The Corn Crop

Finally some rain. It’s been ultra dry since last November and the lake is down 4′ from the high at that point. We picked up 5 1/2” between 8PM Sunday and 8AM Tuesday with the forecast for that kind of rain all week long. Maybe I should have planted rice. The summer pattern has started.

I mentioned a few posts back that the corn in the garden had been nailed by some bugs. I estimated that maybe 30% of the crop could be history. Looks like I was wrong. The corn seems to have grown right through it and is now topping 6′ tall with tassels and ears starting to form. Two weeks ago it was under 4′ so you can literally see it grow. I started with roughly 100 plants and assumed that would be reduced to 70 or so with an average of 1.5 to 1.75 ears per stalk. That got me to slightly over 100 ears. What I’m seeing now is more likely 90% survival and the average well over 2 per. In fact I’m blown away by the number of stalks showing 4 ears. Some of the tiny ears already have silk poppingout. We’re still weeks away from actually eating some but things are certainly looking up. Two weeks ago I was writing the crop off and thinking I was done trying to grow corn; now, not so sure.

The other interesting thing is that the corn stalks are not uniform in size. That’s been the case from the get go but I assumed that the runts would either go through a growth spurt and catch up or just die off. My theory is that the difference in size has to do with location – some areas have more compost underlying than other areas. Just a theory. But the small stalks are getting tassels the same as the big stalks and sprouting little ears as well. So it’s more a time thing than a size thing. Don’t know if small plants will have small ears or what. This is a new variety – new to me – called Brocade from a grower in upstate NY. It’s a bicolor, extra-sweet variety. Last year I planted 3 different varieties and think perhaps that resulted in a less than spectacular crop. Corn pollinates by the wind and having 3 different varieties in such a small space might have created pollination problems. In a few weeks we’ll have all the answers. Except 1 – what the hell will we do with all the corn. Our freezer is already full of veggies and it’s only mid May.

Turns out that certain varieties of Woodpeckers are migratory. All of a sudden we are loaded with giant, pileated Woodpeckers. No mistaking the difference between these guys and the garden variety we have all year. They are huge. It’s hard to judge a bird’s body size but they are at least 2′ top to bottom. Bright, bright colors. Red head, white shoulders, black body. Aside from the size, the colors, and the banging noise, you can’t mistake the style of flying which is totally different than other birds – except for Kingfishers. They look like missiles sailing through the air- a series of quick wing flaps then cruise. Nothing really graceful about it but very distinctive. And if you can’t see them, there is no mistaking the sounds. Really noisy with a loud, cacophonous sound. If you’ve ever seen a Woody the Woodpecker cartoon, the creators did a fair job of recreating the sounds.

And I guess Whippoorwill’s are migratory too. No sounds all winter and then one evening you hear the “whip poor will” at sunset. I was sitting out last night and between the whippoorwills, the woodpeckers, and the owls – it was surprisingly noisy. I guess it’s not so quiet here but much mo betta than cars, horns and sirens.

Can anybody think of anything more stupid than pissing off the CIA? I’m really enjoying watching Nancy Pelosi digging herself in deeper and deeper. And I’m also happy to see the Pres getting more realistic regarding dealing with the bad guys in Guantanamo. My fear was that he had dug himself into a big hole with no good way to deal with the situations but it looks like he’s not too rigid or proud to change course when the facts on the ground are different than he thought.

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