2010-10-13 / Families & Friends

Fodder shocks held pumpkins, cushaws

By RELON HAMPTON

Brrr. Compared to a week or so ago, it is downright cool. You can almost feel old Jack Frost in the air at night. My joints have started to ache already.

In fact, sometime I ache where I didn’t even know I had places to ache.

Before we know it, it will be corn-gathering time. Some folks may think my elevator doesn’t go all the way to the top floor because I always enjoyed gathering corn. But I always loved to gather corn with a horse and sled. I also liked to pull the blades and put the cornstalks in shocks for winter feed for the critters.

We would also put a few pumpkins and cushaws under the fodder shocks. It kept them from freezing and they were easy to get to when needed.

Sometimes if there is was no potato hole to store the potato crop in, a hole was dug where a fodder shock was going to be to put in a bushel or two of potatoes before making a shock over them. The shocks with the potatoes under them were the last ones to be used.

Dad always waited until it had frosted a few times before gathering the corn he used for feed. But he dug the potatoes just before frost.

When we raised sweet potatoes, they had to be harvested before frost, also. If Dad got caught with his britches down, so to speak, and the sweet potatoes got frosted, he would take his pocketknife and cut the vines off before he went to work. After it warmed up that day, we boys would dig the potatoes, but I hated to dig them. The same goes for beans. I didn’t mind planting or hoeing them or stringing them, but I hated picking them.

Shortly after my wife and I were married, maybe a year or two, I bought some fall bean seed, and they all turned out to be tough, so we made soup beans out of them. We shelled them out and put them in the freezer without drying them. They were delicious and didn’t take very long to cook.

We are enjoying the last of the beans from my box garden, and they are quite tasty. But they required quite a lot of labor, too, and anything worth having is worth working for.

Anything grown on Rattler Ridge is quite a challenge, because it is a rock pile.

And that’s all from the funny farm until next time.

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