Hear Husking Chapter

 
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In the late fall and early winter, Papa left for the fields about daybreak with the lumber wagon pulled by the horses and Tippie at his side.  He tied a kerosene lantern to the wagon, packed several thick jelly sandwiches, and took along a jar of hot coffee, which Mama had wrapped in a winter coat so it would stay warm.


Papa had to harvest the corn by hand.  He walked alongside the wagon, cutting each ear of corn off the stalk with a sharp, metal husking hook strapped over his mitten.  Then he removed the husk and threw the ear into the wagon, where the bang board stopped it from falling out.   Whenever Tippie heard the banging stop, he came running up to see if Papa had a bit of sandwich he might share.


When the weather was bad, the work went slowly.  Heavy snow often meant that the ears of corn had to be picked off the ground.  Every morning Mama sewed flannel cloths around Papa’s wrists, but by evening they were in tatters; his mittens were worn into holes, and his wrists were raw and chapped.


The best ears of corn were saved for the next year’s crop.  Mama stored the seed corn in sacks hanging from the attic rafters.


When we girls came home from school on those cold afternoons, we always heard Papa throwing the ears of corn against the bang board.  When we ran to find him, he had a big smile for us.  “What did you learn at school today?” he always asked.  “Remember, those heads of yours are not just hat racks!”

Read Husking Chapter

 

© Carolyn Splear Pratt

A slide from the 200+ in the DVD slide show that is part of the Growing Seasons Traveling Exhibit.