It always happens, that is, if the rains come in a timely fashion, that the daughters of Mark Yoder, Sr. get just a little bit obsessed with getting their sweet corn done. Last year there was not enough to go around. One of us got none. The other two got far less than they had hoped.
Now, granted, the families are shrinking (at an alarming rate in all three households, to be honest!) But to put a proper Sunday lunch together, a Yoder gal needs home-frozen yellow sweet corn. So this year, there has been proper attention paid to where it could be procured, and, sure enough, this week was the week for it.
Now Certain Man’s Wife likes to do some up for the very married, newly married and nearly married in her family. And Middle Sister likes to have a goodly supply for her family, and the two nearly marrieds in her family, so CMW, in a mode of thinking ahead, remembered that there was a time when 6,000 ears were done by the family and she settled upon a figure of 3,000 ears for the family. But when the price was a bit steeper than she anticipated and Youngest Brother’s patch held some promise of later corn, she changed the amount to 2,000 and Middle Sister added her 750 ears to that, and they decided that, bright and early on Monday morning, they would set to it.
Certain Man took his truck and trailer to the property of the esteemed Corn Grower and left it there overnight so that the corn could be picked directly into the said convenience, and there wouldn’t be as much hauling and transferring in the morning. Certain Man also took a vacation day from work so that he could be home to help. CMW felt in her heart that this would prove to be the most important blessing of the day, and she was RIGHT!
The corn arrived and the hands that were available set about to husk. And husk. And husk. Certain Man’s Wife looked at the pile when it arrived and thought it would not take too much time to do that corn. But the hands worked steady for hours and hours before it was finally finished. The gals got busy around the “cow” and washed and silked the husked ears in a continuous fashion (also for hours and hours). The help was phenomenal. Sweet Mama was there. Middle Sister came and brought her three youngest offspringin’s. Youngest Sister was there from the start to the finish. All five of Certain Man’s children and the two spouses helped at various times during the day. Youngest Son’s Mother in Law came for a while and two young friends showed up and helped for a great many hours. And so the day went on and on.
Sweet Mama baked a chocolate sheet cake and also brought some oreos. Middle Sister brought garden tea, Youngest Daughter brought meatballs in a barbecue sauce, Certain Man’s wife had egg salad and chicken salad and a casserole of chicken and dressing and gravy. Once the cookers got fired up, there was hot corn with butter and salt to grab in between all the many jobs and the day wore on.
Along about two or three o’clock, a sense of something not being quite right began to tug at Certain Man’s Wife’s subconscious thought. Things were just not getting done like they should. Where was all this corn coming from? She kept mulling it over and over in her head. “I know that we did 6,000 ears one year,” she contemplated. “Where is all this coming from? We aren’t going to be done here for hours and hours. I just don’t understand it.” There were a few good natured comments about how the corn was multiplying rapidly, but people were good natured about it, and the hands kept on moving.
“How many ears did you say we got?” was a frequent question, and Certain Man’s Wife tried to reassure people with logic. “We ordered 2,750 with Aunt Sarah’s. Kauffman’s sent us an extra 75 ears, so we should have around 2,825 or so. One year we did 6,000, so we should be able to wrap this up pretty well.”
In a reflective moment, CMW began to go over the year of 6,000 ears, and a slow, sickening realization began to creep into her very soul. Oh, dear! There was a year that 6,000 ears of corn were processed, but that was in one week, not one day. Oh, dear! What should she say? How should she comfort all these hard workers?
“You know what, guys?” she said in the most contrite voice that she could muster. “I’ve been thinking about those 6,000 ears of corn. And I am ashamed to say this, but that was the total for a week, not a day!”
“I wondered!” said Youngest Sister. “I was sure we never did this much corn, and we don’t have the help that we did back then.”
“I did seem like alot,” said Sweet Mama, who stayed until the last ear was silked. “This seemed like a terrible lot of corn to me.”
And various and sundry others added their opinions. But it was too late to do anything about it. The corn was picked, the corn was husked, it had to be processed. And so, the faithful labored on. Automatically filling the cookers, cooling, draining, cutting it off the cob, packaging it, getting it to the freezer. Over and over again.
And it came to pass, that Beloved Son in Law and Eldest Son pulled the last two loads out of the cookers to the sound of great cheers around 10 pm and the weary cutter-off-ers got the last ears finished and Certain Man carried the last bags to the freezer, and the major job was done. Some scurried off to their abodes, some stayed and helped to clean up, but finally, the wash baskets were clean, the muck buckets washed and upside down on the lawn, the tables washed off, the corn cobs taken to the pasture, and the cookers disconnected and put away and the floor sprayed down and the towels and hot pads hung on the wash line. Some very, very tired, but some very, very pleased people were finally done.
Each of the four Newly/Nearly Married couples had 25 “pints” of corn. Eldest Daughter had 50. Middle Sister had 80 “almost quarts” and Certain Man’s Wife had 100 of the same. Next week we will do some for Youngest Sister, Lord willing, probably some for Sweet Mama, and if there is extra in Youngest Brother’s patch after his wife and children do what they need, we will add to the coffers of whoever wants to have more.
It is so nice to have corn in the freezer again. Now and again, Certain Man will make muttering noises about how CMW should just buy frozen corn from the store and “doctor” it up. He thinks she could make it taste almost as good. But then he goes out of his way to help in any way possible for her and her sisters to freeze whatever amount they feel is necessary, and when it is finally done, oh, how sweet it is!
And that is the News from Shady Acres. Certain Man is suffering greatly today from an old shoulder injury that was aggravated by all his hard work yesterday. Certain Man’s Wife is not getting much done in the way of homemaking duties, and the children have proven once again that days like yesterday wouldn’t get done without their stellar help.
Alma is fixing a corn cutter
Sarah is busy cutting off with a knife. You have to hold your mouth
just right to do this efficiently
I’ve had questions about the “cow.”
This white spigot thingy in the middle of the picture is the COW.
Certain Man made it so we can silk our corn under running water
while sitting here together. It is a great invention.
It has helped us solve a great many of the worlds problems.
Why is it called a “cow?”
Because it contains four liquid producing ports.
Elmer (in the foreground) and Edie (in the back) are the two youngest cousins.
They are called upon to assist with the corn days without the benefit that many
of their cousins enjoyed — the main one being a huge amount of cousins all
in the same predicament — forced into child labor by over zealous mamas.
They helped alot yesterday, but it would have been easier for them
had they had some fellow sufferers.
It is high time for some of the great grands to join the fracas.