Fields of gold
Last Saturday I decided to take a trip out to Sergey Minasian's farm in the village of Voskedap, which is located in the Ararat region. He has been farming the land there since 1995, although he is a mechanical engineer by profession. When I was last there about four weeks ago about six hectares of high-quality wheat had sprouted and was about six inches high, which possessed a rich, emerald green color. He told me it would take at least another month before the wheat would be ready for harvest, so I wanted to be there to see it beforehand.
I have a fascination with wheat fields, I am always amazed by their splendor. Wheat represents life in many ways--it provides sustenance for animals, it gives shelter to birds and insects, and man's very existence depends on it. It's a fabulous experience to be standing in front of a gorgeous field of golden, sun-ripened wheat, even therapeutic. Sergey will harvest the crop in another day or two and sell it for about 150 or 200 dram a kilo as seed to the Armenian government, which had requested that he grow it having been impressed with the wheat he produced last year. On the remaining 10 hectares he is cultivating will grow tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers, which he usually sells to the Ardashat Canning Factory to be packed under the "Artfood" brand.
I arrived on the very day when Sergey (pictured kneeling above attacking the pump with a pair of pliers) had to remove a pump from the artesian well that he drilled several years ago to irrigate his fields. Apparently one pump had fallen from its perch just above the water line within the pipeline leading up to the ground surface. It was obstructing the water from being pumped by a second pump he had installed since the first was dangling 50 meters below. So the pump that was considered to be operational was taken to the village center to undergo routine maintenance, while workers toiled away at removing the malfunctioned pump with a portable crane. It took them several days to remove it from the well as it kept falling down the pipeline, infuriating everyone involved, especially Sergey. In the meantime, his functioning pump was taken away without his knowledge to another village since the people there were undergoing some kind of emergency with their water supply. Thankfully it only took a day for Sergey to get a hold of it again as the village's crisis was over.
Once the broken pump was finally extracted after several nail-biting hours, the functioning one was inserted into the well and the process began of reassembling the pipeline, which took about two hours. Almost immediately after the job was done water began flowing like a gushing river through the irrigation channel and into the fields.
However, a phone call to Sergey this morning revealed that the pump began to fail on Wednesday. He is perhaps one of the most resilient men I have ever met, second to my father perhaps, and I am positive that he will figure out what to do about the water situation in the next couple of days. Nevertheless I cannot say that I could have been able to handle the stress he has endured in the last six weeks especially since the water shortage problem began, and I would guess very few would as farming entire depends on water.