The first thing I heard Sunday afternoon, as I stepped out the back door, was the last thing I wanted to hear: the sound of running water. The most precious of all that nature has to offer, hearing water spewing out on barren ground is the same thing as hearing gold coins hurtling out of a winning jackpot, only to see them plop into the ocean.
Never taken for granted, water is the lifeline of our farm. Once the rains have begun to fall in October or November, there is an abundance of the ambrosia of life, but we don’t need it then. The moment the spring rains shut down, however, water takes a back seat to nothing, in terms of paramount importance.
On top of that, it’s one thing to have a pond filled with that which provides life, it’s another to coax that water up to the top of the property, where it can be gravity-fed to all parts of the farm. Logistics, baby. After years of dealing with catastrophic water deprivation, at the worst of times, we have pretty much gotten the bugs worked out.
I say “we” as though I personally oversaw the entire production, when nothing could be further from the truth. After being the go-to guy for close to thirty years, I have been relieved of these responsibilities. Nonetheless, when the water cuts out while practically everyone is at Reggae on the River, and the temperature is above 100 degrees, and you lose close to a full five thousand gallons of water when a fitting blows, you have got to have something in reserve.
Like a second tank of water, filled to capacity, ready to be put into service with the flip if a valve. Of course, there were numerous catastrophes before we could get it together to have more than one tank in place. 5,000 gallon water tanks are not cheap.
HeadSodBuster, just about to park it for a Father’s Day barbecue, on my behalf, decided he’d best amble on up to that tank and find out what the damage was. I had noted with dismay, the river of water had flowed down a few rock steps, roared past Tomato Terrace, and hung a right down [Sour] Strawberry Lane.
Always one to glean anything positive out of any disaster, those four girls impacted, are pretty stoked right now.
“What’s the damage?” I asked, as ‘Buster returned.
“Down about 2 thou. Hey, it happens!” This last because of my crestfallen face.
The reality is that there are hundreds of identical fittings as the one which burst, in every corner of the farm. All we can do is have our wits about us, take the occasional quick tour, and keep matters in perspective.
Better to have spare tank(s) in reserve, and need them, than to not have spare tanks of water as backup, and be desperate for them. Besides, a year ago we were coming off the fifth consecutive winter of drought, and we still managed to make it through without undue concern for our source of water.
This past winter saw California’s wettest in history. Whereas we still start out with the same capacity in our pond, the water table itself exceeds that which we have had for many years, so we are in much better shape. Considering we just got the West Forty up on timers Saturday, the fact that we had a minor setback on Sunday might even have been anticipated, had my head not been in the clouds.
I mean, more so than normal, it being Father’s Day and all. It’s one of those artificial HallMark Holidays that actually translates to something special, when you differentiate between a “father” and a “dad.” Gluten-Free Mama and I raised three sons, and they all took the time to communicate with me on Sunday.
Those kinds of connections don’t burst like water fittings on a hot Sunday afternoon. Those kinds of connections are forever.