Saturday, August 22, 2009

Corn harvest, the first hill

This is a picture of the Blue corn I grew in my back yard. Next week I will harvest the corn planted next door on the bank owned house.

I cut and shocked the corn or at least I tried to get it in a shock. It takes at least three stalks for a shock to stand. I have only two so I leaned them up against the pitchfork.
Shocking fodder is one of those lost farming arts. I was on the tail end of it and learned it as a child when my father borrowed a corn binder to bind his crop of sorghum. It would cut the long stalks and tie them into a bundle of 8to10 stalks and would lay it on the ground. We would pick up the bundles and shock them. To form a shock you would gather 4 or 5bundles together, tie them at the top with a piece of twine, then spread them out at the bottom so that they would stand. Then you would pickup the surrounding bundles and lay them against the shock being sure to distribute them equally. Think of a tepee looking structure made of corn stalks.

By the time I was in high school a neighbor bought a silage chopper and we had him chop it up into pieces an inch long, put it in a pit in the ground, where it would ferment. Some of the fermented juice would run out and collect at the end of the pit. Our cows would gather there and drink it then stagger up the hill. Bet you didn't know cows could be alcoholics.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Not worthy of being involved in your experiment Bob

Well after two plantings and building that darn rabbit excluding enclosure, I failed to fertilize my corn. No fish heads, no Miracle Grow, nada. I guess I was hoping the Hopi would do the rest of the work for me. I will have to blame some of it on that rabbit exluding enclosure. It not only kept the rabbits out but it kept me from getting close too. It made it difficult to mow around. Then the grass got really high. Then I was sure some snake would be lurking, waiting for me. And then, the garden was 1.7 miles away and I couldn't see it everyday. I have at least a dozen more excuses if anyone is interested.
Warning, those ears are smaller than they appear.

Bob, I just hope you won't exclude me for any other experiments. Don't make me turn in my project card. I just might be better at the next one.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Hot Damn, We've Got Tassels!

Wasn't completely confident I'd see the day. I'm not the photographer you all are, but hopefully you can see the three sisters at work. Additionally in the photo on the left, in the top right hand corner is my new hammock, strategically placed overlooking the harbor and corn. What a combo!

Knee High By The Fourth of July!

The old adage up here in New England is that the corn should be knee high by the fourth of July. They weren't all knee high, but with my late start and the lousy growing season here, I was pleased as punch to have any that height yet.

We Do It The Old Fashioned Way

I am trying out a modified Three Sisters planting style, a combination of corn, pole beans and squash. In this symbiotic relationship the beans are planted in the center of the corn hill and the squash should be alternated with the corn hills. I didn't have enough room to plant the squash in between the corn, so it is planted a row over. The corn works as a pole for the beans, the beans help to stabilize the corn from wind, and the squash is a living mulch. I chose this method as I just wanted to see how the ancients did it, and I just plain like the name. Sisterhood and paganism!

The Iroquois Legend of the Three Sisters

Erney, Diana. 1996. Long live the Three Sisters. Organic Gardening. November. p. 37-40.
The term “Three Sisters” emerged from the Iroquois creation myth. It was said that the earth began when “Sky Woman” who lived in the upper world peered through a hole in the sky and fell through to an endless sea. The animals saw her coming, so they took the soil from the bottom of the sea and spread it onto the back of a giant turtle to provide a safe place for her to land. This “Turtle Island” is now what we call North America.

Sky woman had become pregnant before she fell. When she landed, she gave birth to a daughter. When the daughter grew into a young woman, she also became pregnant (by the West wind). She died while giving birth to twin boys. Sky Woman buried her daughter in the “new earth.” From her grave grew three sacred plants—corn, beans, and squash. These plants provided food for her sons, and later, for all of humanity. These special gifts ensured the survival of the Iroquois people.

It Gets Better- Sorry, Just Catching Up

The problem with my camera and computer has been resolved for now and am finally able to load photos. Here is how it all looked the day I planted the sacred seeds-

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Monday, August 10, 2009

These pictures are from a couple of weeks ago.

My wife talked me into picking one of the ears of corn. It was at the perfect stage for roasting ear corn, what is called the milk stage.

Tootsie, our blue front amazon parrot, approves of the corn. I understand that farmers in central America call parrots winged rats. The way Tootsie goes after the corn I can see why.
We combined the corn with other vegetables from the garden, onions , Anaheim and poblano chilis, tomatoes and okra.

To make this delicious stew which will be served over the brown rice in the rice pot at the top of the picture.

The rest of the corn is maturing on the stalks waiting until the end of August to be picked and stored.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Hello August

Our big garden on the first of August.