Sunday, August 9, 2015


Farm life is a lot of work and some jobs are so big that they require the big guns- huge family gatherings with lots of helping hands.  Think Ree Drummond:  Pioneer Woman.  Since we don’t have family around here, over the years we have found a surrogate family that we bounce into whenever extra hands are needed.  Enter the Hurds.  Andy met Aaron at work… they probably bonded day 1 over their shared crude humor and willingness to try anything once.  We usually call Aaron “Double A” since my sister’s name is also Erin and it gets confusing.  AA has made several appearances in our blog since he is always our country life savior.  Aaron’s wife is Shannon and they have two school-aged boys.  The family all congregates at Rita’s house, Aaron’s mom.  Rita is the 90lb, tough-as-nails matriarch of the family with a heart of gold and can toss heavier loads of chopped wood than Andy.  Also included in these family gatherings are Aaron’s sister, Heather, her husband Mark, and their two boys.

Last night, after a to-die-for dinner of smoked chicken at Aaron’s house, Aaron casually asks what we are doing Sunday.  Still stuffed with chicken, the warning bells did not clang fast enough as Andy proclaimed we were free.  “Great!”, Aaron replied.  “We are doing corn tomorrow.”

My first experience with corning was 2 years ago.  Andy was in China on business and I was home with then 3-year-old E and 1-year-old F.  Aaron had checked up on me several times while Andy was out of town so I thought when I was invited over to Rita’s to have supper and help freeze corn that he felt bad I was home alone and was trying to feed me something other than the traditional cereal and pancake diet I consume whenever Andy is not home.  6 hours later, 75 bags of corn ready for the freezer and drenched in gallons of sweat I realized I should always get more information any time Aaron calls.

Flash forward two years.  “You want to help corn in the morning?” The question loomed in the air. Andy, having no idea what he is getting into agreed quickly.  Even though I like to dramatically complain about it and tease Aaron about roping me into the corn day from hell, I actually had a good time and just used my last bag of corn from two years ago so I was ready for another round.  I was also prepared this time.  Mean person that I am, I decided to enact a bit of payback and give Andy NO information about the coming day.  Mwahaha.

The day begins with picking corn from Rita’s land.  A whole truck bed is filled and then driven to a shaded area for shucking.  Everyone, including all the kids lend a hand shucking the hundreds of ear of corn.  
F is a shucking pro!  Serious Iowa boy
Aaron and Andy 
Heather, Rita and boys
My first year, I showed up after this task was complete and thought I had gotten out of all the hard work!  Again, this year I decided to leave Andy in the dark knowing he too probably thought the big job was over.  I’m a bad, bad person.
All corn shucked
Before the actual big job of boiling the corn, cooling it, cutting it from the cob and then bagging it, the whole family takes a break to have “dinner” (which is lunch to rural Iowans).  On these big family work days, dinner can range from a roast that has been in the crockpot since morning to cold cut sandwich fixings. 

After dinner, the kids scatter and the adults get to boiling huge pots of water, washing the corn and prepping the cutting and bagging stations.  

The worst part of corning is just dealing with Mother Nature.  This year luckily wasn’t too hot, only with a predicted high of 77 but by the end of the two hour boil, cut and bag, the kitchen was a whopping 85 degrees.  Add a baby to that and you are talking some serious boob sweat.
Bagging corn with L.  2 years ago, this was me with F.

Despite the heat, the friendly banter between adults throughout the work (which included a reoccurring 6" long and 1/2" wide dick joke) and the antics of the kids which ranged in age from 7 months to 11 years makes the whole job fun.   
Andy and A ready with the electric knives
Kid lego set-up
L watching the big kids
F after a push pop
Some sort of Hunger Games war set up which included nerf guns and a bow
All said and done, we completed 60 2-cup bags, 5 4-cup bags and 10 1-cup bags of corn ready for 4 family’s freezers.  

I may never want to see corn again but at least if I change my mind, I have farm-fresh corn ready to go.

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