Water turn may just be the blessing and the curse to cowboys of this valley. Many times have I seen a friend stop by, and every time it’s the same! You ask if they’ll get comfortable and say “would you sit a while?” And the reply is always the same... “I’d love to, but it’s my turn on the ditch”. We’ve all been in their shoes, and can understand their predicament; killing time (even if it’s a couple minutes) till they change their water.
This day had been coming for a while now (and I knew because the water card told me) in the morning it would be “our turn” on the ditch. I’d scoped it out earlier that day and knew it’d be a chore to get these ditches in shape to handle the water turn.
From “showing off” to covering themselves in dust to ward off mosquitoes, many theories have been made as to why bucking bulls love to dig, roll, and ultimately demolish irrigation canals, and here at the Broken Heart Rodeo Company, every water turn is a project!
Jim Waynment, my neighbor (and very close friend) calls to let me know he’s got hay down, and finished his turn 9 hours early, asking if I’m in town and available to turn the ditch my way. Sometimes I’m on the road, but this particular weekend, I’m available to make it happen.
Luckily, the good Lord had blessed me with an hour and a half of “good” daylight to do some excavating with the trusty back-hoe. As I work, I watch the water build and slowly show me it’s potential, revealing the low spots that need a little more patchwork, the whole time I thank the Lord for hydrolics as I recall seasons past when equipment was down and had no choice but to do it by shovel. When I get the ditch as “solid” as I can get it, I set my alarm to get me back out there as soon as the morning’s grey light will permit.
With “Country Joe” informing me of the day’s weather conditions on good old classic country 1370, I ponder the conditions of the water; is it a good turn? How’s the head of water? Did them dang critters tear the poor ditch apart before the irrigation got to it?
As I round the willows and pull up to the pasture gate, I see a decent pool on the the north piece, a good omen that there’s plenty of water in the ditch. After I pull down the lane; surveying the given conditions, I discover a bull-made break on the ditch just west of the hay pit. After I mend the blow out, I head off to check the other pastures, but I’ll be back a few times to keep it flowing before my turn is over.
Legend has it, the Mormon pioneers could make water flow uphill. I’ve always thought that an impossible feat. We still use the same ditches they did. As long as they still stand, I’ll use those same ditches to water every possible inch of our lot that I can. Water (as inconvenient as it may be) is a blessing we get around here, so make the very most of it....cowboy.