I will never

by Katie on September 14, 2010

These are three words Brandon has been gnawing on all summer, ever since he officially decided to plant cotton.

Since we started out, any mention of us growing cotton was met with something akin to, “No way. I will never grow that stuff. I have no interest in being a cotton farmer. I don’t like the idea of being dependent upon the world market. Nope, not doing it.”

But I guess he never planned on cotton prices reaching and exceeding the 80 cent mark, while everything else moved in the opposite direction either.

So now, after two years of denying it would ever happen, Brandon has turned into a regular old cotton farmer.

Let me rephrase that. I have turned into a regular old cotton farmer.

Because the field where we planted cotton (behind our barley)? Might as well have my name all over it. Brandon usually makes about four to six trips out during each irrigation, one each night we have water to make the change that falls between 11pm and 3am — the hours I refuse to be on the ditch bank alone.

Every other water change, ditch set-up and weed spraying? Falls on me.

Which has been slightly problematic for the simple fact that I have zero experience with growing cotton. Or even looking at cotton, for that matter. It’s not something you grow in the swamps of Southeast Texas.

So while I’m making multiple trips out to the field each day, Brandon is always asking how it’s looking, if it needs water faster, if it might be too hot.

And since I really have no idea what I’m looking for, my response has usually been something like, “It looks pretty happy today,” or “Most of it looked bright green and the leaves seem perky, not all turned down,” or “Where we haven’t put the water yet, it’s getting kind of dark green and wilty-looking. Does that mean it’s sad?”

I’m fairly confident in saying he probably isn’t used to hearing words like “happy,” “sad,” and “perky” used to describe how a crop is doing.

I haven’t really enjoyed the stuff all that much, mostly because it has taken a ton of water, which means I have had to make a ton of trips back and forth to the field, using a ton of gas, for a ton of days this summer. Oh yeah, and there’s no shade tree out there. Which makes it mildly unpleasant to sit and wait on some water to finish when it’s 117 out.

But regardless of my feelings on our cotton, and in spite of Brandon’s claims that he would never grow the stuff, I’d say we are officially in the cotton business now. Yesterday, I found our first cotton boll while walking through the plants. And Brandon, who I knew wouldn’t be able to resist getting wrapped up in the market, constantly checking current prices and the futures boards, has already sold some of next year’s crop.

So today’s farming lesson? In this industry, it is probably unwise to boldly proclaim you will never do something. Because when you have to eat those words? You catch a lot of grief. Ask Brandon.

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