Making it Professional.
Hoses. Necessary, useful tools.
Also, godforsaken knots of strife and money pittage.
When Alex and I worked on an organic farm in upstate New York, one of our fellow workers was a wonderful guy named Oscar. A native Nicaraguan, Oscar spoke primarily Spanish. He and I often worked together, and I would work as his semi-translator.
We spent a lot of time taking turns pointing at things.
"Rake. And this?"
"Carretilla....y para ti?"
"Wheelbarrow. And what about this? I call it a hose."
Manguera. It's the perfect word for the hose. Much better than the English version. In Spanish, it sounds like a curse.
"Manguera." Absolutely fitting for how I most often feel about this troublesome garden implement.
They get holes, they get kinks, they knock stuff over, they develop algae on the inside and they NEVER reach the last bed of carrots when you need them to. Sure, they're also useful and necessary; I can't deny that a hose exists because I don't have the Captain Planet abilities to spirit water from the well or pond directly to the roots of my beloved beet babies. It's just that they're a pain.
We've long since had an irrigation system that uses a timer and drip tape (flat hoses that stay put on the beds--much easier to handle) that reliably waters all our field crops. We only water things directly by hose if there are new seeds that need some overhead drizzle and there's nary a cloud in sight.
But there are hoses, multiple hoses in fact, that ferry the water from our well to that entire drip tape system. And those hoses are...challenging.
Since we first began our farm adventure this past January we've longed to install an irrigation system that eschewed the fickle manguera, bypassing all their headaches by utilizing a more efficient underground pipe system. However, we knew that lying underneath the first few inches of topsoil where we'd need to dig lay many, many rocks. So many rocks, in fact, that we couldn't use a trencher to dig what otherwise would be an easy-peasy system of trenches, taking a couple hours at most. We were scared to tackle this big job.
See, many years ago there had been speculation that oil might lie in wait under this land. A company had come in, built a pad and done some exploratory work. Turns out, they didn't find what they were looking for, but they did leave an enormous stretch of land surgically implanted with thousands of rocks supported by black plastic fabric. Right where our irrigation needed to go.
If you happen to be as lucky as we are, you have family who want to come to your farm and work. They BEG for work. And sometimes, appointing an appropriate task is tricky. But other times, you know exactly what to do.
And thus Project: Professional Irrigation was set in motion this past weekend. You can also call it by its secret code name," Hoses Suck and We Don't Want To Use Them."
My sister Julia and her husband Jerry made all the difference in getting this project done; if it had just been Alex and me, we'd still be digging through rocks.
Alex and Jerry went to town, and by the end of the day, they'd scraped, cut, chiseled a pathway for PVC to feed from the wellhead to the field AND to our washstand.
(Hooray for the end of tripping over hoses while washing kale! I can wash without fear of a Marx brothers scene.)
Last weekend was testament to the fact that sometimes, you can't do it alone.
We tend to shy away from asking for too much help with things; we often fear that since half the time we don't know what we're doing ourselves it seems ridiculous to bring others in on the shenanigans. In addition, most projects take 3 or 4 or 8 times as much effort and time as we estimate and that can just get embarrassing with too many folks around, even our beloveds. :)
Yet, with Project Professional Irrigation, I'm happy to report that all went well and relatively quick---backs were sore, fingers were blistered, beer was imbibed, and yes, irrigation was installed. And it looks and acts very professional. Alex even hooked up some fancy sprayer systems for me at the sinks.
I can't tell you how good it feels to have a big project like this accomplished successfully. It's loomed over us for months, and its even sweeter now that we can share its success with people we love. Every time I use my fancy sprayer or DON'T have to lug a hose half a mile to wash out a bucket, I'll think of my family.