A Field of Roses

As the calendar is about to flip to another year, I find myself once again traveling on the road with spotty internet service.  Mind you, no complaints on my end, it’s just the kind of New Year’s post I had in mind will need to be postponed.  For now, I’m focused on where we intend to park for the night and the weather.

Since it’s cold, rainy, and in some places snowing, I thought I’d share images that look more like summer than winter.  I know, hard to think about rose bushes being harvested in December, but that’s the desert southwest for you………

Now that I had witnessed the harvesting of cotton, I had hoped to have similar luck with the harvesting of the rose bushes.  With each necessary or unnecessary visit to a nearby store, I glanced across the rose fields in hopes of seeing the equipment used for the plucking of these beautiful flowers.  rose petals

As I repeatedly drove past the fields, a barren field of tilled land caught my attention. I was intrigued by the color.  There was a reddish hue almost mirage like to the barren field that was once graced with rose bushes.  Unfortunately, I missed the actual harvesting of these plants.  I wondered, could that reddish hue be new growth?  Had the field already been replanted?  Since it looked merely tilled, I doubted anything new was growing.

With one eye kept on the road (I am driving after all), I struggled to make out what was causing that reddish tint.  My curiosity was getting the better of me and my destination was no longer of importance, thus I turned my little red truck around in search of a place to park.  I felt compelled to examine this field a little closer.roses

In an attempt to respect the “no trespassing” signs, I walked as close as I felt comfortable to discover what was behind the effects of the mirage……. Rose Petals!….oh my gosh…. the field was covered in rows of pink and red rose petals.  Oh, how I wanted to get closer, but that would have required jumping over a small concrete irrigation ditch AND trespassing.

Not easily deterred by signs or rules, it was the jumping over the irrigation ditch that caused me to pause.  I assessed the distance and my agile jumping abilities.  It was then that I heard the voices in my head…..  “Mr. H, this is the Maricopa County Sheriff’s department.  Your wife ……..”rose harvestingOk then…. I shook my head as if to clear the imaginary voices and images in my mind, then quickly returned to the truck and headed down the road to check on another rose field.  Hum, no equipment anywhere in sight, but it was obvious several rows of rose bushes had been removed.  It appeared, the rose bushes were being harvested by color.

Although my time in Phoenix, Arizona, has come to an end, the images of roses continue to make me smile.  The images of the cotton fields continue to intrigue me.  I wonder where this fascination stems from.   Was I a farmer in a past life?  Nah, I think not.  I am merely an appreciative recipient of the plants bounty 🙂

fields of rosesAll photos were taken  in mid-December!  Camera used;
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ47K 12.1 MP Digital Camera with 24xOptical Zoom – Black

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Harvest Time

I hope everyone had an enjoyable Christmas.  We sure did and I want to thank you all for your merry comments.  It sure put a smile on my face.  Moving on….figuratively and literally….yep, we hit the road yesterday, but before I start sharing our journey I have a couple of loose ends to wrap up about our time in the Phoenix area…….

I never thought my post on Cotton would attract very much attention.  Boy, was I wrong.  I guess I’m not the only one fascinated by this plant, fiber, textile.  Thanks everyone for the awesome and enlightening comments on that post.  Some of your comments piqued my interest even further regarding this intriguing plant.cotton textile

Each time I drove by the cotton fields, I would take in the transformation of the plant.  As several of you mentioned, the fields would eventually turn a sea of white, and indeed they did.  I then new harvest time was near.cotton harvest

Since it was the holiday season (this harvesting took place mid December) that meant baking and when one lives in a RV it is not unusual to run out of ingredients quickly.  Come on, it’s not as if I have a walk-in pantry complete with back-up supplies of flour and sugar and I won’t even begin to talk about the small RV refrigerator…..sigh. Fortunately, I had a super Wal-mart, Safeway, and Fry’s less than fifteen minutes away.agriculture

