Corn, Corn on the Range

Dear Friends,

This is a post about a trip.

A trip we took this Summer, my family and me.

A trip into the high ranch country of Northern Nebraska.

A trip to freeze sweet corn with Da' Boss.

You can see he's a real 'hard-case', this uncle of my husband's.

You should be shaking in your shoes!

Sorry, couldn't keep that in any more.

I'd call uncle Gary a softy... but I'm not sure there's a guy out there that appreciates that title.
And I want to be invited back... so I'll try to be good.

I know, I know...
I'll let you know how that works out!


Now, there is one small matter about staying at the ranch on which I would like to elaborate.
What? What do you mean, Is-there-any-subject-on-which-you-don't-elaborate?
I'll have you to know there is a whole lot I keep to myself, like how much cake I scarfed last night after the kids went to bed, the number of blogs I lurked on and what the scale said this morning.
So there.

Anyway, about that certain matter...
We planned to stay in a tent.

I said A TENT ---

No gasps? No outrage? No outcries of sympathy.

I've heard of people who like - dare I say - love sleeping in tents. I think I may even know a few. Distantly.

Women in my immediate family do not, as in, do-not-never-will-no-no-no-can't make-me-wont-do-it-so-absolutely-do-not fall into that category. We are very poor tent-dwellers. It's something about the mugginess, the bug noises, the not being able to stand up straight to get dressed and the total lack of organization.

That said, there were two, and only two, things that made me agree to sleeping in a tent.

1.) My children begging to camp-out, reminding me of the fact that, as a child, I USED to  be quite enchanted at the idea of a tent. We even did it a few times. My mom hated it. I remember one very eventful tent night that involved me waking up scared that dad had left our clothes for the church convention we were headed to hanging on a tree outside in the rain (he hadn't, a great relief to my poor fashion-ravaged teenage mind) and then waking up a short-time later screaming that 'there was something alive in our tent' --- it was---- wait for it---- MY SISTER and she was, happily, very much alive! I still swear her sleep-tousled head looked exactly like a raccoon. Maybe that was the beginning of my tent trauma.

Regardless, when it comes to my children, it doesn't matter how much I explain that the idea of a tent and the reality of a tent are two very different things. They have to figure that out for themselves. 

The other thing that did it for me was this:

2.) The prospect of watching three tired humans, of the male species trying to set up a tent at two in the morning.

Put on your night-vision goggles and come along...

It was then, and only then that I got out of the vehicle.
That's the kinda girl I am.

It was an interesting night in the tent; bitten by chiggers, too hot for pajamas, let alone a sleeping bag, kept awake by strange noises -- the sounds of nature, I'm told by my oh-so-helpful husband. I told him to tell Nature to pipe-down, I was try'na sleep. When I did finally get to sleep I was haunted by nightmares of standing in a pup-tent trying to put on a ballgown ensemble from the 1800's complete with 37 undergarments, a hoop skirt and a train. The contents of 212 suitcases, while once nicely packed now littered the floor around me. I was saved from the shuffling, floundering, suffocating, corseted death of my nightmare by the sun shining in the flaps of the tent.

It was five o'clock.
In the Morning.

I discovered another thing I don't like about tents.
And don't you dare laugh at me you, float-on-the-breeze-hair-in-the-right-place-morning-person! I know you are out there.

Now, before I move on to the events of the day, there is one more very important thing you should know: 

All tent inhabitants are not created equal.
Some, like this one, wake us just as cute and cheery as ever.

Some are not so lucky.


The corn was ripe and ready, waiting for us in the field.

Things around here are progressing. The ears are now collected in the bucket of this skid-steer instead of in the shoulder satchels of yester-year.

No such luck for pickers.

They are still human.

The field was long.

They got sweaty, dew-drenched and the corn scratched every exposed piece of skin.

These pictures and commentary come from OUTSIDE the field.
 Hey, I did my time. Two years of detasseling, my friends.

'nuff' said.

