Monday, September 26, 2011

A Cotton-Pickin Good Blog

As we Tumbleweeds drive along America's highways and byways, we take notice of  the crops.  In middle America it's mainly corn, soy, and wheat.  Idaho has potatoes and beets.  Michigan and Ohio have fruit trees.  New Jersey has angry people.  California has everything in the produce department.

When I think of cotton, I think of the South.  Sweet iced-tea, hushpuppies, and Scarlett O'Hara.  Last week we found cotton in the desert.  Acres and acres of it behind a truck stop near Tuscon, Arizona.

What surprised me even more than finding cotton among the cactus, were the plants themselves.  I have only ever seen cotton from a distance, usually after the "cotton" part of the plant has already exploded from the boll.

These were young plants, I guess and the bolls were hard and green; they looked and felt like limes.  We cut one open and the fiber in it was hard-packed, dense, and sectioned just like a lime.

Cotton™: the doppelgänger of our limes.

Isn't that crazy how much it looks like a lime?  Probably doesn't taste the same in a margarita though!

Cotton and/or Arizona Facts:

* The top crop commodities in Arizona are lettuce, cotton, and hay.

* Arizona grows enough cotton each year to make at least one pair of jeans for every person in America.

* The boll weevil, a beetle that feeds on cotton plants, devastated harvests in the early 1900's but also forced farmers to diversify their crops, ultimately improving their lives.  Proving the old adage that we should fear no weevil.

* US paper money is made of 75% cotton and 25% linen and 90% owned by China.

* The ad campaign, "Cotton™: The fabric of our lives", has been around for 41 years and was the first commodity to be branded.  "Pork: The other white meat" came years later, but they are really missing the boat with crude oil.  Hello?!  Black gold, Texas Tea; even The Beverly Hillbillies had better names for it.

These cotton bales were in Texas.
They are about the size of our trailer

Up close, it looks like the bales are made of
teddy-bear innards.  

 The best 4 minutes and 43 seconds you'll hear today.


  1. I did the math on your percentages and they came too exactly 110%! "fear no weevil" I get it HAHAHAHA!!!

  2. One thing I have always wondered is whether or not it is safe to eat the cotton from those cotton plants. Because my Doctor keeps telling me I need to stop but what does he know.

  3. Glen, #1, NO. And yes, I knew you would!

    Christian, All that schooling makes doctors so know-it-all-ish. I'm sure it's ok, although it took 2 days to get the green stain off my fingers after prying that sucker open!

  4. that where cotton mouth started?

    ((thanks for the video...i could listen to Louis any time!))

  5. Laura, Only after you drink cotton gin!!

  6. Tumbleweed - I'm back! We spent 4 years in Texas in the early 70s and my first view of huge cotton fields "bolled me over" - I still have one of the bolls (with the white fluffy stuff!) that I happened to find by the road ~(;-o)
    Love that word doppelganger - has a nice ring to it. The music is terrific, but as it relates to cotton, those singing it are probably NOT the ones who had the livin' easy in the summertime... Thanks for taking us along.

  7. Welcome back Ladybug! Yeah, I don't think there was anything easy about picking cotton or just living in those days...

    I never knew that a cotton boll would last so long, no wonder it's the fabric of our lives!

    Thanks for riding along

  8. ...just think about that favorite cotton shirt or sheets...I hate to admit it, but I do have a couple of cotton items that old...YES, cotton lasts a loooong time.

  9. Oh Ladybug, I know! There is nothing like GOOD cotton sheets, that's my kind of luxury.


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