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.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

On the Road Again. Now with more Bert!

The Tumbleweeds are together again, woohoo!

After a week apart, in which Himself and Jas trucked along without me and I spent time with family in Florida, our little Tumbleweed clan is whole once more.  It's nice to be in charge again, or rather have the illusion of being in charge again.

As much as I hate to admit it, I am more Bert than Ernie.  You know how Ernie's all laid back and fun to be around and walks around with a banana in his ear, while Bert and his unibrow have fun organizing a paper clip collection and worries about Ernie's mental health as Ernie walks around with a banana in his ear?  Yeah, that's me.  Minus the unibrow.  

I can hide my Bert-ness most of the time, (if you know me in real life: shut up, yes I can!), but take me out of my own world and plunge me into life surrounded by hordes of people, then the unibrow comes out and I need order.  And by hordes of people I mean anyone other than me.  

Now that I'm 40 and therefore wise *cough* I try to be more accepting of who I am and less focused on what I'm not.  For example, I will never again go into any job that involves selling anything.  I'm not good with people in general and I'm even worse at selling stuff to them.  

Here's a question though:  How does one stay true to oneself while at the same time not be an jerk?  Maybe that's harsh, but I can really be a pain.  Sometimes even I don't like being around me.  Does Bert ever feel this way, I wonder?  

Maybe I'm being unfair.  I don't think there's anything wrong with Bert. After all, I bet he's the one that pays the rent and buys toilet paper.  And it is frustrating to talk to someone with a banana in his ear.  He probably doesn't cuss like a sailor or get mad at the speed of light and stomp off in a fit of anger and put everyone on edge, but then again he is two years older than me.  Maybe there's hope after all.

Enough about me.  Here are some pictures:

I went four-wheeling with my dad in the woods
north of Jacksonville.  I'm always amazed at
how crowded with green Florida is. Such a
contrast to Wyoming.

Spiders the size of Volkswagens are another
thing we don't have in Wyoming.
PS  Next time on Confessions of a Tumbleweed, there will be more tumbleweeding and less confessions, I promise.  

PPS  Also, this was not a cry for help or a subversive tactic to get you to tell me that I'm not really all that bad.  In fact, I am hereby banning anyone to say anything nice about me.

PPPS  Also, Bert and Ernie are not gay; they are only muppets who happen to share a bedroom.  Bert has kind of thing for pigeons anyway.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Half the Tumbleweed I Used To Be

The Tumbleweeds have been torn apart. 

Actually, that sounds more dramatic than it is, but nevertheless, it feels true.

I am spending a few days with my mom in Florida, while Himself and Jasmine drive around the country without me.

As I typed the phrase, "spending some time in Florida", I heard Thurston Howell the Third's voice in my head and I realized no one would feel especially sorry for me having to spend time away from trucking, in the Sunshine State.

But before you picture me lying on a beach with an umbrella drink and Magnum PI waiting on me hand and foot, (I know he was in Hawaii, but shut up, this is my fantasy) let me set the record straight.

First of all, not every inch of Florida is on the coast.  Don't believe everything you see on tv.  I'm in a standard-issue suburb 40 miles inland and I have seen neither hide nor hairy mustache of Magnum.

Secondly, as anyone who knows me in real life can attest, ( I can hear the eye rolling now), I DO NOT LIKE THE HEAT.  The sun is not my friend and the humidity can bite me too.

Thirdly, while my mom is doing way better than she was a few moths ago, she is still very weak and needs lots of help.  She had a stroke last November and that sucks donkey balls even more than the Florida heat.

And finally, I miss Himself.  And Jasmine too.  A little.  I know she is lying curled up in my seat right now, happy to have me out of the way, so I'm not going to get all misty eyed about her.

Wow.  This is turning out to be a very whiny post and I haven't even given you a fun Florida fact.  I only have limited time on this computer so I will leave you with this:

Florida Evans

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Wordless Working Wonder

Jas is wordless.
Himself is the worker.
And I wonder where we are going next.