Saturday, June 26, 2010

Even Though You're Wearing Those Uptown High Heels...

"...I can tell from your giant step, you been walkin' through the cotton fields..."

Why is Max smiling?

He's smiling because we're getting a whole new crop planted in our back field this year!

And because he has nothing else to smile about. He's a demised feline, for goodness sake.

Every year I wait with bated breath (not baited, that would be pretty gross) to see what crop will be planted in that field.

This year, as you might have guessed from my quote, it's cotton!

Usually it's something boring like soybean. I mean really. Who cares about a tofu-field?

One year we did get corn! I felt like I was in a Stephen King movie. More than one Stephen King movie has some sort of evil field of corn in it.

Since Chuck's had this house though (which is about 7 years now), there has never been cotton. Guess it's about time in the ol' crop rotation to plant something different. Because it seems that every farmer's field in the area (probably owned by the same people) has cotton growing in it. And it seems to be doing way better in this drought than anything else is. Which is weird, because from what I understand, it usually requires a lot of water to grow.

Why do I like cotton so much? When September rolls around, it will look like a bed of snow has fallen all over the field. Like this one would have looked like if we'd waited a little while longer to take a picture of it. This one was on the way to Greenville...Chuck's hair was just growing in after the chemo. :)

I didn't even realize where cotton came from until a few years ago. Cotton growing on a plant?? Pish tosh! And I thought a Cotton Gin was a fancy drink!

No, not really. I just never really thought about where cotton came from. Being from Canada, it's weird to see something that I use to take my nail polish off with just growing on a plant outside my backyard.

Some fun facts about cotton:

~Cotton's been grown for over 5,000 years.

~The top cotton producing nation is China.

~Pesticides are heavily used with cotton. I guess to keep out these nasty little creatures, called boll weevils.

They will eat the hell out of a cotton crop. They entered from Mexico in 1892 (insert illegal immigration joke here), and caused a whole mess of destruction because they had no natural predators to take care of them. A huge effort to eradicate them came in the late 1970's, with advent of new types of pesticides.

~The English word “cotton" comes from the Arabic word qutun or kutun.

~US paper currency is 75% cotton.

~Cotton production drove the slave trade in the US (ok, so they're not all 'fun' facts). That's one of the reasons that the South was trying to hold on to slavery...they were convinced that the Southern economy would crash without slave labour to pick, gin and bale the cotton. With the invention of Eli Whitney's cotton gin in 1793 (which was really an 'improvement' and not an 'invention', there were simple cotton gin-esque implements in India about 1,500 years ago), more cotton could be refined at a faster rate. So they needed more and more slaves to meet demand. Nasty, ugly, vicious cycle. Thank goodness humanity eventually won out over money.

~Cotton is a member of the Mallow family of plants.

~The leading cotton-producing states are Texas, California, Georgia, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Arizona.

~ Development of synthetic fibers (especially polyester) hurt the cotton growing industry for awhile, with high demand from consumers starting in the 1960's.

That's right! That leisure suit you bought in 1976 was keepin' cotton down!

Incidentally, the world's first polyester factory is near here, just outside of Kinston, NC. We drive past it every time Chuck needs to go to a cancer appointment in Greenville. It was opened in 1953 by the DuPont family.

While I was taking pictures of the field this morning, a fire ant stung me right beneath my toenail. You can see the poison inching it's way down my whole foot in a red and puffy hurts like a mofo! My skin reacts strongly to minor insect stings.

I really suffer for my art.

Hm....someone needs a pedicuuuuure!

My title and song quote come from an old song that was remade by Old Crow Medicine Show that's called "Down Home Girl". I saw them live in early May...even if you're not a huge fan of this type of music, they put on a rollicking good show. And if you're not a fan of this're crazy.

'Cause it's awesome.

Watch this video. Mistress Kyna commands it.


Curbstone Valley Farm said...

I actually laughed out loud at 'free range tofu'! The fact that pesticides are so heavily used in cotton fields I'm guessing is why organic cotton is so much more expensive, to make up for losses to the evil weevils (sounds like a sinister band name LOL). So sorry about the fire ant looks painful. So glad we don't have those here. Rattlesnakes and scorpions are enough!

Kimberly said...

Hey, Kyna. Your toe makes my feet hurt. Those damn ants! Truly my enemy!! My feet are scarred from the numerous bites.
The cotton fields are so interesting. I'm very used to corn and soy, but have never seen cotton in the ground. What fun!

GardenJoy4Me said...

