“What kind of monstrous creature could have done this?”

 In an ‘against all odds‘ effort yesterday AM I harvested half of an entire cornfield. I’d been nervously watching the situation on the ground up there for the last two weeks. Perhaps lulled into a false confidence, I was caught off-guard by a surprise attack. Seven ear-heavy stalks, model soldiers, were fatally desecrated in one night. While I slept unaware in the bunker.
We declared “Tzav shmone” (Heb: ‘Call-out 8’) immediately, at 6:45 AM, and my entire platoon (me and 5 empty drywall buckets) secured the perimeter and went to work in the 100 degree heat.
Ok, another metaphor might be the stock market… or foreign-exchange. When Forbes, Bloomberg and the Bank of Israel all show the US dollar in a death spiral, it’s time to cut losses, spend the green-backs while they are still alive, buy whatever, (10,000 pair of knock-off eclipse-viewing glasses?) and brag to the gang about your cleverness.

I sold the ‘young‘ but criminally-tasty ears by nightfall. (Ok, gave away a couple dozen to a list of nine ‘Friends’ I need to ‘cultivate’. Worth every kernel, I tell myself.) They call back later, stacked up on the phone like wide-bodies at O’Hare, to repeat the by-now familiar ‘product-review: “Food-fights ensued in the family here; a battle for the most ridiculously-flavorful corn we ever tasted!”
Oops, I’ve ignored the Enemy here: Cats!

corn damage
Yes, one black-and-white 2-yr-old male is the ringleader. We caught him red-pawed taking a destructive bite out of each ear. (Hard to sell corn with feline bite-marks, I’ve learned)
And of course every arm-chair General has a solution: Fence around the corn? I actually favor ‘fencing around the cats’. Cheaper, and more emotionally satisfying.
In a country where every bullet ‘expended’ needs to be documented in triplicate, my old-country habit of patrolling with a trusty .22 in hand has died somewhat. That, plus my distaste for being judge and executioner on a fellow animal who just wanted a handy meal…
There is also the concept in law of ‘attractive nuisance’ to consider:
Having, so to speak, installed an enticing swimming pool, I have a responsibility for any neighborhood child who feels like drowning himself in it.
And so, noting another half-dozen casualties this morning, I’ll conscript the haggard troups in the second-wave compulsory harvest. What they do with any captive cats is on their own consciences.
Meanwhile, ‘Buttergold’ Sweet Corn, adorned with melted butter is as close to ‘Food of the Gods’ as any vegetable I’ve met in 68 years.

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8 thoughts on ““What kind of monstrous creature could have done this?”

  1. somewittyhandle

    To add to the long list of synchronicities: I also grow Buttergold (one of 2 varieties I am growing this year). Of the ‘sweet extended’ varieties, it’s one of the only ones that really does well in these latitudes. Most of the others, and certainly the ‘super-sweets’, germinate too late in the year to ripen in time for summer barbecues. Buttergold will germinate in early May here, and takes about 10 weeks to be ready. 2 down-sides: 1) it doesn’t store well, I find. After a couple of days the sweetness is noticeably diminished. 2) As a hybrid, it doesn’t work out well to keep left-over seed for next year.

    Reply
  2. solberg73 Post author

    A welcome chance to compare notes:
    1) I’ve had 90% germination from year-old last-season ears I saved and dried.
    2) This year I have enough fresh seed for an entire ‘nother crop from the ample stock I bought; considering doing it, since our ‘summer’ here lasts till October.
    3) I did have an unknown-cause failure in fully half my fields this year: stalks with no hint of ears, or if so, pathetic small imitations. I blame Trumpf. (alligator-syndrome: Big mouth, small ears)
    4) Further on that; the ‘failed’ crop was seeded June 1… and the ‘success-story’, June 19th. Can this be critical? I think not. We’ll have more data-points as the story develops.
    5) At roughly 5 USD/ dozen ears (shekel-equivalent) I recover perhaps 1/3 of my gross investment(!) In water, fertilizer, time, and seed costs. As the saying goes: ‘Keep farming till the money’s all gone.’
    Thanks to the Gulf stream that you can grow corn at all in the Isles.
    Tell me a bit more on your experience.

    Reply
      1. solberg73 Post author

        Keen on seeing them!
        I have hordes of large green parrots here (un-authorized releases of pets 30 years ago were the start of it). Pretty to watch , but now I also can’t raise sunflowers for seed. As soon as the seeds ripen I’d need to stand out there with a gun ight and day. Thinking to at least lay down bed-sheets on the ground, since they lose 10-1 which fall out of their thieving beaks.

        Reply
  3. eleanorio

    My dad grew corn in our backyard in Toronto. I have no idea the variety, but I do recall him going out to pick at 4 p.m. and my mother having the cooked cobs on the table to eat at 6. There is nothing finer, my friends. He would bury the kitchen waste in between the rows, and that’s where he would sow his crop the following spring, corn being a notorious soil depleter. I don’t ever recall him saving seeds, but always buying afresh. He had a problem with squirrels, but never cats. Cats? You got some meshugganah felines there, my friend.

    Reply
    1. solberg73 Post author

      Yet another gift from your father.
      Until last year I’d never seen a cat eat corn. They developed the habit suddenly, like the opioid crisis. Previous thieves in PA were only muskrats and ground-hogs. Tough getting used to cute, furry, purring things by day who, at night, gnaw through my crops… and wallet..

      Reply
  4. promisesunshine

    Pleasant to read about your corn exploits.
    I have no farming stories to add.
    Although I think I did say something about corn, July, and a poke in the eye to the kid as we were driving by one of the many corn fields in our area which may or may not be plagued by cats. Maybe it was knee high to a poke in the eye. Google doesn’t recall.

    Reply
    1. solberg73 Post author

      Seems like the original ‘knee high by the fourth of July’ applies mainly to PA. Here I have no folk-guidance. Just the pussy-cats saying: ‘If you plant it, we will come.” A promise or a threat?

      Reply

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