Monday, October 4, 2010

FALL IS IN THE EYES OF THE BEHOLDER

The signs of Fall are different for people all  over  the  world. Although I love the ancient Walnut Tree in front of our office, Fall brings the loss of walnuts from the tree, which is annoying and can pose a hazard to one’s health! 

This tree is home to a lot of wildlife.  I know you are not going to believe me, but I’m tellin’ ya, the squirrels throw the walnuts at people who walk under this tree!   Walnuts are big!  Walking under this tree in the Fall can be dangerous, and you sure don’t want to park your car anywhere near the tree! (Those squirrels have been known to pitch one of those walnuts a good distance!)

I think the production cycle of this tree is only about every other year. This year, it looks like we will not have the bumper crop of walnuts that we had last year (when you could barely walk in the yard without twisting an ankle, because there were giant walnuts everywhere).  They fall before they are ripe enough to crack, and there are a LOT of very large bags of walnuts harvested from our office yard.  We give most of them away, or somebody comes by and helps themselves to a bag or two before they are ripe enough to eat.

WINDOW

We have had strangers come into our office and offer to pay us to allow them to cut down this Walnut Tree and take the wood from it.  They tell us that with all of the ivy and other growth on the trunk, the tree will not survive.  That ivy has been there for more years than anyone can remember, so we aren’t too worried about it killing the tree.  This ivy has been used at weddings and graduation ceremonies in town.  As you can see, we have plenty to share!

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Since I grew up here in cotton country, fields of ready-to-be-picked cotton always signal the coming of Fall.  002 When I was a child, our town had a Cotton Pickin' Contest every Fall.  A cash prize was awarded to the person who picked the most cotton.  I only entered the contest one time, and I knew that no amount of money would make me want to pick cotton for a living!  At that time, the cotton was hand-picked by hired labor.  It was carried to the gins on open trailers.  The front yard of our home often looked like it had snowed, as all of the cotton trailers lost some of their cotton on the way to the cotton gin.  I, along with other neighborhood children, spent many Fall days trying to bag up cotton from the yard.  We just knew we were going to take it to the gin and make a lot of money.  My Daddy knew we were cleaning up his yard without being paid, so I’m sure he was sorry when we matured enough to realize that our sack of cotton would not make us rich.   cotton grwng to macine

These days, when I see the cotton picking machinery out in the fields, I know it is Fall.  Machines now pick the cotton and package it into huge rectangular modules.  The cotton modules are rolled by mechanical rollers into covered trucks for delivery to the gin.  (I kind of miss the “snow” covered lawns.)

LOADING BAIL

Of course, in our ever-changing world, even cotton farming is still changing.  The newest technology (at least in my part of the cotton-growing world) are machines that wrap the cotton into a circular module for delivery to the gin.

RND BAILER MOS

The sight of cotton modules lined up waiting to be ginned always makes me think of football games, bonfires, and high school letter jackets.  Of course, ginning has come a long way since I was a child (heck, I’ll just say it like it is.  Everything has come a long way since I was a child!)  In the Fall, the whooshing sounds of the cotton gins could be heard day and night all over town.  “Nowadays” (as my granddaddy used to say) the cotton is ginned silently.modules

Geese, flocking to a pond in the evenings, make me think of the arrival of cold weather.

GEESE MOS

Does sunlight sparkle on the water more in the Fall?

sprklng wtr

Is the sky more blue; are the clouds more white and fluffy in the Fall?

cloud mos

Are sunsets more spectacular in the Fall?  A gorgeous sunset always makes me think of evening trips to the river (I live on the Mississippi River) for hot dog and marshmallow roasts.

sunset

I am joining Susan at A Southern Daydreamer for Outdoor Wednesday,

 

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and Shannon at A Southern Belle with Northern Roots for Story Tellers We Remember Wednesdays.

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It’s a good thing I know where the “s” is on my keyboard!  Thank you to these Southern hostesses, Susan and Shannon for hosting these  fun Wednesday events. 

