Recently I read the article on the opinion page by Frank J. Smith about farmland and water. I agree with his assessment. I also read Thad Box’s article on our waterways. In my estimation both were excellent articles and spoke to our valley’s concerns.
I am an old woman and have been around for many years and have had many experiences in my life, some good and some bad. We are all living “A Life‚” having experiences and doing the best we can.
The folks in this valley are good, honest, hard-working people, and a lot of us are farmers and ranchers. Some of us have to go outside our farms and ranches to make ends meet. We come home from our jobs and work the farm. We are the folks that feed our families and your families and the great multitudes of our nation and parts of the world.
We in this valley have very deep feelings about God, families, the land, the water. And, I’ll add to that list … deep gratitude to our ancestors.
Most of us know of the struggles and sacrifices made by our ancestors to prepare this land to be able to survive and feed their families and each other. They survived by helping and assisting each other. We still do the same today.
Our ancestors built the Twin Lakes Canal Water System in Franklin County by physical labor. Horses and Fresno plows, digging, sweating using dynamite to access channels through the hills, so the water could flow.
They had no transits to mark the paths of the canals, and no GPS in those days. They used spirit levels and 2X4’s to mark the paths of the canals.
Cook camps were set up to feed those hard-working men. Women were part of this work force too. It was a great undertaking of sacrifice to all concerned. We are standing on the shoulders of our ancestors today. We honor them for the inspiration, courage, sacrifices and of their commitment to bring water to this arid desert.
We farmers, like our ancestors, know where the extra water is and how to save it and get it to the thirsty land. It will take sacrifices, and we are used to sacrifices. WE’RE FARMERS!
Think about this: We live in a desert. We pray for a decent spring to be able to plant the crops and have water enough to see it through. Some in the valley and elsewhere pray for rain. But alas, the water doesn’t last and the rain doesn’t come and the crop isn’t “made” and in the end, the sun bears down and burns the crop. Water. We need water.
But we plant again next year in the hope and faith that we will have enough money and water to pay our bills and to live and support our families another year.
We are very keen on saving water, our rights to the water, and finding ways to get water to save our crops and farms. We farmers are numbered among the greatest gamblers in the world.
Our wives and children are part and parcel of this whole farming life. Good or not so good. We work in the fields, drive machinery, herd cows, milk cows, keep books, run to the city for parts, and yes, if we have water lines that need moving, we all participate in that exercise. I been there, I’ve done that! It doesn’t matter whether we like it or not, we do it. And, it is our choice.
Our husbands have chosen “this farmer’s life” and we as their soulmates have chosen THEM. We and our children and our faithful husbands pray continually to our God that the rains will come, that the water will last and that our crops and animals will be good. Are we any different than our ancestors? I think not, maybe only in technology.
Our principles and morals are the same. We desire a better life for our children and the rest for our posterity. More water surely would answer that quest.
Mother Earth is the great provider of all our wants and needs. She is the sustainer of all life, all living things, because of Her land and water. That’s why we bless our food before every meal.
That piece of fruit, that potato, that loaf of bread, that butter and jam, that pizza, and on and on.
Think on it … all our food has GIVEN its life that we as humans can feast and live. BLESS THAT FOOD for giving its life that we may eat and live. Think deeply about where your shirt comes from, our leather boots. The materials we use to fix the fences and all of the artificial things. They had to start from somewhere and from something on this earth.
Farmers are true partners with Mother Earth.
It seems today, some have their own agendas. They no longer respect people and their accomplishments. Respect has been discarded. They would paint us farmers as sub-human or even evil, when actually we are the greatest conservationists in the world.
Farmers do not belong to any organized hate society or mobs. We are too busy raising crops and animals, making a living for our families — and food for the world. To do this, we need water and farm land.
There is a way to accomplish this. Example:
We store fruits and vegetables for the winter. We try to keep our pantries full. By storing the winter water in the winter, we will have it to use on our crops in the spring and summer. Same premise, only the seasons are reversed. We are doing this very thing with our present lakes and reservoirs. Let’s be wise and use our resources to further our great heritage in this valley of storing water and saving our farms.
As Frank J. Smith mentioned in his article, some of us farmers have sold some of our farms to developers for homes. One of the greatest privileges in the world is to have a safe roof over our heads.
Homes and people require water.
It is a moral responsibility for all of us, farmers and homeowners, to be good stewards over land and water.
WE NEED WATER.
Thank you for listening to my story.
Viola Bosen is a long-time ranch wife in Franklin County. Her husband, Clair, is the former president of the Twin Lakes Canal Company.