Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Cotton Tour that wasn't

We were up early so that we could  go on a cotton tour.   We found the tour starting point, only to learn that the cotton plants were too green to harvest. (When the mechanical cotton picker rubs on the green leaves, it picks up a green residue which then rubs onto the white cotton.  The stained cotton is thus graded poorer verses a pure white cotton fiber.)  Thus, no cotton tour today.

Perhaps I need to tell you about the Visitor's Center where the Cotton Tour was to begin.  It is located adjacent to a small town that has a divided 4 lane highway for main street (with lots of pot holes).  Very few of the streets are paved.  In other words, there isn't much money in the town.

With no Cotton Tour, we were leaving the building and noticed a fellow out on the sidewalk talking like he knew much of the local background.   So we decided to stick around and listen for a while. When there was a break and he had been talking about irrigation, I asked him how deep the water table was or is?   It turns out that when the first farmers showed up in the area, the water table was down about 40 feet.  However, today the water table is typically down 800 feet.  (To pump water from 800 feet down costs lots of money, thus we see lots of abandoned irrigation fields.)

As we listened, he started to tell us about the schools that were on the visitor center grounds.  There were two schools on the grounds, one school for the Anglos and Hispanics  and the other school for the blacks.  Each school had their own privy, the white kids had indoor facilities while the black kids had to use an outdoor privy.  What was interesting was that the class schedule was such that recess was at the same time so that all of the kids could play together.

In the white kids school, there were showers in both bathrooms The standard morning was for the kids to be inspected by the school nurse for cleanliness.  If she felt that a kid was dirty,  she sent them to the showers.   (His comment was that most of the homes had very little water, and the kids bathed in the irrigation ditch.)  The black kids school was about the size of a  country school and made out of wood.   The white kids school was made out of brick and concrete and was about twice the black school size.  Both schools were built in the late 30s.

Our speaker was a local volunteer who enjoyed telling everyone what it was like way back when.  (He had lived in the area all of his life.)  The two schools were being refurbished and would be used as the town museum.  So the Visitor's Center was actually a mobile home on the museum grounds.

Back at the RV park, we did a few things and waited for 10 tons of gravel to be delivered for our lot.  In Iowa, the gravel would be very wet, but not so here in Arizona.  When he dumped the gravel, there was a big cloud of dust created.   I tried to water it down and finally gave up.  Later in the week, the maintenance man is bringing the tractor and bucket to spread the gravel out.  It would take me a month or longer to do it with a wheel barrow.  Isn't technology great?

The Old Farmer's Advice:  A bumblebee is considerably faster than an International Tractor.


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