Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Fighting for Our Right to Irrigate Our Farms and Caretake Our Natural Resources

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        When Delfina married Paul, she also joined a community 

By Nick Schutz,  May 10, 2001

Delfina Macy married Paul R. Macy a year after he homesteaded in Tulelake. Joining him in the small farming community, she must have had some idea what she was getting into. Macy said settling in took some adjustment, but the close-knit community obviously won her over. 

On a recent Thursday afternoon as an unusual steady rain soaked the fields, Macy said “we’re dancing.” Winter wheat is already planted. “It was a community of people all the same age, in the same business, and babies were born around the same time. It was always close, farmer helping farmer,” said Delfina. 

Paul flew B-24s in Europe during World War II, and the couple got engaged before he drew a homestead. Delfina grew up in a rural area of San Diego County, with trees, grass and water. When she arrived in Tulelake, the dust storms took some getting used to. “It was a great place to raise a family,” she said. She noted the pleasure of children interacting with animals: horses, sheep and steers.

Delfina has adjusted now, and she is not happy about farms going without water. “Even if we get water right away, I’m not sure we can get back out on our fields and get a good crop,” she said. After a recent windy day the abrasive action of dust blowing off the fields cut up their winter wheat pretty bad. 

Macy noted frost is worse on dry soil because it gets down into the roots. Wet top soil acts as a barrier. The further down the dryness goes, the deeper the frost gets. “We’re in business working for farmers,” she said of Macy’s Flying Service, a family business she runs with her children. “The science doesn’t add up,” she said. “The data doesn’t back up an interpretation for high lake levels and big flows. “This is devastating for everybody.” 

Delfina also spoke about the Hispanic community. She said the vast majority in Tulelake are not migrants, but long-time residents, settled in with long-term jobs. She estimated that 80 percent live in the community year-round. “The wife might work in the potato shed, the husband in the fields.” She said whole families depend on agriculture for jobs and even those with some of their family in other industries 
probably won’t be able to hang on. “We’re trying to hang in there.” 


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