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Joy of watching things grow

Carol Ann Gregg Corey Stutchal of Harrisville, Pa., examining an ear of corn
COUNTING KERNELS: Corey Stutchal of Harrisville, Pa., determines potential yield in one of his fields. It will soon be that time of year, when farmers will be wondering how the crops did over the summer.
Farmhouse Window: Having a seat to see crops grow is a great treat every year.

For the first time in many years, the acres around my farmstead were planted in wheat.

On windy days, I saw the meaning of “amber waves of grain” firsthand. Even after a severe storm took down trees, the wheat stood tall and straight with heads bobbing in the breeze. What a beautiful sight.

Those of us who have the privilege of living in rural America experience the wonders and beauty of the natural world all the time. Soon enough, our weather will go from the heat of summer to the shorter nights and crisp air of fall, where we’ll get to see the crops grow and mature, getting ready for harvest.

Already, farmers markets are getting filled with a colorful array of produce. Pretty soon, peaches, apples and blueberries will be making appearances. Depending on where you live, the offerings may be different, but they change from week to week. This truly is a great time of year to be living in the country.

For the first time, we hung a hummingbird feeder in our front flowerbed. I don’t know how they find it, but the hummingbirds were at the feeder within 12 hours of putting it out. It has been so fun watching these little birds stopping by several times a day to enjoy the feeder.

We also found that they like to sit on the weather vane that is nearby in the garden. While sitting there, the hummingbirds’ wings are still. It seems that they guard the feeder from their perch on the weather vane.

The cornfields near my home are starting to respond to rain and sunshine. I love seeing the corn as it seems to grow overnight. Ears will soon start filling out, and farmers will be checking on potential yield.

Many years ago, I was asked to interview farmers about their corn crop. The editor thought that August would be a great time for this story. I questioned his reasoning for creating a story about corn in August. He thought that because he bought sweet corn at the local farm stand in August, farmers would be busy with their crop at that time.

Of course, he was talking about sweet corn. A story during planting or harvest would be much more interesting. So I did write the story, but it was several months later when there was something happening on a grain farm.

Right now is the time to enjoy the best sweet corn. Small farm stands are popping up selling this great summertime treat. Sweet corn season was once from the first of August through a week or two past Labor Day. Now, it is often available July 4 and continues into October. 

Farmers use different techniques to get the sweet corn into the ground earlier in the spring, making the early beginning to harvest. Succession planting and different varieties provide a crop throughout the growing season.

Enjoy the rest of summer, and be safe as you prepare for the harvest.

Gregg writes from western Pennsylvania. She is the Pennsylvania 2019 Outstanding Woman in Agriculture and is a past president of American Agri-Women.

TAGS: Farm Life
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