Trickles In The Desert

In a desert place water is precious. I live in such a place, and not only that, but it’s a place of agriculture. That means water is even more valuable. Without irrigation Washington State apples do not grow. Nor our pears, wine grapes, peaches, apricots, onions, watermelons, and…you get the idea.

Because of the heat, sometimes triple digit heat, we love our pools around here as well.

We all need water to survive and sometimes just for comfort.


On our ranch, one of several daily rituals is watering the animals. Well, twice daily really. I like to make sure everyone here gets fresh, clean water. I like my creatures healthy and also happy. They don’t like to drink dirty water.

The dairy goats and sheep especially need clean water and plenty of it. We drink their milk raw, so healthy is important, yes?

Not only that, but I like for them to make plenty of that good milk. I make cheese and that means high quality milk if I want it to be any good. I’m an artist with the milk! I must have the finest ingredients! I demand. And then the well pump dies.

No water.No water is kind of scary when you’re responsible for the welfare of not only your  family but a large number of animals. In the middle of summer no less.

Well thank goodness that in this country you can buy clean water. By the case. By the jug. By the barrel if need be. This morning I used an entire gallon of water to make a pot of coffee and a raw goat milk cappuccino in my espresso machine which requires rinsing between shots. I never think about the water usually. Who does? But this morning this seemed extravagant.

The fact that I was able to continue our morning ritual of good coffee with bottled water either proves I’m resourceful, if you’re searching for gold in me, or else that I’m wasteful if you’re digging for dirt.

Hey, I live in the beautiful coffee-loving Pacific Northwest. I could have just climbed into my car and ran to Starbucks. (Essencia coffee is better but it’s closed on Mondays.)

As I lugged 5 gallon buckets of water up the hill in the pasture from the lower part where the horse trough full of brackish water is, to the upper pasture where the barn sits for the goats and chickens, I sweated out some of my own precious water supply profusely. It’s hot today and I should have done it early this morning while it was still cool. I looked around at my neighbors flagrantly watering their pastures and remembered just two days ago when I wastefully kept the grass alive with life-giving water too.

It made me think of all the people who live like this daily. In Sahara heat. People who walk for miles for the day’s supply of dirty water. I’ll tell you what, this little excersize made me a little more compassionate. Maybe it’s time to start a well-building fund for a village in Africa. Of course we need to pay for a new pump for our own well first. sigh.

At the very least it’s made me grateful. Water is available. Our well will be fixed. We may not have toilets that flush or the capability of washing dishes or laundry today, but tomorrow is another day.

Short-term suffering is good in my opinion. I keeps us thankful and humble; appreciative of small (to us) luxuries and puts us in reminder of those who could use a hand up.

And if all that isn’t enough, I have this fabulous picture for your viewing pleasure. My uncle Ivan. I’ll just leave this little gem right here to brighten your day. Gah, how I love this guy.

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