Knee high by the Fourth of July
Posted by Ward on October 12, 2004
In Reply to: "Summertime" posted by Warthog on October 12, 2004
: : : From the picker's viewpoint 'In high cotton' meant he/ she didn't have to stoop so low, the cotton bolls were thick on the stalk and easy pickin's. Used to indicate that times were good.
: : : Conversely, to be in 'Low cotton', stalks, usually in the hill country, were less than two- three feet high and bolls were sparce making the picker work much harder. i.e. 'I'm in low cotton' meant things weren't going well, didn't feel good, etc.
: : "Summertime
: : And the livin' is easy.
: : Fish are jumpin'
: : And the cotton is high..."
: : (Gershwin)
: Gotta be the Janis Joplin version (Big Brother & the Holding Company).
: Only the best will do.
Midwest US corn farmers have an expression 'knee high by the fourth of July'. A crop which is expected to turn out well will be at least knee high in early July -- which means the initial growing conditions have been good. If a crop doesn't get off to as good start it will not turn out well.