The Adventures of TLC Cai-Cai on Friday—-Farm Adventures, Those Who Live with Me, Friday, June 10, 2022

 

We have a chipmunk…

actually, two that live with me in the farm yard.  But Mom can never seem to get a photo of them.  These Chips are the descendants of two Chips

who were friends with Sam-Sam.

And Fuzzy.

And Boomer.  Now their great, great grands are friends with me.

Since Mom can’t get a photo of them, she is posting one she saw out on the farm—where I NEVER go.

We also have several ground squirrels who share the chicken feed with the chickens.

Once more these are the descendants of Stanly and Stewart and their lovely squirrel wives—Shirley and Shelia.

It seems whenever Mom is around and the squirrels are around, she never has her camera.  BUT— out on the farm, Mom saw a squirrel hiding behind his tail.  So cute-thought Mom.

We also have a family of bunnies.

Momma bunny told me it was much, much safer to hang around the farm yard, than the farm proper.  She knows, she was over by the equipment area when she grew up.

It was a dangerous and very scary place to live.

The Gambol Quails have migrated in to share dinner with the hens.  They are extremely fast.  (and, of course, Mom never has her camera when she is working in her yard.)

The pair of Gambol Quails have BABIES— that run and dart very fast.  I have a goal….no! No! NO!!!! I don’t.  Never!  I can’t even think of that goal!  EVER!!!!

One day I was a tad bored, Skitter Bug was close, I was bored so I hopped out from under the peony bush right on her back. (Mom saw).  Mom screamed NO!

She didn’t need to scream.

Skitter Bug turned around very fast and pecked the heck out of me, then when I fell over, she flew up and pounced on ME!

Let’s just say—hens are off the grocery shopping list. (Although to be fair to me, I didn’t want to eat her, just play with her.)

We have

birds,

and birds

and

lots of birds.

 

One day we had a hawk…

WOW,  THAT BIRD IS BIG!!! 

I had to hide in the wood pile.  Mom was outside and saw the hawk.  She yelled at the hawk—“SHOO! Go away!

(I’m not sure if this IS a hawk—any ideas?)

These animals in the farm yard are NOT your dinner.”  The hawk just looked at Mom, but he did fly away.

So—that’s the working list of animals in the farm yard.

Plus, Me, Dad, and Mom.

(We also have a badger…Mom…did you hear me?)

TLC Cai-Cai

The Adventures of TLC Cai-Cai on Friday—-Corn, Friday, May 13, 2022

Dad is planting corn,

He got it all planted

Then he went out and knocked down the rows

Now Dad and Mom wait

( of course, they don’t sit and wait)

After the corn gets a tiny sprout

They will start the water on the cornrows

Soon the tiny seeds will make

BABY corn PLANTS!

As for me—I am busy keeping the farmyard

SAFE!


TLC Cai-Cai

The Adventures of TLC Cai-Cai on Friday —Step Four, Friday, April 29, 2022

Water is not only the backbone of the farm.

Water is a tool.

To irrigate properly you not only need to understand water, the needs of the water, and how the water performs on the land.

You need to also understand the land you are using the water on!

For some people, like Mom, watering yard…she just turns the spigot on, moves the hose with the sprinkler head here and there all over the lawn in 30 minutes stretches.

Also, Mom takes off the sprinkle head and puts on a soaker head so she can water her flower beds.

Yes, this takes lots of time, because Mom doesn’t have a sprinkling system.

But for the water on the farm, on this side of the Rocky Mountains, in the high mountains desert…water is moved through furrows.

Other places rely on rainfall—that will never happen here.

Some other places pump water out of a river, or lake, or pond, or an aquifer into huge sprinkler systems that never stop.  (Because sprinkle systems only put down a tiny amount of moisture at a time, so the sprinkler has to be moving constantly to get everything wet down to the roots of the plant.)

Some places flood-irrigate…like rice paddies, for instance, or some other type of crop which moves lots and lots of water onto the crop then take it away and let it dry, only to repeat again later.

Here we take our water onto the land in a big head — the head is made up of shares.  The Shares are the amount of water allowed for that farm.

