Fort Knox

by Phyllis Odessey
As a child, I  enjoyed the rituals associated with eating corn.  Corn holders, loads of butter, watching  my siblings and parents “saw’ away at the cob.  Whether it was attacking the cob  in rows from left to right or a circular motion or zigzagging their way from the fat to the skinny end:  I wondered if  the pattern indicated a personality trait?

I learned to really love corn when I moved to Vermont.  There is nothing better than going out in a corn field, picking corn, throwing it in some boiling water for barely a minute and eating it right away.  Those in know will eat the cob raw to enjoy its sweetness.

We don’t have deer on Randall’s Island, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have critters.  Squirrels abound.  I was determined to grow corn no matter what.  First we built what I call the corn crib.  Two-by- fours, chicken wire, zip ties, no pest was going to invade our patch.
Deciding which variety to grow was difficult.  There are so many choices:  Trinity, Pay Dirt, Luscious, Mystique, Montauk, Sugar Pearl, Silver Queen, Extra Tender, the list goes on and on.  We planted Silver Queen, a variety I had grown in Vermont.  At the first sign of trouble, we placed a plastic owl at the top of corn crib.

I had read that owls keep squirrels away, perhaps in some places, but not on Randall’s Island.  Our corn crop was eaten one evening.  We recovered and did what we always do in the garden.  Plant another crop. Broccoli  was our choice.

In 2012, the corn crib is going to turn into Fort Knox.  Instead of chicken wire, we are going for heavy duty screening, stapled to 2- by-4’s.  The only thing we haven’t solved is how we mere immortals are going to get  inside to weed our patch.

Alice had a rabbit hole, we will need something else.


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