After a lot of soul-searching, I’ve come to realize I should do more landscape paintings. (Just kidding about the soul-searching.) But the though has crossed my mind, “Angela, why don’t you do more landscape paintings?” The answer is simple. I don’t want to paint outside. I like my stuff a particular way and I don’t want to deal with wind, dust, cold, and heat.
But one thing I know, is I am open to change.
I know that because I have been known to change my mind. When I got married, I wanted a silver ring (platinum gold it was called). My husband wanted gold. But now I want a gold ring and gold jewelry all around. This is just one example of many. I’m set in something, and then I change my mind down the road.
On another note, I want to tell you about pivots. After growing up in Chicago and working in the city, it took awhile for me to figure out the ranching. One thing I learned about is irrigating. All the fields (We don’t grow crops. We grow hay and alfalfa to feed the cows.) need to be watered. The climate on our ranch is considered “high desert”. That means we have sage brush, cactus, and rattle snakes. But we also get snow – especially and mostly up in the mountains. We don’t get nearly as much down in the valleys. But we depend on that snow in the mountains for irrigation.
Luckily, the geography of the ranch is such that it all flows downhill. Our ranch actually sits at the edge of the Continental Divide. We are the first property on the Western Side to get runoff. Besides that fact being totally amazing, we also don’t have pumping costs. Many ranchers pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to pump water to irrigate their fields. We use gravity. We also practice conservation techniques to use most efficiently and provide waterways for wildlife, including and especially fish. Did you know fish come all the way from the Pacific ocean (steelhead and salmon) and spawn in places like land-locked Idaho? It’s true and totally cool.
Back to my story. Types of irrigation you will find on our ranch. Flooding. This is easy to do. One just makes dams like this orange tarp on the water.
The way this works, one just dams up the water and lets it flood the field. Below is a pasture with cows that is being flood irrigated.
The next easiest form of irrigation we use is handlines. They are often used in places we can’t have pivots and other mechanical devices. But a long time ago, they were all that were used. They require a lot of manual labor moving them. Here is my painting of two of our boys moving the hand line in the fields.
And here is a video of the process (not mine but found on Youtube).
Next, we have wheel lines. As you can see in the picture below, they are large aluminum wheels that roll slowly across the field. They have a mechanical motor but need to have the hoses moved occasionally.
Then there is the pivot. The pivot rotates around its axis and could be long or short. You have have seen the tracks it leaves from an airplane. Those circles on the ground. Those are where pivots have irrigated. The first image is a painting of a pivot. They don’t require daily maintenance like some other forms of irrigating. And also are very efficient at distributing water over fields. Most of ours are powered by hydraulics and don’t even use electricity.
And lastly, there is always the occasional rain. Farmers and ranchers love this form of water (unless its time to put up hay.)