Late morning, after doing some work and talking to other guests at the hotel as well as the owners we explore Mesilla Valley a bit closer. We drive north on SR 187 which is lined with fields of cotton, chillies, onions, corn as well as with pecan orchards.
As this cotton square develops, the bud swells and begins to push through the bracts until it opens into an attractive flower. Within three days, the flower will pollinate(the transfer of pollen from the anther to the stigma of the same or another flower) itself, change from a creamy white or yellow color to a pinkish red, and then wither and fall, exposing a small, green, immature cotton boll (a segmented pod containing 32 immature seeds from which the cotton fibers will grow). This boll is considered a fruit because it contains seeds. As the fibers continue to grow and thicken within the segmented boll, it enlarges until it becomes approximately the size of a small fig. Now, the cotton fibers have become mature and thickened with their primary growth substance, cellulose (a carbohydrate, the chief component of the cell wall in most plants). An average boll will contain nearly 500,000 fibers of cotton and each plant may bear up to 100 bolls. In about 140 days after planting or 45 days after bolls appear, the cotton boll will begin to naturally split open along the bolls segments or carpels and dry out, exposing the underlying cotton segments called locks. These dried carpels are known as the bur, and it’s the bur that will hold the locks of cotton in place when fully dried and fluffed, ready for picking.
We see some very nice farms and some rather disorganized ones – just what we are used to see when driving through countryside. Far away we see the mountains that seem the valley and from time to time we get a glimpse of the Rio Grande. We drive all the way past Truth Or Consequences to the dam of the Elephant Butte Reservoir. On the way down back to Las Cruces we take the HWY. Because there was so much to see on the way up we didn’t really realize how far we have come and therefore the 85 miles back seem to be endless today. Back in Las Cruces the temperature reaches 100 Fahrenheit (38 Celsius).
We are glad to be back mid afternoon and take a nap before going for dinner to the Italian place with the delicious bread and pizza we were a couple days ago: Zeffiro Pizzeria Napolitana.
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