Monday, July 26, 2010

Stripping, Picking, Pulled, and Picked

Farming has changed.
The terms used in farming are beginning to die.
I mean go into your local ACE hardware store and ask for chicken wire and you might get a clerk who knows what that is. Now ask for hardware cloth and you'll be shit out of luck even though they sell it and it is on the shelf labeled "screen" next to the Chicken Wire.
Dragging a twelve foot sack in tall cotton @ 2cents a pound.

Recently I start a project (as though I needed another) to build a model of a two row tractor mounted John Deere Stripper. Now I know that almost no one except those of us who have bent over the cotton rows knows the differences between pulling bolls and picking cotton. (Cotton picking means you reach around the cotton ball and pull the fiber from the cotton burr. Pulling bolls means you cup your fingers behind the cotton burr and pull the whole thing, burr and cotton ball off together). That may seen insignificant but if you've ever picked cotton you know that those burrs stick in the ends of your finger tips and hurt like hell until you develop a callous there a half inch think or so. Boll pulling can be done with gloves on and the sharp burrs don't get you unless you are careless.

Picking cotton out of the burr.

Now in my quest for information about the mechanical cotton harvester know as a two row stripper, I was reminded that mechanical cotton strippers are often confused with mechanical cotton pickers. Now a mechanical cotton picker picks cotton just like the people used to pick cotton in that it picks the cotton fiber out of the burr leaving it intact on the plant and the plant itself green and alive. Cotton picked can be picked more than once as latter flowers bud into cotton bolls.

Mechanical cotton picker of the modern ilk.

Cotton stripping on the other hand strips the plant of all the cotton bolls at the same time pulling off the whole boll, burr, fiber, and all. A plant can only be stripped once. So in order to reduce trash in the stripped cotton the plants are normally defoliated before they are harvest thus eliminating the leaves and the green covering behind the boll itself. A field ready to strip then has been covered with a defoliant and is brown and dead when stripped.

Two row tractor mounted cotton stripper c.a. 1950's.

Thus there are four terms discussed here:
Cotton Stripper
Cotton picker
Picking cotton
Pulling Bolls

A ripe cotton boll.

Test will be next Thursday.
Saw this happen once, just thought I'd add the picture here.

Next lesson: How To Ride a Go Devil.


westcoastdog said...

Good stuff! I have grown cotton, ginned, and picked it...never have stripped it. My hat's off to you building a model.

drlobojo said...

Well, I may have to go find a "live"one somewhere to get the info I need.

drlobojo said...

So, I'm informed that "Cotton Picker" is a racial slur against Blacks. Well I'm from the South, been around cotton harvesting and black people in the fields in my youth and worked in Civil Rights as an adult and I've heard probably hundreds of racial slurs but that is one I missed. For purpose of this blog, cotton picking, is a technique of harvesting and nothing more, and yes, I have picked cotton and pulled bolls and I can't recomend either one.

Anonymous said...

as a child I both picked and pulled cotton. I am white and so were quite a few of the workers. As well as,Mexican and black. The word ``cotton picker '' was not a racial slur. Been there and know that.

Blogger said...

I've just downloaded iStripper, and now I enjoy having the best virtual strippers on my taskbar.