Father’s Day on the canals of central Sask.

All this recent talk about irrigation has prompted me to think about Father’s Day 2017.

Not the most obvious connection, I know, but life’s like that sometimes.

On that glorious late spring day three years ago, I spent a Sunday afternoon with three other people riding our bicycles in the countryside less than an hour south of Saskatoon.

We parked our cars at the north end of Blackstrap Reservoir and then spent a few hours riding on dirt roads beside the irrigation canals that meander through the fields of central Saskatchewan. And there it is — the mysterious irrigation connection.

The day actually got off to a horrifying start before I even left the house. My wife noticed that I’d managed to put my t-shirt on inside out, and when I pulled it off to make myself look slightly less ridiculous, a finger was suddenly pointing at my back.

“What’s that?”

It turned out “that” was a huge, blood-engorged wood tick that had obviously been hitching a ride for a few days.

My wife can’t be described as a bug lover, so the ensuing drama was, well, dramatic.

The tick was finally removed, along with some of me, my t-shirt went back on the right way, and off we went.

Spending the afternoon cycling beside the irrigation canals of Saskatchewan may sound like something out of a rom-com movie, but on this day, it was more gruelling than romantic.

It had rained a lot that spring, and the dirt roads weren’t muddy, but they sure were soft. It required a considerable amount of pedal power to keep the bike moving. It wasn’t the most relaxing day I’ve ever spent.

But don’t get me wrong — it was still a nice outing. The growing fields were interesting to inspect, the canals were pretty and the companionship was pleasant. Oh yeah, there was also a picnic lunch half way through the day, so how bad could it be?

What the day really managed to produce was a greater appreciation for the marvels of irrigation infrastructure. It is amazing to picture a countryside criss-crossed with canals moving water across vast distances.

I know the latest irrigation expansion plan in Saskatchewan has its detractors, but for a dryland prairie boy like myself, it’s hard to imagine how you can go wrong finding ways to better manage this precious resource we call water.

Turn on the taps, I say.

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