Farmer’s Calendar for July 2020

July 1, 2020

A nearby farmer swears she hears field corn growing on muggy nights—says it sounds like a drawn-out squeak. In the decade I’ve lived beside 80 acres of it, I’ve never heard its rising stalks sing. Nor, during all those years, did I grow my own corn, for fear of windborne cross-pollination. Recently, the big field changed hands. Now it grows other plants. So we sowed our own kernels in hope of reaping a choir’s worth. While working on other farms, I’d harvested the ripe corn in the morning. Shuffling into its narrow forest, I towed a flimsy sack that fattened as I snapped off ears with the thickest girths. The dewy leaves scratched like a cat’s tongue, and by the time I emerged on the field’s far side dragging a bulging bag, I was scoured and damp and bearing enough corn for an orchestra. But this year I emerged from our stalks with hardly enough for our two-part harmony. I’d under-guessed its ripeness until I spotted one shucked cob dropped on the lawn. Every kernel was gouged. Inspecting the rest of the patch, I noticed that the plants were nearly earless. Robbed, all I could do was feast my eyes and imagine a moonlit raccoon’s chomping.


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