Running out of supplies had me driving off to the store regularly and that meant driving by the cotton and rose fields repeatedly.  Oh, darn!  Can you tell how inconvenienced I was 😉  wink, wink!agriculture

Talk about timing….on one of my returns from a last-minute grocery run….I glanced toward a field and there he was.  Oh my gosh!!!  I quickly pulled over with little care of any cars behind me, jumped out of my truck, pulled out the camera, and started snapping away.  There was even an exchange of waves and perhaps an intended pose.agriculture

textiles fibers

textile fiber cotton

Two dozen photos later Mr. Harvester is now at the other end of the field.  What’s that I see?  More equipment in the distance?  I had to check it out.harvesting cottonagriculture fibers

I watched as the tractor unloaded the freshly picked cotton dumping it into another container.  It appears this process will then compact the cotton into large dense squares that are numbered and made ready for transport.harvest agriculture

I’m not sure how many times the cotton picker goes through a field but it seems to be more than once.  The harvesting continued well beyond dark with the aid of lights.  This particular field was a buzz with activity for about five days before all the equipment was moved down the road to another field.

With the cotton picking over, it’s time to check on the roses……textile fiber

Photos of me were taken by fellow blogger Jerry.  A big thank you to Jerry for a fun day of running around Phoenix with our cameras.  Your photographic talents and vision are inspiring!



Merry Christmas!

Sending holiday greetings to my blogging family……holiday message
Tis the time to hug,
And stay warm and snug.
Time to ice skate over the frozen lake,
And for the sugar cookies to bake.
Children get snow days,
And go out to play on sleighs.
On Christmas day it is fun,
There are just clouds and no sun.
christmas cookiesYou open your presents,
Which your family sent.
The kids just rip the wrapping,
And can’t stop laughing.
Kids get toys,
Specially made for girls or boys.
Teens get phones and games,
And call their siblings lame.
The kids go out to make angels in the snow,
Running through the cold air that blows.
No one wants the day to end,
So some decide to share gifts or lend.
The families take off their bootlaces,
And get warm by the fireplace.
Christmas is when your family comes,
And when they all love.
Poem found on the internet –

Wishing you and yours a warm and Merry Christmas!holidays

A Tour of Phoenix

Since my last three posts focused on places to park our RV’s in and around the Phoenix area, I thought I’d share some things to see and do while visiting, The Valley of the Sun.

Capital Building
The State Capital Building – Phoenix, Arizona

Center valley – downtown Phoenix:  Since Phoenix is the capitol city of Arizona, you’ll find the state capital building and legislator buildings downtown.  Although the Capital building itself is not on the grandeur level of other state capital buildings, the beautiful park setting and war memorials make up for the simplistic architecture.

War Memorials
War Memorials – Capital Building in the distance

Papago Park is located in Tempe just north of Arizona State University. Here you’ll find the Desert Botanical Garden which is a great way to familiarize oneself with the plants of the desert southwest.  The Garden usually hosts a special venue or exhibition at different times of the year.  During a previous visit, they had a special Avery housing thousands of Monarch butterflies.

Papago Park
Papago Park located in Tempe, Arizona

Currently the Botanical Garden is adorned with vibrant glass art created by famous Artist Dale Chihuly.  Chihuly is credited with revolutionizing the Studio Glass movement and elevating the perception of the glass medium from craft to fine art.   Sorry folks, no photos from me on this exhibit, as I took a pass on a visit to the garden this season.

Hole in the Rock
Hole in the Rock – Papago Park

Not interested in the garden?  How about a quick hike up to “Hole in the Rock”, located just around the corner from the Botanical Garden in Papago Park.  This is a favorite spot amongst locals to watch the sunset over the city. Nearby “Hole in the Rock” is the “Tomb of Governor George Wiley Paul Hunt”.  The Tomb is interesting – a mini pyramid, but the view from this vantage point is pretty awesome.  It overlooks Papago Park and the Phoenix Zoo.

