Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Fixin' Pipe

            We got all the hay off the first field on Sunday and started irrigating with siphon tubes.  We got the hay off the second field on Monday.
This morning I began baling the 3rd field at six o’clock, and five hours later had produced an even thousand bales.  In the afternoon we set out to get water running in that second field.
This field is irrigated by gate pipe.  This 12” PVC is a semi-permanent installation, and has been there for some 15 years.  Every year we have to replace some of the gates that are broken off by cattle stepping across the pipe during the winter, but this year we had five broken pieces.  To repair it we had to start at the end and pull each thirty-foot section loose until we came to the break closest to the headgate.

It was a struggle to grasp these awkward sections of pipe with enough force to pull them loose.  Some had water and/or mud lying in them, making them even heavier.  We had to use a nylon strap and the four-wheeler to pull a few of them apart.
On one piece we glued a patch.  On three we used a saw to cut off the break, and we replaced one joint and a 30-foot section.

I call myself a cowboy, and I run a working ranch in the foothills of Montana.  I have good horses, and I use them often.  But there are hundreds of other tasks that are essential to the production of cattle – check back with my blog often to learn about all the OTHER things a modern ranch hand does besides riding and roping.

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