2015 Irrigation Season Begins, Gophers Invade


We are finally seeing some green grass here in Montana. Yesterday, the mercury reached 80 degrees for the first time this year and the nights are beginning to warm above freezing in the Helena Valley. Winter was extremely dry for us with barely 24 inches of snow, most of it coming early in the season and melting off or blowing away quickly. We’ve been warm for the most part since early January and most folks in the region have a similar story. We might be in for a long year.

I just finished up on the second week of irrigation for my 10 acres of alfalfa. It’s just 10 acres of alfalfa, but I commonly refer to it as my small patch of sanity. We only have hand lines for irrigation, so it’s relatively labor intensive to change compared to wheel line or pivot. On the bright side, I can put off starting cross-fit for a few more weeks!

But really, I appreciate having chores to come home to after working in an office all day. The next month brings quite a bit of travel across the country and I’m definitely looking forward to several more ranch visits.

I learned something new this past week. In this part of the country, we have trouble with gophers and prairie dogs invading pastures, tearing up land when expanding their towns and creating holes large enough to break a leg. Though we have both in this area, there is a difference between the two and the rodents invading our pastures are gophers. They’re smaller than prairie dogs and are omnivores. Maybe that explains how the one that died went missing overnight…

I have come close to breaking a leg while moving pipe and dodging these holes. I’m hoping to run them out of the alfalfa and into our neighbor’s empty field with the water, but there’s some bait on hand in case they continue to dig up the field. I did catch one in an empty pipe this weekend! Follow me on instagram to watch the video I captured of it! A pesky little creature.

Until next time, I’ll leave you with a few scenes of early Spring here in the Valley! It’s the season of early mornings and late nights, wet feet and cold hands, running water and growing plants. And while you’re here, be sure to take a look back at how irrigation season began last year.

No matter how busy I become, it's important to appreciate the water we have
No matter how busy I become, it’s important to appreciate the water we have
Always appreciate time for a good sunset
Always appreciate time for a good sunset
From where I stand.... It only took me 30 minutes into irrigation season to end up with a wet foot and a bruised shin. This is why I wear tennis shoes, so I don't end up with wet boots.
From where I stand…. It only took me 30 minutes into irrigation season to end up with a wet foot and a bruised shin. This is why I wear tennis shoes, so I don’t end up with wet boots.
The alfalfa is starting to grow!
The alfalfa is starting to grow!
A great sunrise with a little ice under the irrigation lines
A great sunrise with a little ice under the irrigation lines
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1 Comment

  1. The way you talk about your life on the farm… one can not fail to see how much you enjoy doing all that. You make it look like a lot of fun. great pictures thank you wonderful posts.

    Like

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