Apache Trail
A drive along the Apache Trail provides beautiful scenery

East valley – near the town of Apache Junction is the Superstition Mountain and Lost Dutchman State Park.  I would put this on any “must see” list.  As we drive north on Highway 88, aka the Apache Trail,  Our first stop is on the right at the Superstition Mountain Museum. Just a short distance further up the road on the left is the Goldfield Ghost Town.  This old gold mining town is a fun little stop to stroll around and get a sense of life in the 1800’s.

Superstition Mountain
great hiking at the Superstition Mountain

As we continue north on the Apache Trail, the Lost Dutchman State Park is on the right and offers some of our favorite hiking trails.  You can access these trails from the Day Use area or from the campground.  The state park is a fee use area.  Rangers and volunteers are more than eager to share their passion for this one of a kind place. The Apache Trail is a scenic drive with lots of photographic opportunities.  We like to take our time and enjoy the scenery.  A stop at the shores of Canyon Lake is always lovely.  We’ve even thought about renting a kayak for a few hours but just haven’t had the chance thus far.

Canyon Lake
Canyon Lake along the Apache Trail

After Canyon Lake is the town of Tortilla Flat, population of 6.  You’ll find a great little restaurant with a super fun décor and yummy burgers.  Even if you won’t be dining, do step inside and check it out and be sure to peek into the lady’s room for the comedic painted stall doors.  The general store also serves up some of the best homemade ice cream around.

Apache Trail
Past the town of Tortilla Flat the Apache Trail gets rugged

Should you continue the journey past the town of Tortilla Flat, be forewarned this is a gravel road with drop offs and not for the faint of heart.  The road will lead past Apache Lake and eventually end at Roosevelt Lake.  It’s a long, all day excursion.

Apache Lake
Apache Lake
Apache Trail
The Apache Trail north of Apache Lake

In an attempt to not make this blog post ridiculously long, allow me to quickly add some other things to see and do in and around Phoenix……..

  • Baseball –  In Spring AND Fall you’ll find plenty of major league baseball teams in training. There’s plenty of games to keep the sports enthusiast duly entertained.
  • Enjoy architecture? Visit Taliesin West
  • If music is your thing; The MIM…..Musical Instrument Museum
  • Meandering around old town Scottsdale is always a fun pastime.
  • Lake Pleasant – Lunch at Dillon’s Restaurant Scorpion Bay Marina on the floating pier/dock.

    Lake Pleasant
    Lake Pleasant – northwest of Phoenix
  • Retail shopping…..the list is endless and since I live in 250 square feet I refrain from frequenting these establishments…..wink, wink….”I know I can squeeze another pair of shoes in here somewhere, but let’s not tell Al” 😉
  • For true western fun – on a FRIDAY evening, visit the western town of Cave Creek and have dinner at the Buffalo Chip Saloon…..watch live bull riding and mutton busting.

    Buffalo Chip Saloon
    Buffalo Chip Saloon, Cave Creek, AZ
  • AND for a truly unique dining experience that you just HAVE TO try at least once…..the Organ Stop Pizza.  We enjoy the food but it really is an ‘experience’.

This is just a short list of things to see and do in The Valley of the Sun, and reason enough why RVer’s and non-RVer’s alike choose to call Phoenix home for the winter. 

Continuing with the Theme

RV Park near Phoenix
Pool side cabana at the RV Resort

It seems I have a theme carrying on here with the last couple of posts regarding RVing in the Phoenix Metro area.  Perhaps I should have titled these posts Part 1, 2 and now 3.  Oh well, twenty, twenty hind sight!!!

So let’s continue with the theme…….what makes the Phoenix Metropolitan area so RV friendly?

  1. Maricopa County Regional Parks
  2. Lost Dutchman State Park
  3. The multitude of Private RV Parks

Rumor has it there are more than 600 RV Parks in Phoenix and Maricopa County.  Although I don’t find that hard to believe, what I will dispute is the title “RV Park”.  I personally feel there is a definite distinction between a “mobile home park” and a “RV Park” (recreational vehicle).  That said, the majority of the private parks have mobile homes on site, quite often referred to as “Park Models”……kind of a fancy term for a mobile home, single or double wide.

