Flat Aggie #2
Flat Aggie Helps out for Cotton Harvest
Last time you saw Flat Aggie, our cotton was still green and had only a few open cotton bolls. Now the cotton has lost all of it's leaves, all the bolls have popped open and the cotton fiber inside them has dried out. That means one thing: It's time to harvest cotton!! That's the best time of the year out here in West Central Texas where we farm at the Southern end of the "Worlds Largest Cotton Patch." That's an area that goes from the Northern Panhandle of Texas to the Concho Valley here in San Angelo. For many years, this has been the largest concentration of cotton acres in the world. Brazil and China are now having some very big areas where they are raising cotton, but we still like to think of our part of Texas as the biggest!
|All the leaves are now dried up and dropped on the ground. The cotton is all dried out by the sun and remains in the dried burr.|
|Flat Aggie's first field of open cotton! Look how white it is!|
|We plant the cotton in rows to make it easy to harvest|
|Close up of a cotton boll.|
Every morning before Daniel gets started harvesting, he has to clean all the lint and dust off of his cotton stripper. That's the machine that he uses to drive along the rows of cotton and it strips the bolls and burrs off the stalk. At this time, the cotton fiber still has cotton seeds attached inside. The seed stays in the fiber until it goes to the cotton gin. I'll take Flat Aggie to the cotton gin next time!
|Flat Aggie helping Daniel Clean his Cotton Stripper|
|This part is called a Row Unit on the Header. These contain the long rubber flaps and long brushes that spin very fast and strip the cotton and burrs right off the stalk as Daniel drives the cotton stripper along the rows of cotton.|
As Daniel drives the Cotton Stripper along the rows of cotton, it goes into the big basket on the back. Once the Cotton Stripper has passed, just the bare stalks are left. Those stalks are dried wood and there are some woodworking artists that make ink pens out of the dried stalks!
|Once the Cotton Stripper has passed, all that is left are the stalks!|
|The Boll Buggy is a BIG basket-trailer that takes the harvested cotton from the Cotton Stripper to the Module Builder. (It's fun to drive!)|
|The big orange box is the Module Builder. The tall arms on top pack the cotton inside into tight blocks of cotton.|
|Cotton going from the Boll Buggy to the box of the Module Builder|
|That's 3 stories tall!|
Once the cotton has been put into the big box of the Module Builder, the person in the cab starts working the levers that move the press, or as we call it, the Tromper, back and forth across the cotton to pack it into the tight block called a Cotton Module.
|The cotton starts out all loose after being unloaded by the Boll Buggy|
|Now it has been packed tightly and is all smooth on top.|
|Flat Aggie sitting the cab of the Module Builder helping me move the Tromper as I pack the cotton.|
The back door of the Module Builder can then be lifted up and the tractor that pulls the Module Builder pulls the big box off of the packed cotton leaving the pretty white Cotton Module!
|This is about the size of your School Bus!!|
|Close up of what the packed cotton looks like in the Cotton Module.|
Flat Aggie #1
Flat Aggie on a Texas Cotton Farm
|This is Daniel showing Flat Aggie one of our cotton fields.|
|See where the map shows brown? That is the desert. Flat Aggie's left hand is about where our cotton farms are located in Texas.|
|Flat Aggie gets to see his first cotton plants! These plants have cotton that is open and ready for harvest.|
The cotton bales are shipped on trucks to a fabric mill right here in Texas in a town called Levelland (it is named Levelland because the land is so flat and level that you can see for miles and miles in all directions!) At the mill, the fibers are spun into thread and the threads are then woven together into denim fabric. The denim is then shipped to a factory in Guatemala, a country in Central America, where the denim is made into blue jeans! You may be wearing a pair of blue jeans made from our cotton right now! Flat Aggie has on his blue jeans to help Daniel in the cotton fields!
|We got Flat Aggie his own cowboy hat to wear while he is in Texas!|
Daniel and I can't wait to show Flat Aggie more about cotton! Harvest time is here and he will get to help Daniel harvest some cotton with his cotton stripper. Flat Aggie will also get to go to the cotton gin and meet our friend, Mina, who is the manager at the cotton gin where we will take our harvested cotton. See you next time out here next to the Chihuahua Desert!