Monday, July 9, 2012

Wheel Lines

First cut of hay off the field. Farmers try for three cuttings a season.

Lupine growing along the road to the hay fields

Wheel lines sprinkling against the backdrop of stacked hay

Unconnecting the line

Coupling to main irrigation line

Irrigation pump that pumps about 680 gallons per minute

Jane walks out to the motor

Wheel line unconnected

Wheel line back in action

Jane lugs the hose

Pretty big hose

Last week I took a bike ride about six in the morning to beat the heat and found our neighbor, Jane, hard at work changing wheel lines. Ladies, how would you like this job? Wheel lines are straight irrigation lines and have to be moved on a regular basis. (As opposed to center pivots, see post below, which move automatically around in a circle.) Jane moves theirs twice a day:  6 AM and 6 PM.  Her husband, Bill, works a full time job plus helps on the ranch so wheel lines are Jane's job.They also have cattle and sheep. (She also substitute teaches.) They have four wheel lines which are moved in one direction one time and the opposite direction the next time. She uncouples the line, lugs the heavy hose to the next position, goes out into the field, starts the motor on the wheel mover, and the line moves to the next position. She comes back and reconnects everything. Remember Jane the next time you pick up a plastic wrapped package of steaks at the air conditioned super market. Their alfalfa hay goes to feeding cattle and dairy cows.

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