I have been going over the material about Lovelock and Paradise Valley, Nevada for Edna Purviance's biography and have always been interested in reading how the area looked like in her childhood days.
It had many farm fields, home gardens full of plants and flowers, fruit trees of many varieties, and fresh fruit and vegetables available during the growing season - from fresh strawberries in the spring, to loads of tomatoes in the fall.
I remember that same kind of landscape where I grew up too.
Both of our areas in Idaho and Nevada were created out of desert. Irrigation was the key in making it an oasis.
The Lovelock area (and all desert areas in the west) have always had problems with water, with new pressures today from cities like Las Vegas trying to buy water rights from northern Nevada to pipe down to Vegas. Every time a farmer or rancher sells their water rights, they get that much closer to turning their land back into desert and losing valuable natural wetlands.
On our trips to Lovelock, I could see areas returning back to sagebrush desert, I never realized how quickly that could happen, until I recently saw some images of my old farm in Idaho.
I always remember my farm as a very green place, just on the edge of sagebrush land. On my side of fence there was a variety of fruits and vegetables to eat, green pastures for the horses, and a pond for the ducks to play and nest around.
I knew the other side of the fence could look like my, if it only had water. And it continued looking like desert until a new landowner bought the property and removed all the sagebrush and started watering. He turned it into a hay field, and it looked as green as my side of the fence.
Our water came from a local dam and we paid for water rights to have so many acre-feet each year for the growing season. I always thought our farm would look the same, (at least in some form), but the era of small family farms was coming to a close in that district, and I just lived there during the sunset years.
Well, to keep a long story short, one of my relatives has given up the family farm due to reasons unknown to me. I was viewing images of it recently and it is nothing like I remembered.
Our once green pastures, where I spent every spring picking wild asparagus, riding horses, taking walks, etc. is now back to desert. Sagebrush and desert dry grass have replaced tall green grass, bean and hay fields.
I know it is back to its natural state, but doesn't make it easy to look at. But the pioneers did look at that desert, and saw an oasis and turned it into one. It is just their great grand kids are returning it back to sage.
At least it gives me a better idea what Edna must have felt when passing by Lovelock the last time, and seeing her old home gone, ranches she horseback ride gone, and towns she use to visit as as child, abandoned. Times surely keep changing...
(Oh, as for my pond on the farm, it is gone too.)