Now Wait Just One Cotton Pickin Minute

Cotton tshirtsWhile driving through the Mississippi Delta I discovered that cotton fields are worth pulling over to the side of the road. And getting your feet so stuck in the mud that you truly can’t move your feet. I mean, they weren’t going ANYWHERE. Finally after a great slurping sound there was freedom. And then stuck again. Sigh.

Back to cotton—it’s even so inspiring that you opt to leave Mississippi (can you believe it?) and drive over the state line to Memphis to go to the Cotton Museum, which is fascinating.

Cotton is first a flower, then the boll, then ball. The cycle of life takes 14 weeks. Seeds: large. Cotton: stringy and coarse. The boll holds it like a bloom in a nutshell.

A bale is 500 pounds; it also translates to 681,000 cotton balls or 215 pairs of jeans. The book The Jungle wrote about how everything was used of the pig but the squeal. The same holds true for cotton: medicine, oil, cleanser, oh, and fabrics.

Cotton and the Blues go together because of sharecropping and its undelivered promise of independence. It also bred the middle class: mechanizing farm machinery created an even bigger gap between plantation owner and laborer.

Which crop has inspired you to pull over to get a closer look?

Can’t see the slideshow? Click here.

4 Responses


Why do I enjoy your blog? Because I can learn and laugh at the same time. Relieved to know you were able to extricate yourself from the cotton bog.


It took forever to de-stink my shoes though!


Which crop has inspired me to pull over to get a closer look?

COTTON! I was leaving the rural part of Athens with my niece and nephew and pointing out all the animals and crops we were passing when all our eyes got big and my niece yelled- “What is that?!” It was a field of cotton! I did a 360 turn and we pulled next to the field and got out to explore. It was as fascinating for me as it was for the kids.

These pictures are really fantastic and now I know so much more about the life cycle- thanks so much for the education!


we’re in the zone!

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