A crisp fall morning is a fine time to drive around West Texas. An occasional wispy white cloud scuds across a cobalt blue sky. The air is crisp, a welcome reprieve from the 100-degree days that are not far enough behind to be certain that they’re gone until next May. Cotton fields are beginning to reveal a little white as some early bolls begin to crack and open. White blooms and the pink ones push above the crop canopy. Hard, green bolls show a bit of coloration as they near maturity. A few fields are dropping leaves following recent harvest aid applications. Rumors indicate a few strippers moving through some early maturing fields. We looked, but found none on our drive.
Peanut fields are lapped, leaving a vast expanse of green foliage with a hint of a row line where diggers will soon lift the root crop out of the earth and expose the peanuts to the sun to dry down before combines gather them up. Gently pulling on a vine or two reveals masses of dirt-caked peanuts, almost ready to dig.
Pink, yellow and green apples shine through still-lush foliage in The Orchard, just east of Idalou. The morning is filled with sounds of laughter as school children scurry through the trees picking a few apples. In places, the ground is littered with fallen apples in heaps of green, gold and pink. Folks at The Orchard office say the crop has been pretty good.
Cotton, peanut and grain farmers talk about the almost ready crops, expecting decent yields, hoping for better prices, anxious to move their giant machines into the fields to take the season’s final test—how much did we make?