Monday, September 23, 2013

The Joys of a Cotton Patch

As I turned off the highway onto the dusty, rutted farm road that warm mid-September morning, I could tell that my timing was perfect.  Before me lay one of the prettiest cotton fields I've ever had the pleasure of seeing up close, and I think my heart actually skipped a beat with anticipation as I got out of my car, my camera dangling at my side. 

The plants were lush and green, and dotted with little white tufts of cotton ...

As I walked amongst the rows, the parched and cracked soil crunched under my feet.

I was so glad I had timed my visit before the field had been defoliated, because it would have looked like this ...

Instead of this ...

Of course, to me, a cotton field is a thing of beauty at any stage, but this one was special because I was able to capture pictures of several stages of its development, from the white and red blooms ... to the bolls  ... and, finally, the pristine white cotton spilling from the bolls.

I was curious about why some of the blooms were white and some were red, and, after doing a little research on Google, I had my answer:  

Flowering is important to cotton production because pollinated flowers form cotton bolls. The bloom process takes several days, and bloom age can be estimated by the bloom characteristics. On the day a flower opens it is white in color. Pollination of that flower usually occurs within a few hours after the white flower opens. 

On the second day the flower will have a pink-like color, and a red color on the third day.

They remind me of little rosebuds ...

Approximately five to seven days after a flower appears it usually dries and falls from the plant exposing the developing boll. 

Occasionally a flower will stay attached to the developing boll for a longer period of time. This is referred to as a bloom tag, as shown in the picture below ...

Cotton is one of my favorite subjects to photograph.  Each and every flower, boll, and tuft of cotton is unique, and I never cease to be amazed and awed when I see them up close through my camera lens.

Another "bloom tag" ...

This field will be defoliated soon and I hope to go back after defoliation and make some more pictures then.  Several years ago, my husband and I visited it after it had been defoliated and took our granddaughter Avery Grace.  She was five then and it was her first time to see cotton up close.  She had a wonderful time discovering the joys of a cotton patch, and the pictures I captured that day are some of my favorites of Avery ...

I hope you are enjoying a preview of Fall weather where you live.  It's supposed to be a little cooler here in Mississippi this week, so I'm planning to venture out with my cameras to see what I can find.


Pat said...

Good Morning Janie,

How nice to be able to visit a cotton field there in Mississippi and to be able to see your sweet little angel granddaughter all through the lens of your camera.

I liked learning about the cotton too.

Your pictures are wonderful as usual.

Happy first full day of Fall.

Pat in Tallahassee

racheld said...

That childhood wonder at the miracle that is cotton, and those little PINK BOOTS!! Didn't you just KVELL the whole day?

This just made my (busy) day---company coming Thursday and much to do. Poirot and I are in for a busy time of it, but he's a delightful companion, and it WILL get done.

moire non,


Stacey said...

So pretty! Cotton is abundant where my dad lives down by Austin. When I was there a month ago the cotton was already harvested and baled. I missed it!

C. M. Designs said...

How interesting and informative you are, Janie. I didn't know about the cotton had flowers to bloom, AND turn different shades before the cotton boll was opened.
The cotton is so snowy white and such a wonder of nature.
Avery sure has grown since this picture was taken.. She's such a pretty little girl.
Enjoy your cooler weather.. We're wearing jackets out in the morning here in Virginia.. It will be around 39 degrees tomorrow (Tues.) morning.

Sue said...

OH Janie, this was so interesting and your photos told the story so well! I have lived in the South all my life and never knew how the flower of a cotton stalk changed into cotton. I too had wondered about the different colors of the flowers, now I know! As I watched these photos unfold, I was thinking of how great God is, and of how he changes things so fast, and beautifully.
What a wonderful experience this was for Avery Grace, and I bet she remembers it fondly.

Our cotton didn't do so well in N.C. because of the excessive rains this year, they tell me cotton likes dry, hot weather. I have hand picked it before on my grandparents farm, and those spurs do hurt. ~smile~
As always a joy to visit you.