Thankful for once a year jobs
Today I sat in my centenarian farm kitchen cutting fresh broccoli we harvested from our garden. As I worked I could hear the echoes and the low drone of my husband’s tractor. Finishing my job of blanching the green delicacy and packaging it, I sauntered outdoors to the corn cribs where the action was taking place.
A corn crib is a structure that has a concrete floor, a roof, and wooden or metallic slats for walls. The slats are positioned so as to store ear corn while exposing the corn to air and wind which over several months will dry the corn. My family was busy, hard at work laboring there.
My husband led a four-person crew which included our son, his son and daughter. They were busy corn-shelling — a once a year activity on our farm.
This job is a completion of the harvest we had of last year’s crop. My husband plants and raises organic corn. He picks it by the ear and stores it in our four corncribs. The cobs stay there all fall, winter, spring and part of summer until the crop is ready to sell. In August, with hay and oats being harvested, there is time to shell the corn; that is, removing the corn kernels from the cob.
The corn sheller can be compared to a yellow monster. As corn drops from the corn crib door to the drag line, the sheller’s down-pointed “proboscis” scoops up the ears and elevates them to its “mouth.” In its belly, the corn kernels are removed from the cobs. The machine also strips off the corn shucks (the dried leaves).
This three-armed monster rids itself of the corn. The crunchy amber, feather-light husks are whooshed into a nearby wagon by one arm. The second arm carries the pink, skeleton-like cobs into the same wagon. The third arm pours out the valued golden kernels of corn into a second wagon.
When the shuck/cob wagon is full, it is unloaded in our lane to the pasture. It pads the rocky, muddy paths for the cattle, making a firmer and more user-friendly walkway. When the corn wagon is full it is transported to a truck for storage until the corn is sold.
The equipment must be put away and kept sheltered for use next summer. The crop is ready for sale and the corn cribs are empty, ready to be filled again with the next crop that is expected to be picked in October.
How good to have that job finished. As for me, I am glad I could watch while the others worked. Back in the house, there is more work waiting. I have to clean up the mess in my kitchen.