Drum roll, please! The results are in for the Great Corn Experiment! (click title to see original post)
About a month after drying the corn, I pulled off the kernels with the side of a knife from one of the cobs and placed them in the air popper. It took a long time but some of the kernels turned into tiny popcorn. Most of the kernels had too much moisture content and after awhile I decided not to set the popcorn maker on fire. The popcorn that did pop was nutty, satisfying, delicious. I was excited to see what would happen when all the corn was sufficiently dried.
I began to notice lines of corn kernels missing. I was worried that the kernels were be so dry they are falling off the cob through the slats of the open container that held them and into the oblivion of the root cellar. I moved the crate on top of the box of onions so that the kernels could fall into the box.
Remember the cartoons where, I believe it was Mickey Mouse, would eat corn like a typewriter? One row. Ding! Next row. Ding! It looked like Mickey Mouse was in the root cellar. I did not think that mice would eat such perfect rows before moving to the next row. Then Eliza Doolittle caught a mouse.
This year the mouse population has exploded. We have (surprisingly) not had many mice before now here. First I noticed they had taken up residence in the garage and the chicken coop. Then the front porch near the bird feeders.
At least one out of the eight cats considers herself a mouser. Eliza is a beautiful lynx point Siamese, calico mix. She is the youngest (5 years old) and quite lithe. She went running by with a mouse and Shyanne hot on her heels. It really doesn’t help me to have even one mouser when I have St. Francis living over here. Shyanne rescued the mouse from Eliza’s grasp. “It’s a baby!” she cooed. She walked it around the house in her hands comforting and loving it. Then put it outside. Where I have no doubts it found it’s way back towards the root cellar!
We didn’t see any mouse droppings so we brought the corn into the kitchen and decided last night test it out. The mice had only eaten the heirloom sweet(ish) corn and had left the old varieties of Indian corn alone. I used a lightly wet paper towel and wiped down one of the cobs and tried a knife to release the kernels. They began to fly everywhere upon release. Emily came and twisted one of the cobs. Tons of beautiful multi-colored kernels showered down. Then we smelled it.
If you have ever lived in a house that mice love, you will know just what I am talking about. Mouse urine. Pungent. Doug couldn’t smell it. But it was enough for Emily and I to abandon our project. The chickens will love their new treat.
I know that the kernels would have made fulfilling, nutty morsels of popcorn and delicious hand ground cornmeal, but we will have to test this theory at the end of this year.
Let’s see $9 for the heirloom seeds. Approximately four and a half months of daily watering, tending, weeding, and harvesting. Shucking, drying, waiting. All gone.
Being a farmer guarantees a certain amount of crop loss, however. Sometimes while in storage!