This past week our corn in the family garden “came in,” or ripened. In all the years my kids were growing up it never crossed my mind to take them with me spending the night before picking something in large amounts. The older I am, the more wisdom I see behind Mama taking my brother Joey, and me and doing just that when we had large amounts of vegetables to pick and process at her parents’ home. Now that my kids are grown and have other responsibilities, I decided to follow suit. So I got up to Mama’s and Daddy’s early Monday morning and spent that day and night, as well as Tuesday there helping with corn.
Daddy and I planted three patches of corn so there will be different ages. That way all of it won’t be ready at the same time. We have had to work a large patch at one time, and it is something we would rather not do now that we are all older and a little wiser Also, if one patch doesn’t do well because of weather or something, there is still hope for another patch a little later.
There’s more to pullin’ corn than you might think. As I walked through the dewy leaves of the corn, the first thing I knew to look at was the silk. Corn ears have a tuft of what looks like silken threads growing from the top end of the ear. If that silk is dried and brown instead of a pretty green, it’s probably ready. Inside the husks, or leaf covering, of the ears of corn the kernels should be firm but not hard, and all of them developed as opposed to feeling lumpy from a combination of mature kernels, and those that didn’t mature. If still in doubt, I will open the end of the husks carefully and peek inside. I do this in such a way that I can reclose it to keep “varmints,” or raccoons from having a free meal at our expense. It sounds like it takes longer than it does. After a little experience and getting a rhythm, walking in the row and pullin’ the corn ears, it goes more smoothly and faster. It doesn’t take but a few minutes to pull 100 ears of corn. Even so, the dew soaks shoes, socks, and jeans from the knee down. I learned a long time ago to always bring a change of clothes for after the garden work.
I’ve always loved hearing and feeling the swish of the green, gracefully flopping corn leaves as I walk between the rows. The squeaky, cracking sound of the end of the ear as I twist and break it off the stalk all in one move brings back a lot of memories over the years. Memories of times spent in the garden with my grandparents, parents, and kids, as well as Joey and his family, and our cousins, aunts and uncles. I wouldn’t trade that for anything.
We processed 200 ears of sweet corn on Monday, then Daddy and I picked 100 more early Tuesday with that corn patch still in morning shade. After pulling the shucks off, cleaning the ears, we cut the corn off these cobs, and put the creamed corn in freezer boxes. I kept 20 ears in their shucks just for grilling; hopefully very soon. Just as in times past, Mama, Daddy, and I enjoyed bacon, lettuce, and fresh tomato sandwiches for lunch, and enjoyed some of the harvested corn with supper. I have to say that pullin’ corn truly has its rewards, and am sincerely blessed to still get to be involved with my family in this way.
Make some memories, and be blessed, friends.
Edit: Please check back again in the next three days and you will see a picture of one of our corn fields. I’m having problems getting the picture on my blog.