Splashing the Pump

Last week, I forgot one of the cardinal rules I've made for myself--never leave the house unprepared. Farmer Farver said he needed my help getting the irrigation started.

"It will only take a minute", he said. I know better. 'Only a minute' quite frequently turns into 'several hours later' and a huge project. And I'm not complaining--I love working with him, love a change from the computer or housework. This particular day though, it was late in the day (maybe it really would only take a minute) & I was looking forward to helping....so I did the unthinkable. I left the house in shorts, a tee shirt & flip flops. No muck boots. No long pants. No work gloves. And no bug spray. A sure fire recipe for disaster.

As I drove our side-by-side ATV from the house, along the edge of the green wheat field, I could already tell I should have brought a jacket. It was getting cooler and the bugs were biting. I went past the 'boneyard', where obsolete, retired equipment finds a final resting place, down through the bottom & up around the corner where the dam backs up the irrigation oxbow. And I stopped.

The water was like glass & the colors of the sunset were just starting to show in its reflection.  I sat just for a minute, and once they realized I wasn't an animal looking for supper, Mama ducks with strings of babies behind them came out of hiding in the tall grass & dunked into the water, sending ripples across the surface. The crickets had just started to chirp their night song, so I dawdled just a little longer to listen. Pretty much nirvana.

The sound of the tractor running reminded me there was work to be done, and when I got to the pump site, Terry had it ready to hook on to the pump so we could 'splash it' (get it set down in the water).  The pump is connected to a hose, & pumps water out of the oxbow into the line for the irrigation pivot. So imagine this. We connect a chain from the pump, around the grapple forks (the ones sticking up above the bucket in the picture). The person in the tractor lifts the bucket & drive as close to the edge of the water as is safe, & then lowers the pump down in. The person on the ground (me this time) jumps from the bank onto the pump (which is now in the water) to unhook the chain.

Should be simple. Never is. I'll save you the sordid details, but folks, don't try this at home. Once the pump was splashed, we pulled on ropes (that were attached & thrown back to bank once the pump was in the water) to move the pump farther up the edge of the oxbow & position it where it needed to be,...then tied the ropes off to anchors and hooked up the hose on both ends-- to the pump, & the inlet on the irrigation system.   Then we turned on the power at the pump site and took a quick trip part way up the field to make sure the settings were right on the control panel on the irrigation pivot.Then we headed back to the oxbow to make sure the hose would 'charge' (fill with water).

By now, I was tired, had tripped on some old barbed wire and pulled my shoe off, nearly twisted my ankle in a hole, & almost fallen into the water trying to scale the side of the oxbow while helping position the pump. Enter mother nature. 

Twenty two Pelicans were just flying in and settling on the far side of the water. Neither of us could believe it! We see lots of birds here, but have never seen Pelicans before. They didn't seem to care that we were there, they went blithely about diving for their dinner & gulping it back in their huge throat pouches. It was one of the few times I wished I had my big camera with me, rather than just my cell phone. We stood there, holding hands & watching them until I couldn't stand the mosquitoes anymore. Romance meets reality.

An hour later and barely before dark, I was back at the house--full of bug bites, needing a tetanus shot & hungry. My heart was full too though. Full of gratitude for a few quiet minutes spent with Terry and for the amazing beauty that surrounds me every day. This life is an adventure to say the least, but I wouldn't trade it. Not even for some muck boots, work gloves & bug spray.

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