I’m also linking to Seasonal Sundays at The Tablescaper

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Go check out all of the links at these fun blogs.

I loved having you stop by for a visit.  I hope you’ll come back often. laurie

29 comments:

Terra said...

This is a fun medley of fall thoughts and photos. I admire your giant and aged walnut tree and hope it lives another 100 years. Trees like that vibrate with strength, when you place your hand upon the bark. Do you read the comic strip Mutts? It is very cute and often has squirrels in trees dropping acorns at people; you would definitely smile at their antics and could relate!

carolinajewel said...

I know what you mean about the squirrels! And they also chuckle with laughter when they hit something!!! Love all your memories. We have lots of cotton aka "Southern Snow" here too!

middle child said...

You live in beauty.

Happy To Be/ Gl♥ria said...

Girl I would shoot anyone that tried to cut down that awesome tree...It takes years to grow a beauty like that...I loved the story of the cotton gins..as we don't have much cotton up here on my mountain top ha ha!! Hope all is well with you my Dear friend...still sleeping with the BOSS...ha ha!! Hugs and smiles Gl♥ria

Olive Cooper said...

I recently drove through cotton fields in Georgia. I love to wear cotton. This was a lovely post Laurie! ♥O

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

Laurie, this is such a wonderful post. When I was a kid I grew up around cotton too and my uncle ran the Gin. I always thought it was such fun to go visit. Love your tree too and walnuts are my favorite nut. Your pictures are so wonderful and I love how you describe fall. Fabulous. Hugs, Marty

Cindy (Applestone Cottage) said...

Hi Laurie,
I learned a lot from your wonderful post! No cotton fields near me so I am intrigued!
For us, it's the cranberry harvest!
Your pics are amazing and that walnut tree story and the squirrels, now come on are you pulling my leg? hehe.
Oh, and we have a new baby over here, come see her pics when you can!
Hugs,
Cindy

Sarah said...

Laurie, I grew up in cotton country too. My uncles were cotton farmers, so I definitely remember when cotton was picked by hand. It was hard work. I couldn't do it. The summer before my senior year, I was hired as a cotton buyer. I bought cotton off the green card from the local farmers. It was a very interesting and unusual job to say the least. ;-)
Beautiful photos! ~ Sarah

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

Having grown up in a farming community I really loved these photo's.

Let me know if you need step by step help with the "followers" issue. :)

Glenda/MidSouth said...

YES!! I know all about the squirrels and the nut trees, only I have to deal with a hickory nut tree! :( I can't for the life of me understand why anyone would allow one of those trees grow. One hangs over my courtyard and a certain time of the year it is very unhealthy to walk outside without a hard hat.
I love the clear dark blue sky, fluffy clouds, pumpkins and mums this time of the year.
Enjoy your week.

Debbie said...

Wonderful pictures, Laurie! I especially love the sunset one at the end. I've been eyeballing our cotton on my country commute, waiting for it to turn into a field of beautiful Georgia snow.

I love it.

I'm so glad you have protected that walnut tree from the choppers. It has life left yet! We don't have walnuts around here. Here... it's pecans.

xinex said...

Great post, Laurie. Wow! That tree really does have a lot of ivy! Iguess I am not out enough cause I haven't seen the cottons around...Chrostine

KarenHarveyCox said...

Oh Laurie,
What a fabulous post. When you write, I get lost in your words. They create word pictures, and I feel lost in your story. What a beautiful childhood you must have had, and because the idea of fields of cotton is so foreign to me, being from the Northeast, I find it fascinating. Your photographs are lovely.

That tree is amazing, we don't have trees like that up North that I know of, and I adore that ivy growing around the tree trunk.

I received your e-mail. You are such a delight Laurie. I appreciate your support always, and I value our friendship. I am glad that you liked the little extras.

Have a beautiful evening.
Karen

Sonya@Beyond the Screen Door said...

What a beautiful collection of fall pictures to trigger our visual memories! Thanks for sharing! LOVE that tree!

Chari at Happy To Design said...

Hi Laurie...

