I am tired today. I tried to water a lawn…the old fashion way. Here is what happened.
Apparently the same country that wants to send homo sapiens to Mars has not perfected farm irrigation. When we bought our new place, we read in fine print in the legal documents that we now were members of a local water association.
“Hmmm, what does that mean?”
It means that every so often during the summer, we have access to water that is in a canal down the road. What day and time we’ll have access is not specifically known. This morning our neighbor called at 2:30 am and said, “Ok, it is your turn to irrigate.” I knew something was up because the dogs were all barking up and down County Road Kk at 1:00 am.
So in the dark of night, we walk down to the canal levee, manuever around a locked gate which means one false step and you’re in the canal and we walk another 200 yards to where a termite infested plank crosses the canal.
My irrigation partner (IP) says, “Oh shit, I am not walking across that board. You’ll fall into the canal.” So I, who weigh, at least 90 pounds more than my IP walks across the rotten plank to get some boards that need to be put across the canal so that the water gets dammed up.
I get five boards that need to be put into a slot, one at a time. Remember it is very dark and the plank across the raging canal is rotten. My IP grabs one end of the first board. I, the other. And,…”Ready, … drop… ” I dropped, she didn’t … and the very swift water takes the board out of her hand and down canal.
“Ah shit, what the fuck?”
“I wasn’t ready!!!!” A few more testy exchanges as we try to pass the blame to each other in the country dark, standing on a rotten plank over rushing water at 2:35 am.
Next board, “Ok, be sure we get it into the damn slots this time!!!”
“Ready? Is your side in? Ok, let go of it.”
“Oh fuck!!!!” A second board rushes down stream. I got up and tried to chase it down. No way was I going to catch up to it, but I did notice that it looked kind of pretty with the moonlight reflecting on the canal water.
The third board was too long to fit in the slot. I was kind of grateful. We look around in the four foot high weeds by the canal and we find two more boards. We sincerely hoped there were no snakes under the boards in the tall, cool grass. We finally get four boards put in and then I have to open up a water gate to allow the water to fully flow to our property through a community ditch.
My IP tries to go back to sleep while I spend the next two hours trying to get the water to flow onto our pasture from the “community ditch” that runs along the back of our property. I kept thinking, while under the starry night, ” This was how the Greeks moved water 3,000 years ago. I am like a 3,000 year old Athenian right now.”
After two hours, walking back and forth, trying to keep all the debris from clogging up my water pipes that are embedded in the community ditch, it seems that only about a third of the pasture got water, but that seems long enough to me. My IP gets up and off we go back in the dark to the scene of the great board crime. Now we need to again stand on the rotten plank, praying it hasn’t rotten more in the past two hours, and try to take out the boards we put in so unprofessionally two hours ago – so the water can flow to the next poor soul in the water association. You use a long steel thingy with a sharp point on it and you try to jam it into the boards and lift up, again praying they stay together long enough so they don’t drop back into the canal for another moonlit journey.
When you’re all done with this nightmare, you call the ditch tender’s recording number and report how long you used the water. “This is Gary McMahon. I used the water from 2:30 am until 4:30 am. My ditch tender is Luis. You are short a couple of boards. Goodnight, I mean, Good Morning.”
When I finally get back in the house, around 5:30 am, I told my IP, “It didn’t work very well, “The water only went about a third of the way onto our pasture. Oh well. I am going to try to sleep for an hour before heading to work.”
At 6:30 my IP walks outside and says, “Ah, there is water everywhere. It is running down the road.”
“What, ah shit!” I go outside, and yes indeed I have watered my pasture, the guy’s pasture on the north side of me too. Probably also the guy on the south side of me too. I was too tired to walk that far to check it out. I know the guy’s llamas on the north side of me are ankle (do they have ankles??) deep in water. There is a small stream flowing through our yard.
I tell my IP, “Well that was a shitty night,” and we kind of laughed a little bit.