The Adventures of TLC Cai-Cai on Friday—-Farm Life Series 10, Corn, Friday, October 1, 2021

“Let’s Go Outside, TLC Cai-Cai.  I’m sure you can find lots to do.” Mom picked me up and took me outside with her.  Then while Mom worked on the flower bed beside the red rocks, I hung out with her.

Tell me more about the farm, Mom.  I’m still learning. I purred, wrapping myself around her legs, getting between her and the weeds, purring and purring.

“Okay, you sweet loving kitty. Let’s go have a sit and I will give you a wee farm lesson.  Gosh, today you are 10 months old. (We really don’t know your day of birth, but the vet thinks you were born very close to the 1 Day of January, so we are going with that.)”

“Happy Ten Months, Dear Kitty!”

“Now, let’s see,” Mom put me on her lap and started petting me, “the farm.  We talked about the hay, the big loud things that do stuff, and the fact we raise. Corn.  I’ll tell you about corn.

Corn is our very most important crop.  It’s the crop that takes us from paycheck to paycheck.  For a Corn paycheck,  that means a paycheck in December (usually—one year it didn’t mean that, but that is another story for another time.)

That paycheck in December takes the farm and everything on the farm clear through the whole year until the next paycheck in the next year’s December.

The corn crop Starts in January.  Yes, it does.  That is when Dad sits down, figures out how many acres he wants to grow the corn on, then he figures out how many seeds he needs to purchase from the seed supplier.  The seeds make up all the bushels/tons of corn he will sell.

Then he starts watching the corn market.  By the end of February, he knows (has a general idea, anyway) the amount of corn he wants to plants, will the crop will bring when he harvests the corn in late fall…that can be late October, or in November, or December.

By March the cows have left the cow hotel, so it’s time for Dad to work the ground.  First, he disks the cow manure and all the left-over stalks of everything up — chopping everything into tiny little bits.

After that, he hooks up the plow and turns all the chopped-up bits over into big slabs of dirt to mellow out and feed the earth.

After all the soil dries, he goes back in and rolls the ground flat.  This is so he can get a good clean place to work with.

Now it’s time to level the fields so he can get ready to start the water.  Leveling makes sure there are no humps and bumps in the field so when the water starts it will run right through the furrows from the beginning to end, not washing out the seeds or pooling up somewhere along the way.”

I rather stopped listening, I even stopped purring, but I didn’t go to sleep.  If I went to sleep Mom would sit me aside and go back to work.

I reached up and patted Mom.

Mom chuckled.

“Okay, after the leveling, it’s time to mark up the furrows and Start the Water.

  Then we wait for that to dry a wee bit, after which Dad plants the seeds.  Lots of work in the spring.

When the little seeds get to growing and have four leaves…

Dad will go out and cultivate the rows…which means get rid of the weeds.  Then he marks it out again and we start the water again.

We irrigate all the time, moving the water across the fields, onto other fields, then back again.  All summer long.

The corn grows and grows and grows…. finally getting to a spot in the fall where Dad takes the water away because the plant is so big and so mature it can no longer take in any more water into itself.

Then we wait.  It’s a little bit of downtime…time to get caught up on other things (of course the other crops have needs too, but we are just talking about corn right now)

Then in late October, or sometime in November, possibly December we harvest the corn.

We talked about that earlier when I was explaining how you need to stay away from the big machines on the farm.

So, there you have it, My Darling Sparkling little kitty. Corn. The big crop on the farm.

Mom gave me a kiss on the nose and put me down on the red rocks, now it’s time for you and me to get something done around here.

So, Mom and I got busy!

 

TLC Cai-Cai

 

The Adventures of TLC Cai-Cai on Friday—-Farm Life Series 9, The Crop Market, Friday, September 24, 2021

MOM!!! MMMMMEOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!

“Come in, TLC Cai-Cai,” Mom invited. “Come sit with me for a spell and have your head rubbed.

So, I did.

So, she did.  It was so peaceful, just sitting with Mom, purring.

Maybe you could tell me more about Farm Living, Mom. I purred.

“Well, let’s see…the Crop market.  I don’t think I’ve told you about the crop market.  You see this is the PRICE Dad gets when he sells something. That price is set by a thing called “Supply and Demand.”  Mom explained, as she gently rubbed under my chin.

AHHHHH….so nice.  Purrr.

“What that means is, if there is a lot of something, then the price for that something is low, but if there isn’t a lot of something then the price rises higher.”  I stretched out my full length so Mom would rub on my backbone.

“So, you see, if the market is down, then the whole season’s work (March through November) can make it so a farmer doesn’t get anything for all his effort.

That is why a farmer tries to grow lots and lots of different crops. There is corn for silage/ensilage, corn for people to eat all summer long called sweet corn, corn for animals, and corn for people called corn flakes, cornmeal, lots of corn things.  This is why corn is such a big crop.  At least around our part of the world.”  Mom petted me all the way down my side and clear over to the tip of my tail.

Lovely….sigh….purrrrrrrrr

“Some farmers grow onions, and pinto beans, and pumpkins, and well just lots and lots of different products so people and animals can eat.”