Kyna girl ! I'm sorry I haven't been by lately .. the painting reno and out right exhaustion (aka laziness ? LOL) .. you have made me laugh so much in your posts and this one is a real snort giggle one for sure .. except for the toe sting thing .. maybe you should go to ER ? it looks PAINFULL !!
Do you watch Nurse Jackie ? .. too funny, you have to ! .. and being more "south" you have to watch True Blood right ? darn funny !
Actually .. I think you should have your own show could wallop David Letterman any night .. and all the rest of the night crew .. and since you are an insomniac (spelling .. go figure ?) the timing would be perfect for you .. then Chuck could do crowd control over your fans .. he would be great ! and since he is your hubby he wouldn't go on strike or ask for an obscene pay raise .. or is that the other way around ? I'm in Duh ? land yet again .. paint fumes ??
That is a lot of information on cotton girl .. I saw some once on a twig .. enough said ? LOL
Joy .. ;-)
PS Perfectomundo musico !

pamsenglishgarden said...

Kyna, You are TOO funny! I agree with Joy, you should have your own show.

We have corn planted in the fields around us this year ... I refuse to let you scare me!

Take good care of that toe! Pam

Turling said...

Always like a good gin joke. I did run out today. Pity. Me mum lives in Goodyear, Arizona. So named, because that's where the Goodyear tire company used to grow their cotton to put in their tires. Now, it's strip malls and houses that all look the same.

Kyna said...

CVF I think I'm going to get a T-shirt made! The Evil Weevils! I'll worry about finding band members later...:D We have rattlesnakes, but no scorpions thank goodness O_O

Kimberly: Yep, that's the reason I never go in my yard barefoot. They just get on you so quickly, and you don't feel them till they've got the chomp on ya :(

Joy: Haha, I don't think it's quite bad enough to go to ER. My toe is just really stiff and has nasty nodule on it this morning :)
I do watch Nurse Jackie (have to laugh at the boob-grabber LOL), and I'm totally obsessed with True Blood! :D Thanks for the compliment about me having my own show, I tried to picture it LOL...Chelsea Handler would probably come and slash my tires :P

Pam: Thanks for seconding the compliment, you guys are too nice to me lol And don't worry, I think Mr. King will stay put in that cornfield...maybe...O_O..better lock your door, on second thought!

Turling: You've put me in the mood for a gin and tonic! Well, later on. It's only 8:22am. Little early. Unless I'm on vacation. Which I'm not :( When you said that thing about Arizona, the theme song from 'Weeds' started drifting through my

Heather said...

Ah Kyna - i just love your posts! Cotton is cool - interesting stuff you wrote. Oh and I'm hot for the polyester guy......

Diana (Di) said...

Kyna, funny lady who makes me laugh. I do hope Chuck is doing well. I would tell you to have a lovely weekend, but there is little concern that you are not. ;)

Elephant's Eye said...

The next Diana. Green Diana always chose cotton. Because it is natural fibre, right? Then I read they invented GM cotton because it is one of the most heavily poisoned crops. So is your field GM or poisoned? Another 'not fun fact' to add to your interesting story. I'll pass on the music, doesn't look like me ;-(

debsgarden said...

What a fun post! I enjoyed reading all the cotton facts, and thanks for the video. Nothing like that down home music! And please take care of you toe - don't let infection set in!

Floridagirl said...

Kyna, you are crazy! Glad you are looking forward to that cotton crop. And that living in the South next to a cotton field has given you a rather complete education on the topic.

Wow! That ant really did get you!

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

I really didn't know much about cotton before either. It doesn't seem like something that would come off of a plant. Glad we don't get those fire ants here, that bite looks painful.

Rainforest Gardener said...

I don't know if you've heard of the British author Gavin pretor-Pinney, but his writing style is very similar to yours. He writes the cloudspotters guide and "the wave watcher's companion" and he also has hilariously random asides even when explaining physics or meteorology.
Its funny, though I've lived in the south for 11 years I've never seen a ripe field of cotton before. Theres a book on the history of cotton I've been meaning to read.

Al said...

How unfortunate we are posting about ant stings at the same time!

Rosey said...


The fabric of our lives.

Good post about cotton. I am wearing it today and most days. I loved the suit picture, nice and groovy.
Sure hope your toe heals quickly. ouch.

Noelle said...

Well, I just love seeing cotton fields. The Indian reservations that surround us grow cotton each year. I was surprised about the different things that I learned about cotton from your post. I am very glad that cotton has regained it's popularity over polyester ;-)

Laura said...

great post! I'm curious to see your cotton growth. It blows my mind that it comes from a plant!

Laurrie said...

As a northerner, like you, I couldn't imagine cotton as a real live growing plant. Fascinating facts! I expect to see a post on what you are able to weave (spin? loom? knit? how is cotton turned into cloth?) from some of the fluffy stuff you manage to illegally harvest from that back field.

The Idiot Gardener said...

I don't know nothing about cotton (apart from those facts I just read), but I do know this; the leisure suit is right for a comeback! I fancy a lime green one. Next time I'm in Asia I'll have a tailor run me one up!