Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Planting Cotton

I love to see cotton growing in the field. I like it even better when the blooms start to pop open to reveal the pure white cotton in the pod. It is just one of the prettiest things in this world to me. I guess it is because I am Southern. I enjoy reading about the things of the Civil War period and the women in that time. Parties, hoop skirts, big hats, amazing food and ladies being ladies. Everyone had been taught good manners and how to act in public. They certainly didn't wear white shoes before Easter and never after Labor Day. It wasn't "fittin".

What I would not have enjoyed during that time was no air conditioning, no washers and dryers and no stove and refrigerator. Times were harder then than I could possibly know.

I love to make wreaths out of cotton. Every year I try to find the owner of a cotton field and beg for some cotton from his field. So far, every one I have asked has let me invade their crop.
Since I have had several people wanting to buy wreaths from me and since I would feel guilty if I begged people for cotton for free and then sold it for profit, Jerry and I decided that this year we would plant our own cotton crop. Bobby Dutton, a good friend of ours, generously loaned us about 1/2 an acre of his land to plant cotton.

There were several challanges to planting this field. First, we had to have a tractor. We were blessed to turn Leah's college car into a 1959 Farmall tractor. Jerry has worked hard to get the tractor into good condition to make this crop.

Second, you have to have seed to plant. Have you priced cotton seed lately? The seed is $500.00 for 50 pounds! We were not expecting it to be so much. We asked the guy at the Co-op if there was any cotton seed that was a little cheaper. He told us about cotton lint seed. What makes cotton lint seed so cheap is that it hasn't been hulled. It is cotton seed right out of the plant. Farmers who plant large amounts of cotton use stainless steel planters to put the seed in
the ground. This cotton lint seed won't go through the planter, so it is cheap! We bought 10 pounds for $10.00!

The first round of seed came up, but we didn't get the crop we wanted. So last week, Jerry plowed under the few plants we got and we replanted.

We live in a small town and this cotton crop was been the talk at the liar's table at Dutton's Market. We were trying to get the field replanted without any one knowing but we were "caught" by Bobby Dutton in the act. We haven't been back to check on it yet because it takes it about a week to break through the ground and it is not time yet.

Planting cotton by hand is back breaking work. I am sure that using the hoe in that patch will also hurt my back. I know, however, the end result will be worth it.


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