Seeing all the cotton fields surrounding us and watching the crop dusters roaring overhead aroused my curiosity to learn more about the crop. Yahoo! There came the opportunity for a tour through the Activities Office. We traveled out past 11-Mile Corner to the Caywood farm for a tour. Nancy and Al were our hosts for the day and surprisingly started off by entertaining us with some of their bluegrass music. They are part of a bluegrass ensemble that plays at events. Sure hope we get the opportunity to have them here at Palm Creek some Wednesday night as they were really foot-stomping fun. (Do I send this HINT to Ann Lykens or to the new Special Events Team of Peggy Sue??)
Nancy is an agriculture instructor at the University of California so is a wealth of knowledge about agriculture in general. I found it fascinating to hear about water allocation to farmers and was quite concerned to hear about our current drought conditions and a lack of valuable water to farmers. Because of water restrictions, farmers have had to let some fields fallow. THUS explaining why we had such an abundance of heavy dust storms this past summer. With no crops in the fields, the soil is free to fly away! As I sit here writing this, a light rain is falling outside. While it ‘dampens’ our day for fun in the sun, we NEED every drop of rain so don’t dismay about the gloom.
Our tour hosts explained the whole process of growing cotton…..from planting to harvesting….plus the equipment and machinery needed. We asked tons of questions along the way. Listening to the stories brought back visions of many movies where cotton had to be picked by hand causing serious injury with cuts and sore fingers. I can certainly see why after examining the sharp edges of the pods.
We hopped aboard the hay wagon to take us out to the cotton plants that were left for the tour. These small huts are part of the history where migrant workers used to reside plus there is a display of old machinery along the way.
I appreciated the demonstration of how those big machines can drive through a field and pick the cotton. Modern technology and science have certainly made the harvesting job less painful.
Those big cotton modules we see along the edges of the fields weigh about 15,000 pounds as they are compressed and wrapped in this modular machine.
Most of the weight comes from the seeds within the cotton balls. The seeds are given to the cotton mill in exchange for ginning the cotton. It takes five years for this little seed to be treated before it can be used for replanting. The seeds are actually injected with an herbicide against boll worms. Agriculture is truly a science!
Here’s sending a special THANK YOU to the Caywood/Robertson family for sponsoring this informative tour.