Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Maybe we need to invest in face masks

Not long after we arrived here in Safford, Arizona, I noticed that a few of the little old ladies out for their morning constitutionals were wearing face masks. It baffled me a bit. After all, I've known people who regularly wear face masks during cold and flu season if they're going to be someplace where there are a lot of people, but walking around an RV park by yourself? It was a bit of a mystery.

Not anymore. It's been a bit breezy since we arrived here. Nothing dramatic, but the wind does seem to blow some every day. And then yesterday it went from a bit breezy to let's rip the tumbleweeds lose and topple any Yugos that might still be on the road. Couple that with the fact Safford is basically a farming town sitting in a river valley full of cotton fields, and the cotton has now been harvested. When you go from thousands of acres of cotton to thousands of acres of bare, dry dirt and the wind blows? I'm a tad surprised there's any paint left on local buildings and vehicles. Those face masks are now making perfect sense.
All that cotton is grown using irrigation, of course. This is, after all, the desert. My personal opinion is that there shouldn't be any farming going on at all that requires irrigation, water being a finite resource, but cotton doesn't strike me as being quite as much of an abomination as the pecan and pistachio orchards or the vineyards. When you grow a seasonal crop like cotton, you're using a lot of water for part of the year. When you plant trees, you're watering year round. Why anyone would think that planting orchards in a desert, especially orchards of trees that are not a natural desert species, is a good idea is a mystery, but way too many people are doing it.


  1. An environmental disaster waiting to happen. The Aral Sea was drained by Soviet cotton production, irrigated from the two rivers that fed it.

  2. It's disheartening to see the orchards appearing here. The cotton production is bad enough, but to see Arizona following the same stupid path as California depresses the heck out of me. Irrigation means short term gain and long term desertification where nothing will grow because sooner or later enough salt builds up in the soil that nothing will grow.


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