It’s raining today and we’re doing a jig on the farm. I’m always happy and thankful when it rains, kind of at peace. Maybe because I was born under the Pisces sign, or maybe because it conjures sweet memories of days gone by when we played quiet board games in the kitchen, read a really good book, or took a leisurely nap because after all it was raining and we couldn’t go outside.
Now days my thankfulness is most profound. When I lived in town I really took undue advantage of turning on the water and giving all my plants as much of a drink as they needed. On the farm we’re not so lucky. We hear about the Oklahoma drought on the news all the time but, here on the farm, we know about it first-hand.
Our property is on the most southern edge of Osage County on a peninsula just a few acres from Lake Keystone. Lots of water, right? WRONG! Our water comes strictly from rain runoff that filters through (we don’t know how many feet) of sand into a pocket well. We also have another well but it’s what they call “sanded in” from years of backfilling.
There used to be water here. All that remains of the homestead is a hand dug stone well 6 feet across and 22 feet deep, and the hand pump near where the old house used to stand. It’s beautiful…and empty. We think there was even a spring in our creek evidenced by the remains of a stone wall that appears to have been used as a dam. The creek is even listed on the Oklahoma map as a blue line going down into the lake, but it’s now dry.
So what do we do to find water and conserve what we have? We use as little as necessary for our everyday needs. We alternate days for heavy home use (such as laundry) and irrigation…squeezing just enough out of the well to cover the small garden plot we’re producing now. Well, you say, that’s not a farm. But it will be when we have enough water to sustain more crops! And that’s exactly what we’re doing – looking for ways to get more water.
For instance we’ll soon be capturing water off the roofs of our buildings into huge tanks we’ve just purchased that will store 6,000 gallons at a time. We’ll also use the natural landscape to catch water as it migrates toward the lake and keep it on our property through a Permaculture Keyline design. We’re working with Green Country Permaculture to implement the design for our fruit production within the next year. As we do all of this we hope to share what we’re learning about water catchment not only through the blog but also through on-farm workshops, so keep an eye on our Facebook for upcoming events.
We’ve barely just started but can already see progress in our conservation efforts. Think of how you can conserve water, even in little ways, because we can tell you the drought is real and water is not for the taking.