Moving water onto the farm takes timing, balance, athletic ability (you have to stand or jump on the ditches), and an understanding of the farm and water.

Mom says there is something so beautiful, soothing, and marvelous about working the water on the land. Just listening to the water is calming; making sure the water is doing what it’s supposed to —

run down each row…the row that amount of water is allotted to is exciting.

Sometimes the water wants to ‘cut over’ into its neighbor’s row, or something jumps into the row—like a clod of dirt, or the remainder of last year’s corn cob/stalk — getting the water BACK into its own row and taking the block out can be a tad exciting (and muddy and stressful.

 

But seeing the water running nice and even, the sides of the furrow’s turning browner soaking up the water, watching the ground soak up the water all the water to the middle.

WONDERFUL!

At least two more chapters in the backbone of water—Stay tuned!

(See my gift to Mom—MOUSE!)

TLC Cai-Cai

 

The Adventures of TLC Cai-Cai on Friday —Step Two, Friday, April 22, 2022

Mom and Dad lift up all the siphon tubes out of the ditches, fork out all the trash

Before 7:00 in the morning, Dad calls the Uncompaghre Valley Water Users ditch rider.  Our ditch rider rides for the FN Lateral.  That is the canal from which we get the water that goes to our place.

Our headgate has its own number and everything.  And our farm, just like every farm within the Uncompaghre Valley Water Users area, has its own share of water.  This water was decided way back in 1902 — every farm gets its number of shares forever and ever and ever.  And that farmer (owner of the farm) must pay for the shares…they are not a freebie.  Just so you know, Mom and Dad say the cost of the water for each farm is more than the taxes on each farm.  Water is an expensive part of farming.

Once at the headgate he lifts up the dam stopping the water from going into our farm.

After Dad talks to the ditch rider, he heads up to the headgate, opens the dam the amount the ditch rider says he can have (yes, sometimes you don’t get the 100% you pay for, sometimes you only get a percentage—it all depends on the snowmelt.)

The amount of water Dad can have, leaves the canal and heads onto the place—at that point Mom and Dad scoop trash out the ditches, so the trash cleaners don’t get over-whelmed.

Then they move to the first field they are starting the water on.

This goes on from the first day in April when the headgate is first opened until the last day in September when Dad decides the crops are finished taking in water.

Twice or more times a day…

Mom and Dad go out, check the trash,

check the furrows to make sure they are not trashed up,

and move the water to the next furrows on and on and on.

Step Three will tell you more. In detail. I think.

TLC Cai-Cai

The Adventures of TLC Cai-Cai on Friday —How it all Begins, Friday, April 15, 2022

It all begins with snow.  Lots and lots of snow.

That snow then melts way, way up there in the high, high mountains.  Taylor Park Reservoir is owned and managed by the Uncompahgre Valley Water Users.
(I don’t really know these things, but Mom does, so I’m letting Mom write this for a little bit. TLC Cai-Cai)

The melted snow, which turns into water, flows all the way down to the Blue Mesa Reservoir whereby it then flows into all the canals, which water all the farms along the way from here to there.

Uncompahgre Valley Water Users has one storage dam, several diversion dams, 128 miles of canals, 438 miles of laterals, and 216 miles of drains.

Now that Mom told you that…I’ll tell you, come to Spring.  The Ditch Riders open the canal so Dad and lots of other farmers can get water onto their farms and start irrigation.

That means my days of catching mice IN the canal are over.

(Ditch riders burning the trash in the ditches)

Water—this is the life-blood and the backbone of the farm

(cleaning out the trash)

(Trash heading to the bridge on a wave of water)

Lots of muscle to keep from flooding

Through the bridge!

A Big Day is the day the canal is open!

TLC Cai-Cai

The Adventures of TLC Cai-Cai on Friday —Farm Life Series, Chapter 9, BUGS, Friday, April 8, 2022

We have BUGS!

Sometimes I try to catch them.

Sometimes I try to eat them.

We have bugs of all sorts: crickets, grasshoppers, beetles, ants, and spiders.

  • We have:
    FLIES—flies I try to kill! I chase them, I pounce on them, I swat them—there are all sorts of flies: house flies, horse flies, deer flies, biting flies, blowflies, fat flies, skinny flies we got them.

