Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Harvest

When we first got here I planted sweet corn in the garden. The gardeners said "Too soon, too soon." I planted it anyway and watered it. We harvested it shortly before rainy season started and got a very nice harvest. Lovely plump sweet yellow ears of corn. Remarkably little bug damage. The few ears that were chewed on still had plenty of good parts left so I cut away the bad and used the good to make homemade creamed corn (gag!) for Dave. He loved it, said it wasn't the same as his grandmother's but then nothing ever is. Even I had to admit that homemade is much better than that sickly sweet slimy stuff out of a can. So all was good.

One day the gardeners showed up at the door and said NOW we plant the corn. I handed over a seed packet for Silver Queen sweet corn and all was good once again. Today I harvested the corn. I picked the ears and hauled it into the kitchen to shuck, blanch and freeze. HOLY MOLY MOTHER OF GOD! I have NEVER seen such diversity of bug life! And I have blogged about my critter loving kids so you know I get to see a lot of buggies. Spiders, huge ants, beetles, slimy worm things, little black moving dots. Alonzo particularly loved when I peeled back the husk on one ear to have a large cockroach drop out onto my hand. I am sure I put on quite the show dancing around screaming. Such a girl! It escaped down the drain. I poured boiling water right behind it! Ha take that Mr. Roach! Next time the husking will take place outside right next to the compost heap, and I think I will let the boys do it. I'll supervise, from a distance.

Why the heck did they tell me to plant right when the bug population exploded? I thought that for a few minutes. And finally the light bulb went on. OK Blond moment, Duh! If you haven't figured it out they planted the corn a few weeks before the rainy season started. In the villages there is no running water. If they are lucky they have a bore hole with a hand pump put in by some NGO. Irrigation isn't a big part of farming practices here. Crops are planted in coordination with the arrival of the rains. The rains also means an absolute explosion in bugs as they multiply to take advantage of the sudden availability of food. This year the gardeners tell me the rains aren't as heavy as usual. I really hope it is good enough for a decent harvest. It is mind boggling to think so many people still live with their very lives tied to the arrival of the rains even in this day and age. Then they have to fight the bugs, birds and such for the harvest. If you are sitting in your comfortable house, reading this on laptop, or even your old desktop computer count yourself as blessed.

I need to get back to my corn. Even after all the bugs chewed on it for a there is plenty of corn left for us. I just need to cut away the bad parts and keep the good. It may be a few weeks before I want to eat corn after this though, so it is all going right into the freezer after it is blanched until I am over the bugs.


Kate said...

I love your posts. Even if they make me want to douse myself in bleach and seal myself in a ziploc bag from the visualization of all the critters.

Bethany and Will said...

Your post truly is a reminder of how blessed we are to have clean running water here in the US.

I get after my husband and son for using more water than necessary. When they're letting the water flow, all I can think of is all the women and children who must walk miles just to get water than often still needs to be boiled.

Thanks for sharing :-) Looking forward to hearing more about your harvest! Silver Queen is truly "queen" here in TN...and if you need some seeds, just holler...I had a huge organic garden last summer due to the great herb farm I go to. I'd be happy to send via pouch.


Shannon said...

Kate - That was pretty much my reaction after the roach dropped out the corn husks. I think I blanched the corn just a little longer than I normally would, maybe trying to make sure all the bug cooties were well and truly dead.

Bethany and Will - Thanks you so much for the offer but I spent enough money with Burpee and Park seeds to make my husband slightly crazed. He keeps pointing out how many seeds are left to plant and grow and I only have 2 1/2 years left in which to grow them.

Every day I am so grateful to have been born where and when I was born. But for a whim of fate it could easily be me hauling water on my head everyday. I am truly blessed.

Connie said...

I loved to pick veggies with my family when I was a kid. From my dad's garden or at some U-pick place... except corn... corn is evil as there are so many places for bugs to hide, and so many bugs like corn. The only thing worse than shucking corn and have a roach jump out and down the drain, is to have the roach (giant Florida palmetto bug) jump out, run up your arm to your shoulder, then fly wildly around the room. Have the gardeners shuck it!

Jen said...

Wow, that's a great haul and a good reminder. We are so lucky to just be able to go to the store or the farmers market without worry that they won't have what we need. u