Puttin Out Cotton Gin Trash

I’ve got one of those senses of humor that leans toward the ironic, even at times the sarcastic, and even at its extremes the dark. So, it was enough to make me laugh out loud the other day when I thought about what I was doing by spreading cotton gin trash on our pasture.

You see, cotton gin trash, for those who didn’t have the good fortune to grow up in the Brazos bottom, or other cotton growing kingdoms, is the stuff that’s left over after the gin pulls the white cotton fiber and the fuzzy seeds out of the cotton boll. Time was, when a family dumped their hand picked sacks of cotton into a wagon, carrying about a thousand pounds, and drove it to the cotton gin. The “sucker” pulled out all the raw cotton from the wagon, and the gin went to work. In about 15 minutes a five hundred pound bale was plopped into the wagon. The seeds were saved for next year’s crop, and the rest, leaves, burrs, stems, and dirt, was blown into a pile out back of the gin. Gin trash. Some enterprising Dutchmen saved it and hauled it back home and dumped it in their fields, preserving some of the fertility otherwise pulled out of the soil by the needs of the cotton plant. “Lo! And beholes, them fields was more productive!”Our ranch was used to grow upland cotton from sometime in the 19th century till 1936 when it was turned out to cattle. All the fertility had been sucked out of the soil by cotton. So here I was in 2016, finally putting the gin trash back on the land it was robbed from. You could almost hear the heavy sigh of relief from the earth!

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