“Oh, yes, Mom said scratching my ears OH MY THAT FEELS GOOD—and hay.  Hay can be alfalfa and it can be grass. We grow alfalfa here. This way farmers try to have different types of crops so there is always some money coming in.”

In, I thought dreamily to myself.  I understand about wanting and needing to come in.

Suddenly Dad was in the house getting a drink of water. I jumped up and headed toward the door.

I’ve had enough of In…

Out I go with Dad.

TLC Cai-Cai

The Adventures of TLC Cai-Cai on Friday—-Farm Life Series 7, Money or the Lack-There-Of, Friday, September 10, 2021

“Now, just so you know, the reason Dad (and I) farm is: to make money.

Well, that doesn’t always seem to be the case. The idea is to make money. You can’t farm if you don’t have money. So, the whole idea of farming is to make money.

Just like people who go to work for someone else…to make money.”

Mom put me up on her shoulder and petted me, while we walked toward the house.

“So, you see, TLC Cai-Cai, (Mom calls me by my full name all the time,

Dad calls me things like CLT, LTC, TLC—he makes stuff up all the time, sometimes he calls me a GIRL!!!!  It’s okay I still come to him no matter what he calls me. 😊 )

It is very important that a farm makes money, for without money there is no canned cat food or dry cereal to munch on…it takes money to buy your groceries.”

Farming is a risky type of business.  It’s not like a regular job, where every two weeks or once a month you get a paycheck.  Paycheck time is whenever the crops come in, which can be only once a year, depending on the crop.”

Mom and I sat down on the sofa where I can stretch way out while Mom pets on me.

“For us, You, Me, and Dad, the paychecks come in each time we sell hay.  Hay is a big deal around here.  It brings in money three times a summer.

Then in the fall and early winter, Dad will get out the corn combine and combine the corn, haul it to the Elevator by which, around Christmas time we will get the most money.  This is the money we live on.  It buys everyday living, all the spring requirements: seed, fertilizer, fuel, it holds us together.”

I am purring so loud; I’m starting to get tired.  Just a little bit tired, like maybe just rest my eyes tired.

“And you know what, TLC Cai-Cai?  Farmers can’t control the weather or the price you get paid, ever.  That’s just how it is—the reason farming is such a risky business.”

ZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

“Hum, I guess you feel safe and warm and fed, Little One. And THAT is a very good thing.”

Mom got up very slowly leaving me there on the sofa to dream on.

TLC Cai-Cai

The Adventures of TLC Cai-Cai on Friday—-Farm Life Series 6, Other Big Equipment, Friday, September 3, 2021

 

“TLC Cai-Cai, what are you doing?”  Mom said as I jumped up to grab her foot.

Just Playing, I said.

Mom reached down a picked me up. “Oh, good, Sweet Little Kitty. I’ve been thinking I had better tell you about some other BIG noisy and dangerous pieces of equipment Dad has on the farm.  Equipment you need to stay far, far away from.”

There is the swather— this is the thing Dad uses to cut down all the standing alfalfa, to let it dry turning into hay.

STAY away…it will swath you right up, then there won’t be a TLC Cai-Cai anymore!”  Mom admonished.

Mom put me on her shoulder and walked over to the outside chairs and sat down.

“Then there is the combine.

The combine will move through the corn and chop down all the corn stalks, separate the corn cobs from the stalks, then shell the corn from the cobs, flinging the stalks, and cobs out onto the ground and the corn kernels into the hoper in the back.

If you were to get in the way of the combine, you would come out just like those tiny pieces of corn cobs and stalks, so you MUST stay out the cornfield during harvest.”

Mom started scratching my head, my ears, hum puuuuuuuuuuuuurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

“Then the big truck will come through the yard, taking all the corn kernels to town.”

Purrrrrr, hummm, purrrr

“So, TLC Cai-Cai, when anything like this is going on, you have to RUN to the House! And stay IN the HOUSE where Dad and I know you are safe.”

I looked at Mom.  Then I looked around and realized I WANT DOWN.

So I squirmed off Moms’ lap and headed over to the water tub—that fountain is intriguing!

Bye Mom, Gota Go!

TLC Cai-Cai

 

 

The Adventures of TLC Cai-Cai on Friday—-Farm Life Series 5, Tractors, Friday, August 27, 2021

“Farms, any farms, well, all Farms have Tractors”, Mom picked me up and sat me down on her lap.  I was trying to hide because Dad had just started one of his tractors and was heading out of the farmyard. “You are right to run fast away from big noisy machines, of which tractors are one.”

Mom and I sat down in one of the outside chairs, me on Mom’s lap, and Mom’s hand petting me.

“You see, TLC Cai-Cai, Tractors are how all the groundwork gets done. Tractors are the ‘heavy-lifter’s of the farm, they pull implements to make the soil on the farm in a very lovely soft loamy state so Dad can then plant the fields.  The tractors even pull the planter which does the planting.

Then there is the water, tractors use special pieces of equipment which make the ditches and help keep the ditches clean so the water can flow onto the farm, and down the rows, the tractor created right after the crop was planted.

