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At 2 p.m. it’s 57F/14C with a predicted high of 60F/16C, and I’ve got a long-sleeved T-shirt on under my short sleeved T-shirt, long pants and “footlet” socks on (the kind that don’t show when you wear them with tennis shoes/trainers).   Monday and Tuesday,  it’s supposed to be back up into the 70’s/40’sF (20’s/4+ C) again. I had my first oatmeal/porridge breakfast of the season — the instant kind — in this case a packet with dehydrated cranberry bits and a packet with dehydrated blueberry bits.  The fruit bits rehydrate when you pour on the boiling water.

Last night, my mom and dad and I, and a couple they’ve been friends with for a long time went to Red Lobster for dinner  to celebrate the folks’ 66th wedding anniversary.  (When you do the math, my folks have spent exactly 3/4ths of their lives married to each other. ) Our Red Lobster here recently remodeled their dining rooms, and we were shown to one of their new “extra large” booths that can seat 8.   “Traditional” booths only seat 4 comfortably and are situated such that one end of the booth is up against the wall.  But, these bigger booths are, perforce, open at both ends.  The booths are much more comfortable than their chairs, which have wooden seats.  It was a nice evening.  We got to try Samuel Adams Winter Lager beer, which I had not had before.  It was tasty.  So was the food.  And the company was exceptional.

We’ve had an “OK” cotton crop this year up in the panhandle (about 4.15 million acres, but the yield per acre is way down) and they’re currently in the process of stripping it.  That means that for the past month or so the air has been full of dust, plant particles, cotton particles and gin trash and I’ve been wheezy and sneezy.

When the cotton is ready to harvest, they spray the fields with defoliant to wilt off the foliage.  As the cotton is stripped, the stripper crunches off the seed pod part of the boll, and that part is ejected back onto the ground during the stripping process, so that just cotton goes into the catch basket on the back of the stripper.  From there, it gets dumped  into a “boll buggy” (hear the wind?) and from there into a second machine which presses it into “modules,” which are deposited in the fields and tarped.  However, if the farmer has one of the newer strippers, the stripper itself will compress the stripped cotton into a cylinder, roll it in plastic and deposit it in the field (which does away with the need for boll buggies and module builders).  (BTW, one of these new type machines goes for around $580,000/£368,0000.  Cotton is big business out here.)  I’ll be glad when they get it all ginned and the dust can settle.  During the last couple of years, we’ve been in “100-year drought” conditions, although we got more rain this year than we did last year — a lot of the farmers didn’t even make a crop last year.  Maybe we’ll get more rain next year.

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