RV Park
Pueblo El Mirage RV Resort –  there is an on site 18 hole golf course

Ah, but these parks aren’t your average run of the mill trailer park.  Nope, most are geared toward retirees and intended as second homes with a Resort style atmosphere.  When a lot is vacant, the site is offered to those of us in RV’s.  We are able to rent nightly, weekly, monthly, or extended.  Gosh, one could live in a spot year round if they wanted to.

It is in one of these RV Resorts, the Pueblo El Mirage RV Resort, that I find myself parked for the months of October, November, and December.  I’m amazed with the amount of amenities and social functions available.  One can choose to be as social or anti-social as one cares to be. The east valley in the towns of Mesa and Apache Junction have more of these RV Resorts than I can count.  Just be prepared to have a Park Model as your neighbor and most have an age restriction of 55 plus.

Park Models
Pueblo El Mirage RV Resort

There are always pluses and minuses in every situation and what works for one person may not work for another.  My personal experience is the atmosphere is very different at a resort with Park Models than one without.  Since Park Models are not easily moved, the resort feels more residential with guests well established.  With a 2 week maximum stay in a state park, folks are more transient and all passing through within days.  Short term verses long-term!

There are very few Private RV Parks in the Phoenix area that do not have Park Models.  They do exist with a little research and one we’ve enjoyed staying at in the past is Deserts Edge RV Park .  The big plus for us is its close proximity to our son’s home.

the purple park
We have a nice pull-thru site at Deserts Edge RV Park

Deserts Edge RV Park located on the north side of Phoenix off Interstate 17 and Deer Valley Road is referred to as the Purple Park.  We love the location plus it’s a super dog friendly place.  So friendly, they have 3 dog runs and a dog washing station.

the purple park
Bear was not happy about the dog washing station. However, after weeks of boondocking last winter, I sure was!   Deserts Edge RV Park, Phoenix AZ…..the purple park

This is a small RV park.  They have a bunch of pull-thru sites perfect for a short stay and back-in sites for longer stays.  Spacing is typical.  They have a swimming pool, very small workout room, and a onsite laundry facility.  As I said, it’s a small park but with no age restrictions and no Park Models.

Other pluses; there’s great shopping nearby, RV Dealer Little Dealer Little Prices is located just down the street, and great hiking within a short drive at Thunderbird Conservation Park.

RV Parks in Phoenix
We’re on the left…..Destiny RV Resort

Another RV Park we’ve stayed at is the Destiny RV Resort located in Goodyear, south-west of Phoenix.  We attended a Good Sam Rally last year and this RV Park was conveniently located to the event.  Our stay was short and we spent most of our time at the Rally and not at the park.  So I can’t offer any further info on this place other than we prefer staying in other parts of the valley.  However, the park is conveniently located off Interstate 10 and for those heading toward California this could be the perfect stop.

With all the variety and options of places to park your RV in Maricopa County, it’s no wonder this is such a popular winter destination.  But the fun doesn’t end with the parking of the RV….it’s just the beginning…….

Magical, Spiritual, or just Beautiful

As we approach the Lost Dutchman State Park, we are awed by the imposing Superstition Mountain looming in the distance.  We are on the far east side of Phoenix near the town of Apache Junction, Arizona.   Lost Dutchman State Park sits at the base of the intriguing Superstition Mountain and campers are graced with its beauty.

Superstition Mountain
Lost Dutchman State Park….we’re the first rig on the right – Jan 2013

I’m drawn to this place.  There’s something magical, maybe even spiritual about the Superstition Mountain and camping at its base at Lost Dutchman State Park affords a visitor an up close experience to its varying personality. Weather and light have an impact on the character and mood of this unique mountain.

Superstition Mountain
Camping with a view….Lost Dutchman State Park at the base of the Superstition Mountain

The campground has 104 campsites, 35 of which have electric and water.  Most of the sites are level and paved.  There’s nice spacing between sites and all offer great views.  Yep, it’s all about the view!

