We’ve just wound up a scorching, record-breaking July and the first week of August has passed, no let-up in sight, and most Cariboo agricultural-operations were well-pleased — taking full advantage of those stellar-conditions to harvest quality feed crops.
For operations fortunate enough to be where irrigation is possible, where adequate water is available (Gang Ranch, Canoe-Dog Creek, Alkali Lake, Riske Creek, Farwell Canyon, Alexis Creek, Hanceville-areas, and more); the second crop is almost ready for harvest.
Water is the difference maker, and when none leaks down from the Cariboo skies it must be sourced elsewhere; then once you locate a water-source you must work out a system of delivery (gravity lines, ditches, pumps, pipes, wheel lines, pivots) and generate the power to operate it and the manpower to run it.
On a ranch, the water workers are commonly referred to as the irrigators who may be; either spouse, offspring, relatives or hired help — whoever is up for, and capable of, getting the task accomplished on a daily basis.
A common misconception, particularly among those who have never been there, done that, is that anyone can do the job. I beg to differ. The job requires a special person. My husband normally refers to them as secondary water applicators, although this season they have jumped the queue to primary, as the weather gods have failed entirely with their water-delivery program.
It takes a unique individual to make a good irrigator; the daily, monotonous hikes, many miles of traipsing through thigh-high wet grass in cumbersome rubber boots, often clad in non-porous rain gear while packing unwieldy lengths of aluminum pipe. It’s a task which requires both hands, leaving no weaponry to combat the black clouds of face-swarming, mouth-filling bugs that swarm in protest of the intrusion.
Yep, most folks can tolerate a full-day in them rubber boots, so shower secondary water-applicators with appreciable-respect.
Liz Twan is a rancher and freelance columnist for the Tribune.