Thursday, November 3, 2011

Corn Harvest

This is a picture of harvesting corn  south of Springfield, Illinois. When we see pictures like this, it is usually because a farmer needs help and neighbors show up with their combine, but in this case it all belongs to one operation; the largest in the state.
It is a far cry from the days of husking corn by hand, scooping it into a crib, and having the neighbors in to help with the shelling. On a cool fall morning it wasn't unusual to hear the sound of ears of corn hitting the wagon sideboard as the neighbors would compete to see who could be first in the field. I was out in the corn field one morning with my team and wagon before daylight when I was 18 years and by the time it got dark that evening, I had husked 138 bushels. I did it just for bragging rights since 100bu/day was a good standard and I didn't get that on a regular basis. Some of us thought of husking corn as an athletic event. It also was a lesson in management. You couldn't get the big numbers if you had to look at the ear you were husking or the wagon to which you tossed it. Much of it was by instinct. You positioned yourself for the next ear and planned how you would approach the 2nd one ahead of the one you were husking. It had to be mind-over-matter when the temperature was in the mid-30's and a light rain was falling but some such memories helped me cope with frustration later in life.
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