Our first visit to this lovely place was in the Spring of 2011.  The campground was booked but we were able to dry camp in the overflow lot.  We planned on staying four days but ended up staying ten.  I remember talking to my dad on the phone who lives in the Chicago area.  It was mid March and my dad was enjoying a warm 80 degree day and wearing shorts.  I was sitting in Phoenix, Arizona, wearing a winter coat and watching snow fall.  What’s wrong with this picture?  It was a very funny situation and although initially I wasn’t too thrilled about the cold temps, witnessing the rare beauty of it all was well worth the bundling up that was required.

camping near Phoenix
A rare spring snowstorm hits the Superstition Mountain – March 2011
camping near Phoenix
The many moods of the Superstition Mountain – March 2011

I tell you, there is nothing like waking up to this vision.  As the sun rises on the far side of the Superstition Mountain, it lights up the valley leaving those of us camped at the mountain’s base still clouded in its shadow.  As the day progresses, shadows seem to play a game of hide and go seek…. a constant moving of shade.  Later in the day when the sun is to the west, the mountain glows in a varying array of color.

camping in Phoenix
As the sun sets, the Superstition Mountain glows
RVing in Phoenix
As the sun moves throughout the day, so does the shade and shadows on the Superstition Mountain

Lost Dutchman State Park offers a picnic area for day use for those unable to spend the night.  So whether you are an overnighter or a day user, you will love the hiking and photographic opportunities here. I know it is one of our favorites. There are trails for every level of hiker.  If you only have time to pass through the area, I would highly recommend a short stroll on the “Discovery Trail”.  This easy interpretative trail meanders between the day use parking lot and the campground.  Along the way are plaques detailing sights, vegetation, and wildlife.

Camping near Phoenix
The sundial along the Discovery Trail
Superstition Mountain
The Superstition Mountain – photographed near the coyote sundial

I believe the best vantage point for capturing the entire Superstition Mountain is at the Coyote sundial located off the Discovery Trail.  I found myself meandering along this trail several times a day throughout our past visits.

Another plus to staying at Lost Dutchman State Park are all the other sights to see in the area.  That in itself will require a separate post(s).  We were never at a loss of things to see and do, but our favorite time was spent enjoying meals at the picnic table or drinks around the campfire.  With a view like this, what’s not to love!

camping in Arizona
dining with a view!

No trip to the Phoenix metropolitan area would be complete without a visit to the Superstition Mountain.  Whether you find it magical, spiritual, or just plan beautiful, this is a sight not to be missed.  I’m saddened that our adventures this year will not include a stop at Lost Dutchman State Park.  The memories of our past visits will need to hold me over until next years journey.  For now, I remain camped on the far west side of the valley watching the cotton being harvested  🙂

RV Friendly County – City

camping in Phoenix ArizonaI really enjoy places that are RV friendly.  For the most part, I’d say the majority of Arizona falls into that category…..

Maricopa County is a county located in the south-central part of the state of Arizona.  It’s population as of the 2010 census is 3,817,117 and the land encompasses about 9,224 square miles (23,891 km).

The city of Phoenix is Maricopa County’s seat as well as the Capital City of Arizona.  During the Real Estate boom of 2006, west valley municipalities ranked in the top ten fastest growing cities in the United States.

Maricopa County was founded in 1871 and has five Indian Reservations located within the county.

Now with the history lesson over, let’s talk about why this county and the city of Phoenix are so RV friendly….

First, and my favorite, are the Maricopa County Regional Parks.  You can click on the link for more in-depth information.  For now, I’ll briefly share with you what I know and where we’ve stayed;

boondocking
we boondock at the shores of Lake Pleasant

Lake PleasantLake Pleasant Regional Park is located northwest of the city of Phoenix and is easily assessable off Interstate 17.  The lake is a popular draw with locals for water sports of all kinds.  There are three campgrounds as well as the opportunity to boondock.