I loved reading about what Fall means to you, my friend! Ohhh my goodness...I just about busted a gut laughing when you were telling about the squirrels throwing walnuts! I guess it may not be so funny if you are the target, but nevertheless...still funny! Hehe! You know, I don't know if I have ever seen a walnut tree in person. Your tree is humongous!!! I'm curious, if the walnuts aren't ripe when they fall on the ground...will they ripen eventually? And...do you have to let them ripen before you crack and can eat them? I love walnuts and use them for most of my baking, etc.

I can relate about cotton and fall...living in south Texas...there was alot of cotton grown. Now that I am in Colorado...the wheat harvest is what signals that autumn has arrived! I love all the countryside scenery where we live...in the autumn. The rolling hills are golden with wheat and grass. There are so many hay fields. I just love seeing the big round bales of hay sitting in the fields! I guess I really am a country girl! These are the things that warm heart! Well dear friend, I really enjoyed your photos and story! Ohhh...I especially loved your sunset photo...it's magnificent!!!

Thanks for stopping by and taking a peek at my autumn place setting, Girlfriend! I always enjoy our visits...and your sweet notes!!!

Warmest autumn wishes!
Love ya,
Chari

shannon i olson said...

Wonderful pictures and memories! I have never picked cotton but my step mom plants a couple plants in her garden from time to time. I have seen it when visiting Mississippi and it is beautiful. Isn't it fun how we all thought we would get rich when were kids!
I do love the walnut tree and your sunset photos are so relaxing, I could just stare at them for hours! thank you for participating in Story tellers!!!

eileeninmd said...

Oh NO, I hope they do not cut down that beautiful tree. The sunset shots are gorgeous. Great post and photos.

Kathleen said...

Did you know that Susan of OW is really a Connecticut Yankee? Really, it's true!
Amazing tree, and I loved your cotton pickin story! Did you know Eli Whitney? LOL
Do you use your walnuts like BJ uses her pecans? Walnuts have become so expensive!

Thoughtfully blended hearts said...

You have some gorgeous photos here !!! I loved seeing your signs of fall and I agree...cotton picking time is definitely fall...
I also live close to the Mississippi...less than ten miles!!!

Happy Cottage Quilter said...

Wow those are some amazing pictures!

Jocelyn
http://justalittlesouthernhospitality.blogspot.com/

Light and Voices said...

Enjoyed reading your blog and looking at the pictures that you posted for Outdoor Wednesday this week.
Joyce M

Donnie said...

What lovely photo's. I'll never turn my back on a squirrel again. We're going to Cotton Ginning Days in Dallas NC this weekend where my son will be demonstrating blacksmithing. Very interesting post.

katskraps4kids said...

Just stopping by to say thanks for your comment.

I read this and honestly it just brought tears to my eyes because it reminded me of my granny (who passed a while back)talking about the "olden days" and picking cotton and just all of it. you are such a gifted writer and I love this post!

I wish I had recorded some of my grandma's stories. thanks for helping me remember.

Linda said...

Great post! That is one big walnut tree...I would be the one picking up all those walnuts to eat...I love them! We have walnut groves nearby and I love getting the fresh off the tree walnuts! Thanks for sharing!

Jean said...

Wonderful fall memories and pictures! I've never been to cotton country but you do make me want to come. Thanks for sharing! Jean

Lisa said...

I love all your beautiful fall pics! The walnut tree is magnificent. I can't believe anyone would want to cut it down. I think the ivy growing on it is lovely and I know all the brides do too.:)

lulumusing said...

What you said about clouds and sunsets in the fall is definitely true. The other day I was fascinated by the clouds and took oodles of pictures of them while we were boating. Some will probably show up on a blog one of these days!

Brenda Kula said...

That is certainly one big tree! I hadn't thought about it before. But I guess walnuts falling might hurt if you got hit in the head!
Brenda

The Tablescaper said...

Such glory. What an amazing tree.

Thanks so much for being a part of Seasonal Sundays. Sorry I'm so late getting around to everyone, but it was a VERY busy weekend.

- The Tablescaper