Sunday, October 2, 2005

cotton pickin' time

I hear a familiar sound...the drone of the cotton picker. Farmer Joey is making the first pass around the field across the road. His rounds there are the culmination of an entire growing season that started in the spring and meandered through a hot hot summer where scouts on four wheelers did their inspections on schedule to check the traps for pests that feed on Tennessee humidity.

It's amazing how little I know about farming, considering that I've spent most of my life on one. Many of my memories are about the cattle and the lengths that my Daddy has gone to care for them. He and my brother put numbered tags on their ears and know them all at a glance by name or character. Last week was pregnancy check time in preparation for the birthing season. There's been many a night in my childhood that Daddy would put on his insulated coveralls and go out into a snowy pasture to rescue a Mama cow in distress with the birthing, chains and all. These days they are bred to deliver mostly BEFORE January so the midwife can sleep all night. He's gettin' too old for that middle of the night cow duty.

That cold seems a long way off right now with temps still close to 90. It will come quickly, though. Tennessee is right smack in the middle of the best and the worst of each and every season. I intend to enjoy this one for all it's worth. One never knows when she will see the next one turn the corner.cotton trailerWhen we were kids, my brothers liked to play in the trailers full of cotton. One day somebody decided to set fire to the stuff and see what happened. I didn't see it, but the story goes that Bubba ran for help to rescue younger brother from the flames. They also rode on the tractor with Daddy when he put hay out for the cattle or went out to check on things. My daughter has done the same tractor ride with her G'daddy. It's in our blood I reckon.
high cotton
God bless American farmers for keeping on keepin' on when imports are cheaper and the weather is their worst enemy. Soybeans are next on the agenda. Their golden stalks are drying up just right for harvest '05.

I'll keep ya posted.

3 comments:

Idgie @ the "Dew" said...

Makes me want to be there!

I admire farmers - so much hard work and sometimes so little payoff.

(I really want to drive a tractor too!)

Steve said...

It's sad; we used to see cotton and tobbaco all the way from Charlotte down to Myrtle Beach when we'd go down for summer vacation as kids. Now it's all soybeans. Kind of a sad passing. Good story btw.

nina said...

I also live in Tennessee and went to Birmingham this weekend - down I-65. All along I-65 around the Athens area cotton was EVERYWHERE and they are "picking" it. I imagine it's still a lot of hard work, even with the cotton-pinkin' machines.