They all buzz, bite, and get in your ears!  ALL OF THEM!

You know what?  They don’t get in my ears! Nope, but they do get in the equine’s ears and in the dogs’ ears.  I don’t know why they don’t bother cats, but they don’t.

Heheheh.

  • Mosquitoes—monsters, each and every one of them!
  • Gnats—Mom and Dad think these are the most obnoxious, annoying, creatures. They can even chase Mom and Dad on their four-wheelers.  (Right along with the giant Horse Flies)
  • Giant Horse Flies and slender little horse flies. These winged monsters eat anything walking around with warm blood in it.  And they will chase you down to get the blood.
  • Wasps—Mom is very allergic to these and Honey bees. Their harpoons have been known to knock Mom down and out.  Until the Benadryl kicks in and she can get her get-up and go going again.

Well, I think we covered all our wildlife,

what a farm is,

how to live and

work on a farm…

I think the next and last thing I’m going to talk to you about is the life-blood of the farm.

WATER!

So, see you soon!

TLC Cai-Cai

The Adventures of TLC Cai-Cai on Friday —Farm Life Series, Chapter 6, Those Things I Know Lots About, Friday, April 1, 2022

Now we are talk’n.  I know lots, and lots, and lots about RODENTS!

What is a rodent—well, let’s see: They are usually small, with fur, four legs, two ears, one nose, one mouth, little black (usually) eyes, and VERY SHARP Front teeth!

The rodent I know very most about is called MOUSE!

We have mice (mice is what you say if you are talking about more than one mouse) —just so you know.

(Coyote watching mouse)

We have mice EVERYWHERE! In the sheds, in the haystack, in the ditches, everywhere.

Although, Mom and I are very careful to not have any mice in the house!

EVER!

I am a very good mouse hunter, a player with, killer, and eater of MICE!  I usually can eat at least three mice a day!

That is a lot.

We have deer mice and field mice.  My favorite to eat are the babies, the other ones taste good too, but my favorite are those little ones just learning to run!

Anywho—-we also have Rabbits.

Once in a while, we get a rabbit in the farmyard.

But mostly rabbits are on the farm. Over by the equipment area where they can hide IN the equipment and stay SAFE!

Mom actually likes rabbits. So do the coyotes, the fox, the hawk, the random eagle, you know…rabbit—yumm— good to eat!

So…so Mom and Dad let the rabbits hideout in the equipment area.  They take care to make sure the rabbit nests are safe

Just know we have bunnies.  Cute, soft, bunnies.

TLC Cai-Cai

The Adventures of TLC Cai-Cai on Friday —Farm Life Series, Chapter 5, BIG BAD ANIMALS, Friday, March 25, 2022

Sometimes we have Mountain Lions, not really, our neighbor who has sheeps, usually gets the Mountain Lions, but they Do Walk Down the Ditch banks.

Mom and Dad see the tracks

.

Our neighbor with the sheep gets more than tracks—just say’n.

When the Mountain Lions show up our deer population disappears.  They leave.

Why?

 

They are Mountain Lion food. 

I would run too if I were Mountain Lion food.

We might have other big scary bad things but I don’t know about it—oh!

WAIT!  I forgot!

How could I forget!

COYOTES!!!

We Have COYOTES!!

You can hear them singing, yelling, and howling every night.

Some nights are shudder-worthy because you know they made a kill and are dancing and yipping for joy.

Stay cats don’t have a chance in the country.  Neither do not stray cats.

That is why Mom makes me come in EVERY night. Even if I want to stay outside and hunt, Mom comes out, shakes the Kitty Candy jar, calls my name and I come running.

KITTY CANDY!!!


Coyotes eat lots of stuff—they eat rabbits, ground squirrels, mice, voles, weasels, snakes, grasshoppers, quail, pheasant, careless cats, wild dogs, stay dogs, and dogs and cats that have been ‘dropped off’ to fend for themselves in the country.

They eat baby calves, just born baby caves, dead cows, baby deer, you name it.

They also eat apricots, apples that have fallen on the ground, prunes, plums, and pears.

