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Corn Shocks and Fodder - 1946

By: Col. Carlis B. Wilson

The year was 1946
As most folks living in the country we had corn crops to feed the stock and the family. Corn was somewhat easer to grow and harvest than most other crops, but it was still a lot of work.

The ground would be worked by plowing, disking and dragging in the early spring. When the season was right, the corn would be drilled into the ground with a one-row horse-drawn planter.

When the corn was about knee high it was time to cultivated or plow with a double shovel plow. Then in a few weeks the weeds and grass would need to be hoed out of the corn. Most of the time the corn was plowed two to three times and hoed twice.

It was mid summer by the last time it was worked out. The sun would be scorching hot and the corn blocking any breeze, which made for a hot job. I was always glad to find a shade tree and a cool drink of water at the end of the rows.

When the corn was full-grown and ready for cutting, it was cut near to the ground and placed in shocks. The shocks were then tied together by a grass rope made by twisting the tall grass which was in the field to make a rope, or use of a grape vine if handy. Sometimes the corn stalks would be cut just above the ear of corn and shocked for fodder. The fodder was used to feed the stock later in the winter when most grass was gone. It was a good supplement for other feed. Fodder weathered well and could be left outside until used to feed the stock, usually by scattering along the ground.

When the weather was much colder the corn would be hand plucked*, pitched into horse-drawn wagons, and hauled to the corn crib for storage. The corn would be fed to stock, horses, mules, cows, hogs, and chickens, and made into bread for the family. Nothing was wasted--the stalk, blades, ear and cobs were all put to good use.

*Plucking or picking corn was very hard on young children?s hands, many times the frost would still be on the ears of corn on an early-morning start. The thumb and forefinger were placed around the ear of corn at the stalk and then pushed back toward the arm with the other hand to pop it off the stalk.

This story was posted on 2003-04-22 12:54:49
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