The Corn Frolic: Part One
This past October, Mrs. Clint (a friend of Addy’s), who after hearing that I am interested in living more self-sufficiently, kindly invited me to her annual Corn Frolic. Not knowing what in the world to expect, I was very excited about the event.
Mrs. Clint is a lot like Addy, in that she is striving to be totally self sufficient, and is living very frugally off of her own farm. I was anxious to be in her company as well as Mrs. Addy’s. My sister was in town, so I brought her along with me, as she has been wanting to meet Mrs. Addy for a while now. We loaded our three little ones into my van, and met at Addy’s house to follow her down the winding country roads to Blessed Farms, Mrs. Clint’s place.
Mrs. Clint is a goat woman. She loves her goats, and boasts of the superiority of their milk to any other. She also gardens, and has quite a bit of acreage of corn fields. Every fall she hosts a “Corn Frolic” in which she invites friends and neighbors to come for food and fellowship, along with lots of corn picking, shucking and grinding. It’s a fun social event, but it’s also a real help to Mrs. Clint’s family as they have a lot of corn to manage.
There is even fun for the kids. As Mrs. Clint plants her corn earlier in the year, she incorporates Red Corn into her crop. Then during harvest time, at the Corn Frolic, she makes a game out of finding the hidden Red Corn in the fields. The kids enjoy hunting for this special corn, and earn a dollar for every red ear they can gather.
As we arrived, we parked our cars in the grassy yard, and unloaded all of the kids. I helped carry some tables from Addy’s van to set up for the supper later on. Mrs. Clint was planning a Chicken Stew for the event. The first time I was ever invited to a Chicken Stew I had no idea what it was. I knew what chicken stew was, but not A Chicken Stew. For those of you like me, let me explain: in Fall it is popular in this area to host a Chicken Stew, where you cook a ton of the stew in a large pot, usually all day long outside, until the chicken is falling off the bone. I’ve heard that sometimes they add rabbit or squirrel to the stew as well, though I never ask! Usually tons and tons of people come. Many bring deserts, and all share in the delicious, piping hot meal. It’s always really good, especially on a chilly Fall night!
We had arrived at Mrs. Clint’s a little early, so we helped with the dinner preparations. The kids all ran off to play in a sandy hole in the ground, while us ladies went to work. Looking around me I noticed three buildings, so I asked Mrs. Clint what they were. She explained that the large old barn to our left had been on their neighbor’s land, and he had wanted it moved. So Mrs. Clint and her husband painstakingly moved it onto their land themselves (as it would have cost them thousands of dollars to have it moved professionally) and are in the process of remodeling it into their home.
There was a very small log home to the right, which had been Mrs. Clint’s parent’s first home. They had also moved it onto their land with the intention of living in it while the other home was being worked on, but they ended up getting sick from lead paint inside, and were unable to stay there. And lastly, there was a small cinder block building in between the other two that Mrs. Clint calls her “Summer Kitchen”. She and her husband had gathered the blocks from a building that was being torn down. They washed them up, and built the little one room kitchen, which is now a great place to do the canning in the summer time to keep the heat out of the house.
We all pulled up a chair underneath a small covered place in front of the Summer Kitchen, and started peeling potatoes and shredding chicken. I was given a huge bowl of potatoes, and a knife. I’m so used to a potato peeler, it took a little getting used to using only a knife to peel. They didn’t seem to mind that our hands hadn’t been washed, or that the potatoes were probably getting dirty from the blowing winds. I guess they figured they’d be washed before they were cooked.
It was so incredibly peaceful sitting around with these other women on a beautifully warm afternoon, peeling potatoes and talking about gardening and livestock. My sister and I asked a ton of questions, some of which they smiled at, no doubt humored by our naiveté. Yet they were kind enough to share all of their gathered wisdom with the two newcomers. Every now and then one of the kids came toddling over needing something, but it was so funny just watching them, especially the littlest ones, off on their own, playing and not caring where Mommy was or what she was doing. What a wonderful life this is.
We learned lots of new things during our visit, about milking cows, growing corn, predicting the weather, and more, but I believe this post is long enough for now.