They also like to eat the fruit of the prickly pear cactus.

Coyotes will come right into the farmyard and eat watermelon, cantaloupe, dig in the trash barrels to scarf down garbage.

Well, I think I’ve covered the BIG BAD ANIMALS who live with us on the farm.  I think, the next time I will tell you about the ‘other’ animals.

So stay tuned; we are learning about animals on the farm!

TLC Cai-Cai

The Adventures of TLC Cai-Cai on Wednesday —Farm Life Series, Chapter 3, Birds, Wednesday, March 23, 2022

We have Doves—Mourning and Ring-necked and once in a special while white Doves.

We have Pheasant and Quail and some other types of birds who run lickity split and scatter all over the farm.

We also have those Giant birds—Canada Geese and Sandhill Cranes.

While speaking of birds:  There are Owls, Hawks (all shapes and sizes),

and once in a great while Eagles.  Not very often Eagles, but there has been one or two who land in the old Weeping Willow trees.

Then we have all those delicious, oops, little birds: Robins,

Western Meadowlarks, Finches of all sorts, all types of Sparrows, Barn Swallows, the list is so big and so long I can’t tell you all of them.

AND there are the Hummingbirds!  Now, if I really want to get in trouble, all I have to do is stalk a hummingbird.

Mom said she isn’t going to feed the birds (any birds) because I am a tad naughty about birds.

I don’t see how I’m naughty—really, I don’t.

Mom does

and what Mom says goes.

So, I have to change my diet to a ‘clean’ diet forgoing BIRDS!!!

Only mice from now on out for me.

TLC Cai-Cai

The Adventures of TLC Cai-Cai on Friday —Farm Life Series, Chapter 2, BIG ANIMALS, Friday, March 18, 2022

We have BIG animals—BIG:

First, we have DEER!

I try to hide when I see Deer.  We have big Daddy deer, called A buck, who comes trotting into the yard randomly.  Sometimes bringing along his wife, called a doe.  They hang out in Mom’s yard and eat all the apples and apricots and cherries and—I think you get the picture.

If we don’t get Dad and Mom deer, we will get Mom and kid deer.  Remember Mom is called a doe and the baby is called a fawn.  Sometimes the doe has twins.

In the winter everyone (of the Deer family (called a herd)) likes to hang out together.

Sooo come winter we can have a HUGE group of deer in the yard (MY DOMAINE) or out on the farm itself. 

In the fall hunters hunt the deer, but our deer live with us on the farm, which is private ground, therefore no hunting.  Unless the hunter gets a special ‘private ground’ hunting license.

But our deer…well, our deer seem to disappear about the time the cows show up.  It seems like if we have cows on the farm, the deer migrate someplace else.

Don’t ask me why I don’t know.

Then come Summer—always in Summer the deer come back and hang out in the cornfields, where they build little round beds in the middle and snack on the corn silks.

At night, when it is dark outside, then they silently slip to the yard and SNACK away!

The next big animal is the COWS!  But you already know about the cows.

Since I’m not going to rehash cows, I will tell you about bears who sometimes walk on the farm.

They also like fruit and will come in—but mostly they don’t come because they have lots to eat wherever they live in the canyons. BUT they have come when the drought is so bad all the wild cherries and berries dried up and didn’t produce.

Then we get a bear or two.

Talk about SCARY!  I mean S.C.A.R.Y.!  Mom and Dad call the Division of Wildlife and have an officer come out to tranquilize the bear and take it back up to the Uncompahgre Plateau.

Mom said a couple of years ago (I didn’t live here then, I wasn’t even a thought in my parents’ brains, at that point.) The bear came down in droves.
Then they found the sweet cornfields.

They sent back scouts to let all their bear friends know about the fields full of CANDY!

Mom said we had many, many.  One bear even tried to break into our elderly neighbor’s house.

That was a long-time ago —I don’t think I will have to worry about bear on the farm.

Dad doesn’t plant sweet corn, although our neighbors do.

OH!

I hope I don’t have to worry about the bear!

I HOPE!

Shudder! Shake! DASH TO THE HOUSE!

TLC Cai-Cai