1/03/2014

December 2013 to January 3, 2014 Our Time in Casa Grande Part 3

There are quite a few cotton farms in this area and I arranged a tour for about 20 of us to go to Caywood Farms where we learned about cotton.  The tour include an informative presentation about cotton and its long journey from seed to fiber, cotton picker and module demonstration, hayride, exploring a field of cotton and picking cotton.

Here is some info for you:

Cotton is planted in the spring after any signs of frost or freeze.  Approximately one week after planting, the seed germinates and begins to pop through the soil.  About two months after planting, flower buds called squares appear on the cotton plants.  Three weeks later the blossoms open.  Their petals change from creamy white to yellow, pink and finally dark red or purple.  After 3 days, they wither and fall, leaving green pods called cotton bolls.

Inside the boll, moist fibers grow and push out the newly formed seeds.  As the boll ripens and the seed and moist fibers inside continue to grow, the boll can no longer stay together.  Finally it splits open and the fluffy cotton bursts out.

Toward the end of summer, most of the bolls have opened and it is harvested with machines called Cotton Pickers.  When the basket on the picker is full, it is dumped into a cotton trailer or module maker and taken to a cotton gin where the cotton is cleaned by machines that remove the burs, dirt, stems and leaf material.  It then goes to the gin stand where the seed is removed from the fiber.  The fiber is pressed into bales which weigh approximately 500 pounds.  The seed is eventually send to mill for crushing or to a whole seed place for animal feed.

Caywood Farms is still family owned and when we arrived we were entertained by two of the family members:

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Our group:

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After the entertainment, the journey of cotton was explained.  From there, we saw a demonstration of the cotton picker and cotton trailer. 

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Here is one of those trailers on its way to the cotton gin.

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When we first got here in November, there were many of these squares all over.  It was interesting to learn about their markings, how they were made and what happens to them.

After that, we were taken on a ride around the farm as we learned its history.  Here is our ride:

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Since most of the harvest has been done, we were taken to the demonstration plot:

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Where we learned more about the different stages of the cotton boll.

An unopened boll:

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Opening:

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Opening more:

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Bursting forth:

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There was even a patch of brown cotton, although it was for show only:

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Shelly and I:

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The boys goofing around: Doug, Bill, Andy:

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At this stop, we learned about planting and water rights. If you look at the field and see the line in the middle, it is a long mound of dirt.  That area between the mounds may be large or small, depending on the amount of water that area has been allowed in the canal.  If you look down the canal you will see squares like the second picture below.  These “squares” are opened to water the areas between the mounds.

I am from the east coast where water is plentiful.  It is very interesting to learn about water rights in the west and how it affects our farmers.

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This is the bales without the seeds on their way to market for clothing:

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What a wonderful tour!

We would like to get a tour of a cotton gin next but so far no luck – many say “no” to tours for safety reasons.  Maybe next season.

That same week Andy and I caught a cold and were down and out a few days – Sad smile.  But by Christmas we were both back to normal (or whatever normal is for us – HAHA!)

Our Park’s Christmas Dinner was hosted by Andy, Bill, Judy, and Paula and they all did a great job – lots of good food, fun, and fellowship.  This was the first Christmas that I did not help – it was nice just to walk around and chat – Smile.

The day after Christmas, we started to get ready to move.  Our lot is in the center row and we really wanted a back lot where we could look out into the desert.  The park has a hot list which means we could put our names on a lot and when it comes available we have the opportunity to move there before it is offered to someone on the regular list.  Soooo, lot 97 became available and we officially moved to that lot on December 27.

Our lot:

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Our back yard:

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The lot does need some upgrading but we decided not to do anything right now – maybe next season.

New Years Eve found us at the clubhouse for a party.  Here is our group that made it past midnight in NYC (10 PM our time – Smile)

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We got home to find our Dusty getting sick again.  He was sick earlier in the afternoon but seemed to get better.  Apparently not – Sad smile.   So by 11 PM, we were on our way to Gilbert to the Animal Hospital.  When we got there, they put him in an oxygen kennel, did blood work, and X-Rays and could not find anything wrong.  They were concerned about his heart rate and breathing but when they brought us back to see him, we realized the poor kitty was just very scared.   The final conclusion was that he might have a virus or bronchitis and we were to monitor him.  They did hydrate him and gave him a shot for nausea.   We were on our way home by 4:30 AM and finally got to bed at 6 AM.  

New Year day and evening, Dusty was a slight bit better but not much so on January 2, we went to our local vet.  She gave him a good physical, looked at the hospital records, compared them to her records and diagnosed an infection.  She gave him two shots – an antibiotic and a shot to help his digestive system.  Plus they gave us 5 more shots to give him every eight hours for the next few days.

And I am happy to report that as of today, he is feeling much, much better.  He still has two more shots to go so hopefully he will be back to his old self soon.   Gosh, we were so worried – Sad smile. Crying faceCat face

So that is what we have been up to the past few weeks.  We expect to leave here on the 14th or 15th and head to Quartzsite, then Yuma so stay tuned.

Enjoy today.

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2 comments:

Judith Bell said...

Cotton sure is an interesting plant.

Diane said...

Yes it is! The tour was fascinating - :-)