The cotton stands tall and regal in the whitewashed fields as the farmers prepare to harvest this year’s crop. I do not believe I have ever seen a more splendid or majestic sight as that of the snow-like scene that a field of cotton creates.
We lived in the middle of a cotton growing community for several years when we lived in Arkansas and I learned to appreciate the beauty and irony of cotton.
It is amazing to me how a seed grows into this white seed-filled product, and then to realize I am wearing some of that same white fibrous produce as I look at my shirt. Just remarkable.
When I was a child, my Big Daddy share-cropped on the Dick Strain place and raised cotton. He had a few paid cotton pickers but mostly family picked this thorny fiber. My cousin and I decided one day we would pick cotton to make some money. I needed to supplement my 50 cents a week allowance.
We secured our cotton sacks on our backs and started our plucking and picking of the white heads from the prickly stalks. We picked, we thought stringently all day, stopping only for a quick lunch in the shade of the live oak.
After pulling those long homemade denim sacks all day, we were sure we would be much wealthier than we were at the beginning of the day. We hurried to the cotton scales and had our bounty weighed, we were paid by the pound picked, and we were paid 65 cents.
I just remembered thinking now this week I have a dollar and fifteen cents and lots of punctures and cuts on my hands. I, for sure, was happy to let someone who could pick better than I take my job. I know there were many happy people when the cotton picker machine was invented.
There is not a big amount of cotton raised here in the hills. I guess the soil is not as conducive to growing the tall, beautiful stalks as the black Delta dirt. I miss seeing the overflowing fields of this rich land crop and I even become nostalgic when I smell cotton poison.
We love chicken and dumplings. I have found a really easy way to make them.
Chicken and Dumplings
One boneless cooked chicken without skin
1 stick melted butter
1 cup of milk
1 cup of self-rising flour
2 cups chicken broth, (bought or made)
1 can of cream of chicken soup
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Spread chicken in a 9x13 baking dish. Pour butter over the chicken and add salt and pepper.
In a bowl beat flour and milk and pour evenly over chicken. Try not to disturb the chicken as you add ingredients.
Finally, mix chicken broth and chicken soup and pour over the rest.
The dumplings will form as they bake. Bake 45 minutes uncovered.
Allow dumplings to finish forming. The longer it sits, more dumplings.