Monday, November 21, 2011

'Tis the Year of Cotton

Disclaimer: Before I begin, let me just say that I'm weird and I know it.  I'm sure no one else really cares about the following.

There is a large plot of farmland next to my neighborhood.  And farmland all around my town.  Most years, all summer long we can watch the tobacco grow in all of these fields.  It gets taller and leafier, and leafier and taller, then eventually starts to yellow and wither and dry out, meaning it's ready for harvest. 

But not this year.

Nowhere have I seen any tobacco.  Not on any of the farmland in my town, or in the neighboring town, for that matter.

Where has it gone?

J assures me that farmers rotate their crops from year to year.  This, I knew.  But how is it that all of the farmers everywhere knew that this was not a tobacco year?  And how is it that they all seem to have planted the same crop in its place?

For months, I was going crazy with wonder, trying to figure out what was growing in that field next to my neighborhood.  I drive past it every single day.  Each and every day, I tried to guess what was growing.  I knew very early that it wasn't tobacco.  My mom guessed that maybe it was peanuts, but I looked up some pictures of peanut plants and ruled that out.  I've seen lots of soybeans growing around here, and knew that wasn't right.

Then I saw these pretty pink buds popping out of all the green, and I was driven even more mad.
Eventually, these pretty flowers started to puff, the green leaves began to fall off, and I finally knew what I was driving past every day.

Crappy phone pic of the view through my car window on my way home.  All the puffy cotton.
So I return to my original questions: what happened to the tobacco?  And how did all of the farmers know to grow cotton in its place this year?

I'm intrigued by the ways of the farmers.  And like I said, yes, I know I'm weird.

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