There are other BIG pieces of equipment on the farm, like the swather and the combine, but I will save that for another time. For right now just know that there are many tractors on the farm, and each one has its own special job to do.” Mom said softly to me all the while petting my head, my ears, my back, my sides, my…………smile purr. Humm.

“I am so proud of you for being very careful around all the tractors and the big noisy things like cars and trucks, for Dad and I want you with us for years and years and years.” Mom whispered—“years.”

 

I really am not sure all of what Mom was saying, I was purring very, very loud, while Mom talked softly to me and petted me. I kept on purring until I think I must have fallen asleep.

Which is a very lovely thing.  zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

TLC Cai-Cai

 

 

The Adventures of TLC Cai-Cai on Friday—-RAIN, Friday, August 20, 2021

Mom says we will get back to all about ‘Running a Farm’ next week, but for right now, there is REJOICING in the House and on the Farm.

It started raining and

it hasn’t really stopped.

As for me—

I’m not sure about this rain stuff.

TLC Cai-Cai

The Adventures of TLC Cai-Cai on Friday—-Farm Life Series 4, We Continue On without Mindy, Friday, August 13, 2021

“People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and the future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”—Albert Einstein reflecting on the death of his friend Michele Besso

Mom took me on her lap and started petting me, I began to purr, LOUD, just for Mom.

Mom said I know Mindy Lou-Sue, my wonderful Min-Min, was teaching you about our way of life. I guess I should try and pick up where she left off.

So, while I purred; Mom petted me, she told me about the Business of Farming.

Mom told me that ranches are mostly grasslands for cows and sheep and horses and mules and… and farms raise crops.

Ranchers raise animals for meat and farmers raise crops that feed and clothe animals, including human animals.

Dogs and Cats, (purr, hum, purr) are important parts of farms. And ranches, Mom explained.

Dogs help ‘work’ on the farm and help ranchers take care of the animals on a ranch.  Here on our farm, when Mom and Dad had dogs (Mom stopped and sighed.) The dogs went everywhere with us and helped irrigate.

I CAN GO! I stopped purring and stood up; looking Mom right in the eye.  I can help.

Mom smiled and turned me back around and sat me down so I could get more scratches and pets.

Kitties, of which you are one, Mom said, all the while petting me, as the keeper of the farmyard/ or if the kitty lives on a ranch, the ranch yard.

Kitties keep the mice away from the house, the barns the work sheds, the grain bins, everything.

Kitties are a very important part of making a farm or ranch run smooth.

I got up again and gave Mom a head butt and a lick on her cheek.

Then I jumped down, stretched, fluffed my tail, and strutted off.

We, Cats, ARE very important!

Mom is so right!

Now, I have ‘stuff’ to do, important Stuff!

TLC Cai-Cai

 

 

The Adventures of TLC Cai-Cai on Friday—-It’s Just Me, Friday, August 6, 2021

When I woke up one morning, I realized Mindy was missing.

She didn’t come in for her regular spend the night and eat some kitty candy

Nor was she anyplace I could find her on the farm.

I meowed out at the barn,

I called by the Grain Bins,

I meowed and called and squalled in the hay stackyard.

I looked in Dad’s collector ‘parts’ cars,

I looked in all the grain trucks (there are three of them)

I walked down the corral fence and hollered constantly.

Then I went over into the orchard and meowed,

When I got back into the farmyard,

Mom was outside looking for Mindy also.

So, we both called.

After all that I knew.

But Mom kept calling for her for days and days,

Even going out at night (which she would NOT let go with her)

and called for Mindy

Sigh!

It’s lonely here without Mindy.

TLC Cai-Cai

The Adventures of Mindy on Friday—-Farm Life Series 3, The Big, Noisy Stuff, Friday, July 23, 2021

Another thing you need to pay attention to is the BIG, LOUD, STUFF!

Like the tractors

Corn choppers

Hay Swather

The baler

Old trucks

Mom and Dad’s four-wheelers,

The pick-ups

Mom’s Car

The Lawnmower,

All those things can KILL you!  Smash you flatter than a smashed miller.

When you hear one start-up or

one coming into the farmyard

RUN!

Your life depends on it!

Mindy Lou-Sue, or as Mom calls me, Min-Min

The Adventures of TLC Cai-Cai on Friday—-I’m a Big Kid Now, Friday, July 16, 2021

I like to go for rides! In the Pick-Up with Mom and Dad.

I get to see lots and lots of stuff.  I like learning about STUFF!

Mom makes me wear my harness; as soon as she puts it on, I KNOW!  WHEEEEE! Off we get to go!

I don’t whine or meow or anything.  When I get tired, I curl up on Mom’s lap and sleep.

I have, also, figured out MICE!  I watched Mindy bring Mice to Mom and get lots and lots of pets for bringing Mom mice. So I got Mom a mouse also.

That Mouse was LOTS of FUN!  I played with it here and there and, well, gosh everywhere.

No, I didn’t eat it.  I only eat cereal and yummy stuff in a can.  The eating mouse thing, Mindy does I just don’t get.

Anyway…I AM A BIG KID NOW!

TLC Cai-Cai