I don’t have time to write this article. I’ve been up since very early, trying the beat the heat, but then, of course, finding myself out in it all day, or at least until I flooped. Flooped, or phlooped, means you don’t quite pass out but maybe wish you did. To floop means to fail in all aspects at once. The first irrigation pipe I moved this summer, I had the pleasure of moving it with a college student who had never moved pipe. Because we were trying to bring rain all over the field quickly, we did not have time to wait for the ground to dry after a “run” is complete. So it was muddy. It was muddy, we were sinking, she was doing a lot of slipping, screaming and hooting, but ultimately getting the job done. I had almost forgotten that moving pipe could be so much fun.
The irony of our June rains is prominent in my mind, but they were negligible if you are growing vegetables. Not only has it gotten dry now, it is uncharacteristically hot for breezy, ocean-cooled Sagaponack. Thunderstorms marched toward the island, but most of them scatter to pieces as they get near the twin forks—something The Weather Channel never grasps when they issue their threats, warnings and percentages. We have had some downpours, and they’ve been godsends. I don’t have as much pipe as I have field, and so the rain buys me time to find what I need.
My neighbor has a forgotten stash of 4-inch pipe piled against one of his barns. It hasn’t been used in years. For those of you who have seen a steel implement, a wheel or a fence post absorbed by the tree it leaned on, the same is true for some of the pipe. I call the guy who sells irrigation parts, and indeed he’s got the parts to get this stuff back in use. This is fine aluminum pipe; it was fabricated to last, and is of a high-quality alloy, which is obvious, because even in this maritime environment, it is not corroded.
It is hard work on the hottest day of the year, but I am warmed in a better way: to install new gaskets, risers and sprinklers, and to lay it back in a field again. I like to think the pipe must be happy again.
But this is irrigation season—your luck runs out, that is the nature of the beast. It was then when I discovered that I didn’t have a way to get from 3-inch male pipe to 4-inch male pipe, and without this part, there’d be no water for this lettuce tonight.
Exhausted, dehydrated, frustrated, I went home and flooped. Tomorrow is another day.