Monday, October 21, 2013
Our Corn Harvest
There is a story behind this picture, a tale of ambition, tragedy, and indefatigability; in short, a farm story.
Each year we have tried a new crop on our small homestead. We are fairly good at livestock, but remain below-average gardeners. This year we decided to raise a large corn crop in the pasture where we keep the sheep. So we planted corn and ringed it with a wire fence to keep the sheep out, and the corn grew tall and green in the summer sun.
Then we purchased our seasonal herd of six pigs, and decided to put them in the same pasture behind sturdy hog panels. The pigs grew along with the corn and all was well. Then we took a trip to Michigan to see our farming relatives, and a good friend came by daily to check on the garden and feed the animals. She noticed the pigs were getting frisky and adventurous and tried to reinforce their pen. Alas.
The very day of our return, the pigs staged their breakout. They tunneled under their fence and broke into the sheep pasture. Unable to get any further, they proceeded to go hog-wild, and smashed down the fence surrounding the corn crop which was just coming into tassel.
The sheep gladly joined the bacchanal, and when our friend arrived, she found the corn decimated and the porcine marauders hamming it up in the field.
Needless to say, my husband was stunned and devastated when we emerged from the hours-long trip to behold the ruined field, guilty-looking sheep, and snickering, gorged pigs. For a bleak moment it looked as though we would never take a family vacation again, much to the dismay of our children.
Seeking to assuage the grief of their parental farmer, the children suggested replanting the corn in our kitchen garden. Dubiously, my husband agreed and and five rows of corn were sowed the last two days of July.
Fortunately, the frost held off throughout September until pig butchering time arrived. This year we had even fewer regrets about slaughtering the pigs, who managed to escape over a dozen destructive times before meeting their most timely end.
But the resulting pork, tender and succulent, was well worth the trial. My husband had thought that the only way to eat our own corn this year would be to eat the pigs who ate the corn. But today the children managed to harvest ten ears of corn to go with the breaded pork cutlets for our youngest son's birthday dinner. We did our own decimation of the corn crop, as can be seen, and as my husband observed, sometimes revenge is sweet corn.