Farming

I don’t know what time it is in your part of the world, but here in northwest Alabama/northeast Mississippi/southern middle Tennessee, it’s cotton-picking time. Cotton is a top crop in Alabama, and the counties in my corner of the state are among the top producers state-wide.  (I looked that up at www.alfafarmers.org just to impress you all with my knowledge.) Cotton’s history in the South is a long and at times not an honorable one, but people all over — white, black, rich, poor — still have memories of back-breaking work in late-fall heat. I remember my maternal grandfather reluctantly sharing his less-than-happy cotton-picking experiences as a boy growing up near Jackson, Mississippi. Today, it’s pretty much huge machines that do the work, from what I can tell. And while it’s true that I know next to nothing about the cotton industry, I do think it’s encouraging that in our wireless nano-techno get-it-done yesterday world, sometime’s it still as simple as putting seeds in the ground … and hoping for the best.

5 thoughts on “Farming

  1. Wow. I remember wagons lined up at this time of year in the late 60’s early 70’s.

    I don’t see too much cotton planted around here (North Texas) anymore and most of the gins have shut down. One that I knew of is a restaurant and another one is an antiques store in some small towns east of Dallas.

    Interesting to see how they bale it now . . .

  2. Great picture..when I lived in Utah there are a lot of Cottonwood trees and when they loose their cotton it looks like it’s snowing. I have never seen so much cotton in one place. Looks like sponge cake!

  3. I remember growing up in the 50’s when cotton was the #1 crop in NW Alabama. The county schools would take a two or three week break in the autumn for “cotton pickin”. This allowed the students to help in harvesting the family’s cotton crop. It looked to be hard, back breaking work. Fortunately I was a town kid and missed out on that event. The cotton picking machines came into use in the late 50’s but the last time I saw a crew hand picking cotton was in the early 80’s near Houston, Mississippi.

  4. Michele — That’s exactly what I thought when we first moved here 14 years ago!

    And thanks, everybody, for sharing your cotton memories — especially your local ones, Jim. Fascinating stuff!

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