invariably set up the irrigation and it either gets stuck in one place or falls over in such a way that one area of the field is completely flooded, while other nearby areas are parched. I do not usually curse, but I cannot remember an experience setting up an irrigation system that did not involve some necessary cussing. Don't get me wrong, it can be quite fun to get wet and muddy on a hot day, but it is vexing nonetheless. There is usually some rodent damage on an important hose, or the sprinkler needs some unique washer, or the drip tape is hopelessly tangled in the storage area. Irrigation is a special irritation because because it takes time away from weeding and planting. So by the time we have spent two days being vexed by the watering gods, the irritation level can be way up. It is a chance for us to practice detachment and other virtues.We also can appreciate the irony when it pours just after the irrigation is all set up.

This is why I am currently miffed that it has not rained this week at the Land School. We did our part. Probably this weekend we will get an incredible downpour.

Sunday Update: We woke up this morning to a major thunderstorm. High winds and pounding rain caused small gullies to form on the gravel road and soaked everything. There was about 3/4" in the rain gauge. WE DID THAT.

Update from Monday July 18th: There was 4.5 inches of rain since last Thursday. Enough is enough.

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