It was Sunday afternoon, which meant a trip to do some irrigating. Due to our extremely low precipitation this year, there's extra attention to how winter water in the creeks is being spread over the land to try to get it as wet as possible before it gets warm and the evaporation rates skyrocket.
This is a fairly new field of tall wheat grass, and it's being irrigated by the old tried-and-true method of flood irrigation. Not too many fields are flood irrigated on the ranch anymore. Most have been converted to the more expensive but more efficient pivot irrigation.
Desert Boy was thrilled to have a chance to use Daddy's real shovel and set off to dig a hole. He's better than I am at using a shovel!
I was playing with camera lenses and enjoying the winter sunshine.
Meanwhile my husband was moving one of the irrigation dams to change where the water was spreading on the field.
I haven't spent much time with this fish-eye lens, so I wanted to try it out some more. I like how on this photo the sun flare extends beyond the circle.
Thick orange plastic is used for irrigation dams. the top is secured first, then the sides, and then the bottom. Generally rocks and/or dirt are used to secure the sides and bottom.
Meanwhile, Desert Girl enjoyed sitting on the bank and throwing rocks into the water. Little by little, she scooted closer to the water. (Can you guess what's coming?)
Here's another view of the dam. This one has some fence posts to help support it.
Desert Boy had moved to a different place to shovel, where the ground was a little softer.
The dam was almost in place.
And I was ready to do something different. So I went for a little walk and got Desert Boy to come with me.
What I like most about this series of fish-eye photos are the shadows. You can see how close Desert Boy is to me.
I was hoping he wouldn't walk right into me!
He stopped, fortunately. He thought the whole thing was pretty funny.
In fact, he laughed himself onto the ground.
He thought he was being so cute, sticking his feet up into the air. I don't think he ever realized that his irrigating boots were on the wrong feet!
I also found out that the fish-eye lens is good for making your legs look really long.
Next it was on to playing with some ice. With the dam moved, the water level in the ditch had fallen, leaving the ice hanging above the surface. Desert Boy couldn't resist grabbing some.
He was proud of his big piece of ice.
But then he couldn't resist chucking it back into the ditch.
A bit later my husband pulled up with a shoeless, wet, and muddy Desert Girl. She had managed to scoot close enough to the edge of the ditch that she had slid right in and was soaked.
She wasn't thrilled about it.
But when she saw her Daddy, she managed a little smile.
Hi! I'm Gretchen, an ecologist, rancher's wife, mother, writer, and dreamer. I've lived and worked in three of the four North American deserts and visited the fourth. This blog is about what it's like to live in the rural high desert on a ranch, spending lots of time outdoors with kids, and our journey to live more sustainably. To learn more about us, click here. If you'd like to contact me, leave a comment (I love comments!) or email me at desertsurvivor @ live.com.
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North American Deserts
Four deserts are found in North America, each with distinct characteristics. Click on the image to learn more.