This is a reservoir and water levels are closely monitored and managed.  In the fall, water levels are usually low, thus exposing plenty of land for boondocking.  By March all that exposed land is well under water.

Last February when we were camped at the lake, each morning we awoke to the water encroaching closer to our lakeside boondock spot.  The lake was filling at the rate of a foot each night.  It was a matter of days before the rangers notified everyone to move on and within the week what was once our campsite was now underwater.

boondocking
Each morning the water got closer. The day we pulled out, the water was nearly to the pavement. No more fire ring to sit around….at least not without soaking our feet 🙂

Since it’s all about the water at this park, you’ll find warm, sunny weekends year round to be crowded.  As I said, its a popular place with the locals.

boondocking in Arizona
Thanksgiving 2012, Lake Pleasant….water level extremely low causing plenty of land for boondocking – the crowds were just beginning to show up for the long weekend

Cave Creek Regional Park is located north of the city of Phoenix.  Over the past three winters, we’ve spent the most amount of time at either Lake Pleasant or Cave Creek.  Cave Creek is probably our favorite…. due to its close proximity to our son’s home in addition to it’s peaceful tranquility and great hiking trails.RVing near Phoenix

Most of the campsites will accommodate just about any size rig, but there are a few sites that slope severely presenting a challenge for some RV’s.  The sites are well spaced and have nice views.  There are lots of great hiking trails accessible from the campground.

RVing in Phoenix
a typical site at Cave Creek Regional Park – sites are similar at McDowell and Usery

Shopping, fun sights, museums, and events are all within a short driving distance away.  Bonus; mornings and evenings the skies are filled with hot air balloons and the sunsets are spectacular.RVing in a big city

camping in PhoenixMcDowell Regional Park is located northeast of Scottsdale, Arizona.  It’s a favorite with many as evidenced by our inability to book a stay at this popular Regional Park. We’ve attempted several times to make a reservation at this beloved place to no avail.  So I have no personal experience, but based on the opinions of other RVer’s, the sites are similar to Cave Creek and Usery and the hiking/biking trails are top notch.

They do offer a dry-camping overflow lot for those unable to score a campsite, as do the other regional parks.

Usery Regional Park is located on the far eastside of the town of Mesa, Arizona.  It too is a very nice facility with an abundance of trails.

The campground has paved sites with a picnic table and fire ring.  Again, nicely spaced and lovely views.  We only spent two nights here last year and would have stayed longer if not for other obligations.

What sets this park aside from the others is it offers an onsite archery range and across the road from the main entrance is a gun range for trap, skeet and sporting clays shooting.  Saguaro Lake and the Salt River are within an easy drive from Usery Park.

Salt River
The Salt River….. north-east of Usery Regional Park

White Tank Mountains Regional Park is located on the very far west side of Phoenix.  In comparison to the above mentioned Parks, this is by far the most remote.  The camping facility is rustic.  Sites range in size from small, meant for tents or short trailers, to longer with the ability to accommodate large Class A’s or 5th Wheels.  There’s some pavement here and there but I’d say the sites are mostly gravel and spaced nicely.  This campground has the feel of boondocking in the middle of the desert but with the convenience of facilities.

We enjoyed our ‘waterfall’ hike at the White Tanks the other day, but probably won’t return because of its remote distance.  If you’re looking for a quiet, remote camping location with electric and water then this might be the place for you.

RVing in Arizona
interpretative trail at White Tank Mountain Regional Park

These five parks are all located on the outskirts of Phoenix providing a RVer with all the sophistication and amenities a big city has to offer while parking our rigs in a beautiful, nature surrounded environment.  The best of both worlds.  Oh, and let’s not forget…..these places are not just meant for RV’s but are also perfect for tents.

