Sunday, June 26, 2011

Costly Cotton/Contented Cows

I was out and about a little yesterday, and thought I'd share a few photographs of what is going on around the place.  With our never ending need for food and fibre production, it seems there is always something being planted or harvested.  Whilst some wheat is still being planted, some of the local cotton crops are almost harvested.

I know many people lament the cost of their embroidery threads, but bear in mind that cotton is a trial to grow.  From the moment it goes into the ground, to the time it ends up in your needle, I just hate to think of the costs involved.  This is one crop ready for the picker.  In it's life cycle, it's been sprayed with pesticides on a regular basis, not to mention the various herbicides needed to arrest weed growth.  Goodness, it's even been sprayed with a defoliant to get it to this stage, ie ensuring the plant is dead and dry enough for the picker to work properly.

After it's been harvested, it is mechanically moulded into what we call a 'module'.  These are transported by road transport to the various cotton gins in the area.  You can see the 'harvested' bushes in the right of the frame.  There still seems to be quite a deal of cotton left - perhaps the picker wasn't working properly [??].

If you look closely at the solid mass you can see just how dirty it is.  Again, I hate to think how many processes it has to go through to make it 'worthy' for our use.  I've never had the opportunity to go to a cotton gin to see what happens to it.  I am by no means a person who is opposed to these methods, but I do think about what it takes for crops to be produced.  I can only say that cotton seems to be an environmental nightmare - damned if you do, damned if you don't!!!    Love it or loathe it, we all need it.

On a brighter note, I noticed the neighbour's lovely Hereford cows were back.  This little dam is really close to the road, so I took the chance to snap some of them as they socialized around 'the watering hole'.  You can see a wheat crop in the background.

Thankfully, with grass fed beef production, the need for chemicals and handling are kept to a minimum.  I never tire of seeing 'white faces'.  With all the breeds we have these days, the Hereford is still one of my favourites.  These dears are enjoying their days in the sun.  I imagine there will be some lovely little white faced calves in the Spring, can't wait.  The life cycle just keeps on keeping on.

I hope these few photographs are of interest to some.  I have always lived on the land, and I'm still extremely interested in how things grow!!


sewnbysaliba said...

Great post Linda - I never considered how much time, money and effort goes into a single skein of thread!!

Juliettecherry said...

I have never thought about the whole process of cotton production either. Also been a bit guilty about feeling our DMC thread is too expensive. Now you have told us about it's intensive culture it seems reasonable.

Those Herefords look so peaceful, I love cows too, but my especial favourite is alpacas. Later this summer a local farm is having an open day which I am going to visit. I'll be very tempted to buy wool, I know, but the only alpaca cardigan I have is itchy.

DIAN said...

Linda, thanks again for these great pics. My father-in-law worked in a cotton gin many years ago when he and my mother-in-law were working their way around Australia.

The Herefords are such gorgeous looking beasts: they are my favourites too.

As for the cotton, I believe almost everything we consume has its costs. All the more reason to recycle when we can.

Nancy Medina said...

Linda, what a great post, having grown up on a farm I really enjoyed your cow pictures, too! Thanks for visiting my blog and for your encouraging words. Warmest regards from across the world!

fabriquefantastique said...

I do indeed, find it very interesting and would love to visit a cotton farm. A few years ago I stayed on a sheep farm in NZ and I will never complained about the price of wool again.

Frances Leate said...

My favourite batting is Matilda's Own 100% cotton and I believe the cotton is grown in Queensland so I hope the farmers keep up the good work. Take care.

Jenny said...

Thanks for such a great post, so interesting & informative. I might be a city slicker now but have lived on the land in the past & know only too well how tough it can be out there. Hats off to all the farmers, may you all have a great year. I hear the price of cotton is good now,hope it stays that way for you.

Karyn said...

I must admit i too had never thought of how much work is involved in making cotton. i just enjoy the final product!
I love cows; being on the edge of town we can hear them if the local farmer has brought them up to the paddocks close by. i love hearing them. On saying that though; my children are appaled that I very occasionally wind down my car windows when driving to moo at them in the paddocks; teenagers have no sense of fun!!LOL!!!

Radka said...

Interesting post, Linda, as always. It is good to be reminded sometimes where the thing we use come from and how much work goes into their production. I see a lot of cattle around here, but cotton comes from "somewhere else", so it nice to see how it is grown and harvested.

Dianne said...

Linda, A very thought provoking post. We do forget sometimes how much processing may go into an individual item. Di.

N. Maria said...

I loved the pictures! I wish I had some of that cotton to spin on my Charkha that I will have in October.
I agree with you about the Herefords....they are true beef cattle!