Irrigating on the Family Farm

About 33 years ago, I learned to irrigate on our family farm in New Mexico. Despite the hard work and usually blistering heat, I will admit it was one of my favorite chores.

Our whole family worked together–my Gran in her old straw hat, my parents, and my brother even when he was still in a diaper. Three generations of family farming the land.

I spent countless hours hauling plastic tubes, slugging trough the mud, setting the tubes, and even killing a snake or two.

The most fun days were when we got to swim in the concrete ditch. We learned quickly that swimming was okay, so long as you didn’t disturb the tubes that had just been set!

About 20 years later, when it came time for me to apply to law school, it was irritating in those fields I chose to write my essay about. And it was that essay that landed me a full ride to the University of New Mexico.

This weekend, it was Braun’s turn to learn. My Dad gathered him up and taught him to carry the tubes and then showed him how to set them to water the growing crops. And because Grandad is left handed Braun, like his Mama, will never know that he is really setting the tube backwards to what is normal for most people.

As we stood in that field, green grass and alfalfa growing, Canadian River water flowing, three generations working together yet again to get the water set, I couldn’t have been more grateful.

There is not a crop in that field–no matter the yield or the price on the board–that’s a fraction of as valuable as the lessons taught and the memories made there.

And that, folks, is what a family farm is all about.

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