RVing in Phoenix
We loved our stay at Cave Creek Regional Park

Next up a beautiful state park on the east side of Phoenix…….Arizona sunset

Best of Both Worlds

rose flowersThere’s nothing like being surrounded by agricultural fields and yet having every imaginable store available within a fifteen minute drive. Top it off with an abundance of awesome hiking trails in the surrounding area and I’d say we’ve stumbled upon the best of both worlds.

Within an easy ten minute drive from the RV Park, I have my choice of Safeway, Fry’s, or a super Wal-Mart to stock up on necessities. Along the way to the store, I pass cotton fields and rose fields. Yes, beautiful fields of roses in all colors as far as the eye can see.

agriculture
acres of roses surround Luke Air Force Base (seen in the distance)

I adore roses. About the only thing that might top this are fields of tulips.  I’ve seen some stunning fields of tulips during Holland, Michigan’s Tulip Festival. I wouldn’t want to have to pick between tulips and roses…..yep, my two favorite flowers.   Being the girly girl that I am, I love flowers and they always put a smile on my face.

As I drive to the grocery store bebopping to tunes on the radio, I take in the sight of acres of roses to my left, acres of roses to my right, Arizona Mountains in the background, sunny skies, a light breeze, and 70 degree temperatures. Any of life’s little problems that I may be dealing with at the time seem to fade, even if for just a bit.agriculture

The fields of rose plants will eventually be harvested, split, divided and sold to nurseries and retailers for consumers to purchase so they can add landscape beauty to their yards.  At one time, the agricultural fields in the Phoenix area were abundant with citrus plants; oranges, lemons, limes.  I’m not sure why the farmer’s have switched from citrus to cotton and roses, but the rumor is margins and ease of growth.  Cotton and roses can also withstand a rare winter freeze much easier than the citrus. However, there are still plenty of citrus groves, they just happen to be located in other parts of the valley.agriculture

Although I may not have initially been too thrilled with this RV Park and its location, I’ve since discovered plenty of beauty and convenience. Yep, these roses sure can make a gal smile 🙂agriculture

Lounging in a comfy T

fiber-textileIs there anything more comfy than a soft cotton T-shirt?  I live in cotton.  Cotton shirts,  cotton pants, cotton socks…..yep, I love my comfy cotton clothing.

As a gal growing up in the Midwest, I’m used to seeing crop fields.  Fields of corn, fields of beans, fields of wheat but never fields of cotton.  I saw my first cotton field last year.  I don’t find the fields particularly attractive, nor do they seem well-organized like rows of corn or pretty like a golden field of wheat.fiber-textile

Seeing those fields from a distance triggers a curiosity.  I wonder; does the raw cotton feel soft or rough?  What does this plant look like up close?  What does it take to turn this white fluffy stuff into a favorite shirt?Textile

I’ve been parked on the far west side of Phoenix, Arizona for the past couple of months; just across from a cotton field.  I know, who would have thought one could grow cotton in the desert?  I’ve always associated cotton with southern states like Georgia, Mississippi, or Louisiana but never Arizona.  It’s amazing what can grow in the desert with the help of irrigation.textile

With camera in hand, I check out these plants up close.  I touch the raw cotton.  It’s incredibly soft. The rest of the plant seems rough and unbending.  I can’t imagine hand picking the cotton.  I’m clueless about modern harvesting techniques but past practices are indelibly etched in American history.  Actually cotton is a fiber rich in world history and dates back to B.C.textile

Fellow blogger, Rebecca over at Clanmother, recently wrote a post about a cotton mill in England and the industrial revolution.  You can read about it here.   As much as I may love wearing cotton, cotton has had a tremendous impact on so many lives over the years, much of it negative.   Indeed, this plant is rich in history; providing wealth to the lucky and slavery to the unlucky.

Times have not changed, just the countries and the methods. Thoughts to ponder!textile-fiber

Yes, cotton is an interesting and unique shrub.   As I lounge around wearing one of my comfy cotton T’s, I have a new-found respect for all the work that went into the production of my favorite cotton garment; from the plant, to the yarn, to the stitching…..I love it and will treasure it even more!textile-fiber