Sun Pony Ranch

Diary of novice (clueless) ranch owners

Friday, September 16, 2005


Fortunately the story isn't all bad...

The septic guys finally showed up Tuesday (after saying they’d be here “soon” for weeks now). It seems like everything is happening all at once while we’re trying to get this irrigation system ready to go. Dave’s gotta spend some time with them.

Ditch Water is Running! By Wednesday morning, our ditch water was running for us to use, but we hadn’t gotten the pipes set up yet. Dave laid them out the night before, but putting them together is quite the chore as we are finding out. These are borrowed, old & bent irrigation pipes with little gates to let the water out with spacing. Some of these big, long pipes slide together easily and some take a lot of manipulation and pounding. We frantically worked as our water was flowing down the concrete ditch to the pond, unused. When we’d finally gotten the pipes together, we put up the dam to redirect the water, but a lot was leaking through. I thought Dave was trying to make a leak-proof dam, so I went and got the tarp and stuff that had been on Tom’s dam, above ours and put it in. But then, when Dave went to open the headgate—WHOOSH!! It overwhelmed our little dam and spilled over in a giant overflow of hard rushing water and much went down our driveway. We quickly pulled the dam out, with much difficulty through the torrent, and reassessed. It seems a little dam leakage is a good thing since our water flow is more than our current “system” can handle. Dave cut a hole in the top of the dam to let some water flow over the top as well as underneath, and that seemed to stabilize it enough once the initial burst was over with.

Our pipes and everything seemed to be working! The little gates were set for even distribution, and we hoped the water would find it’s way downhill and water a good portion of the pasture.

We find that the irrigation and dam need continual monitoring and the filter to keep junk out of the pipes needs frequent cleaning, otherwise it blocks up and causes more spillage over our gate and down our driveway.

I walked the pastures to see where the water was going, and it wasn’t reaching the majority of the old irrigation trenches dug into the lower pasture, or spreading out as far as we had hoped. It was creating it’s own little channels and going to the low spot and then straight over to our neighbor Tom’s lower pasture.

After our first two days of water, we reset the pipes to go down the other fenceline along our driveway. This would give it a different starting point and angle, so we hoped we’d get a different section watered. During this operation, Dave smashed his finger badly while pounding the pipes together. His fingernail immediately turned black, so it won’t last long. This new flow strategy did work a little, but ultimately, it all still eventually got to Tom’s pasture after passing through and irrigating only portions of ours. Then, the water stopped abruptly after day 3 when the ditch stopped running.

So, there is much work and engineering required to get our pasture irrigation more functional before next year!

Toads Float. Much like Monica’s bunny rescue story, Dave found 3 toads floating in the downpipe which now had water in it from the irrigation. I, too, couldn’t just leave them there to die, even though they’re just toads, so got the hoe to fish them out. I had a much easier time of it though, because I could use the hoe to push the others underwater as I scooped up each toad. I then put a screen over the top of the pipe!

(Monica's Septic Update 9/15: The digger has been here just over two weeks now, and they've put in the tanks (that took 2 days) and today completed the 6th of 9 trenches. This septic is enormous on septic standards because it's been sized for a kennel of 60 dogs. Any larger and we would have had to have a special permit from the state. Maybe a really good thing the commissioners downsized us from 80?!)



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