Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Irrigation

Before we get started, I just thought we should all give Jana the nod for her triumphal creation of Brown Bread Ice Cream in our throw-down from last time. It was a tough competition, but she prevailed in style. Yay for Jana! You can view her blog here.

So I was thinking I might not have shared my definition of "foodways" before. Actually the definition comes from my old foodie folklorist professor, Jay Anderson, a pioneer in the study of historic foodways. He says foodways is "from seed to s**t and everything in between" In other words, foodways study includes the planting of the garden, the butchering of chickens, the preparation of the meal, the eating of it, and the spreading of manure on the garden.

In that vein... yesterday was my irrigation turn. Taking turns on the irrigation ditch is an old venerated Mormon pioneer pastime. Countless feuds over the proper sharing of water hold a strong place in our Mormon traditions. Our ditch master is fond of saying, "There's two things you don't mess with in the West: a man's whiskey, and his water." I remember a talk in General Conference a couple of years ago about two Mormon farmers feuding on the ditch over the water. Eventually one killed the other. The talk was about forgiveness, I think.

This is a good water year. The reservoir is full, spilling over. There should be plenty of water for everyone. So you can imagine my surprise last week when the water seemed only half of what it should have been. We said, "Oh well," and didn't worry much. Then yesterday, again, there wasn't as much as there should have been. So I went up the ditch, gate by gate, to see where it might be going. Sure enough, someone up the ditch had their gate open and about half of my turn was going to him. Well, I corrected that. Now I'm not sure but what they might have had an arrangement to share some of the water from the person before me, but now I know I have to check the whole ditch every time.

Without water in the ditch, there will be no tomatoes in August. Till next time...

5 comments:

Jana said...

Wooo! The competition was fierce, but I prevailed.

Tawna said...

Lol, I thought at first it said, "Irritation." Kind of Freudian, huh?

Cowboy Curtis said...

Many a neighbor feud has been had over water. I think you can get that ditch master guy to throw a lock or something on your neighbors gate, right?

Brock said...

Our ditch master is good about promoting communication between parties as solutions to problems. Or maybe he's good at avoiding inserting himself to solve problems. At any rate, the simple solution is for me to check the gates myself. Throwing a lock on the gate is pretty in-your-face. But you're right, this is the very thing that turns neighbors against each other. Good thing our livelihood doesn't depend on it.

Aaliyah said...

It's better for a community to share natural resources like water, which is very abundant in your area. This will foster unity in your community, not competition. =)


Aaliyah Aldaco