Saturday, November 16, 2013

Cotton Harvest in West Texas

While my neighbors in West Texas do not need a blog post to tell them about cotton, I have relatives in Southeast Asia who might be interested in some photos of cotton harvesting here.

 This cotton does not have an abundant yield because it was grown during a drought year. The plants are also small because the weather freezes in November, killing the plant, so they do not grow large over several years as in the tropics.


The first step in harvesting the cotton
is to strip it, or remove the cotton
from the stalk. This is done with
the machine called a stripper.


  When the stripper has a full load of cotton,
  the farmer unloads it into the compactor.
  This machine compresses the cotton into a firm block
  that can be transported to the gin.

Next, the stalks are shredded so the field can be plowed for the next crop. The machine works like a giant lawn mower.


Finally, here is my own, personal cotton crop.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Holy Kitsch!

I have not forgotten the adage of showing unity in the essentials, liberty in non-essentials, and charity in all things. But I wonder if all things means literally everything, or does this apply only to theological matters? I hope it is the latter, because I have trouble being charitable toward some things.

De gustibus non est disputandum. There is no accounting for taste. When the matter boils down to a difference in tastes, there is no point in arguing further. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. So I hereby apologize in advance, not for my opinion, but for offending you, if such be the case, by condemning what I consider trash but what you might hold dear.

I am talking about Christian arts, crafts, and gifts. I received a catalog today from a reputable Christian book retailer. This was the Christmas gifts catalog. I was shocked by some of the things I saw.

Of course there were books, Bibles, CDs and DVDs. No surprise. And the usual: mugs, watches, and pens with crosses or fish silhouettes embossed on them. And the unusual: sword-like letter openers with Hebrews 4:12 engraved on them and 6-penny-nail cross pendants.

In the ‘questionable usefulness’ department are the rainbow Bible tabs, over-the-ear booklights, and multi-function Bible study pens featuring black pen, mechanical pencil, and red underliner.

In the ‘dollar store truckload sale’ section are resin and pewter sculptures and ornaments that, despite the Christmas themes, give black-velvet Elvis paintings a real run for their money. I think I even saw a velvet painting with an apocalyptic theme.

My favorite department was the ‘Christianity held captive by the culture’ collection of urban thug hoodies with inspirational messages and scripture verses printed on them. I liked the Bible Baseball and Bible Sudoku games too. I was especially intrigued by the Guitar Praise knockoff of Guitar Hero where you rock-till-you-drop just like the teen toker next door, only to the tunes of the Newsboys and Superchick.

Then there was the truly disgusting stuff, especially the all-weather door mat with Joshua 24:15 woven into it. The description said it has a recycled rubber base, but it did not say if it was for cleaning muddy shoes before entering or for shaking the dust off your feet when leaving.