My children were quick to find other things to do.
They know how to run from work.
Their daddy says they got that from me.
I tell their daddy to bring me another slice of cake.

Being cute is a full-time job, don'cha know?
So is being sassy. And believe me when I say she keeps herself fully employed.

This is T-boy wishing his mother would stop taking his picture.

This is T-boy threatening his camera-wielding-mother with a dirt-clod.

Not Pictured: His mother laughing hysterically while scooping T-boy up, tickling him until he squealed and kissing his stinky little head.

Pipster was the best picker of all. His speed and accuracy were a wonder to all who beheld it. Only his mother saw it, actually. But she thought it was a wonder all the same. That single ear of corn represented a bright and beautiful future. A future where there will always be enough hands to pick sweetcorn and I, the mother, will never have to take a step into that field to pick.

I keep plenty busy with more important things. Like holding pudgy hands in mine while we take a little walk-about.

And watching little legs taking the little boy further and further on an adventure of his own.
Maybe he's looking for snakes...

Oh! Found one!
(Close enough for my taste)

I'm needed to watch him cover himself in dust.

I need to marvel at the simple ambition of a boy in getting himself dirty.

I must stay just close enough to catch him if he falls as he climbs up, over

And back down.

If I'm lucky about that time they will be done picking and it will be time to head to the corn-shed.

The corn stalks, now relieved of their precious produce, sway gently in the breeze.
Depleted, they seem to wave goodbye.

We are quite the crew.

Aunts and Uncles


My husband

My children


Family and friends

Oh, and I was there too!

Quite the corny crew!


This is where the magic happens.

Shuck, wash, cut, wash, wash, cut, measure, bag, freeze, repeat


The little ones found things to keep them busy as the hours went by.

T-boy climbed the walls like a monkey.

Pip found his spot right away.
What could be better than wet, messy and underfoot?


Jeffrey's grandmother is such a dear lady. She makes sure we all get fed. We love her for that. And well, for a lot of other reasons too!

But food's a pretty important thing around here, ya know?

As for my brothers? They were happy to help.
Especially if it meant riding over to the house to get something or other.
Amazing how willing a boy becomes when it involves a four-wheeler.
I'll have to remember this!

"Oh errand boy! yoo-hoo!"


----- To be continued ------

A Corn-husker  in NE


  1. From someone who tented all over the middle and eastern part of this country, I thought I would like to be a tenter, too. Then I realized who did all the work to make the tenting go. My mother.
    Who planned, bought, cooked, cleaned, etc, out in the open for two weeks at campgrounds that sometimes had showers and sometimes not, and I gave up the idea, or should I say ran from it with everything I had.


  2. I mean I did that all when I was a kid.

  3. For some reason I had you figured for a tent girl. ;-) I would have been the one sleeping in the car, that counts as roughing it right?

    Looks like you had a grand time...documenting it all that is.

  4. There is nothing better than frozen sweet corn in the winter. Makes all the hard work worth it. I agree with the tent thing we got one for our wedding and I think we have slept in it 4 nights and we will be married 4 years in a couple of months. :)

  5. dear Tents are for Roughnecks,

    Oh yes, the tent thing. All the romance ENDS when you grow up and have kids!(IMO)

    Gotta LOVE the sweetcorn

  6. p.s.
    I'm talkin' about TENT~romance.
    hotels,cabins, even a camper would do for me

  7. Tents have their places, and convention is NOT one of them! (IMO!)

    But take it from me - someone who never thought she would be a tent-dweller - a girl has got to have her RULES! I have three rules - scratch that - FOUR rules that can NOT be broken if I'm going to be a tent-dweller:
    #1. BIG. If the tent isn't at least 3x the size it needs to be to hold our family of four, it's not big enough. And that also means tall enough to stand and stretch my hands above my head.
    #2. BED. Forget an air mattress, AIR BED is what I'm talking about! (another reason a BIG tent is a must!)
    #3. NO ONE but Mom & Dad open the tent door. It minimizes the bugs inside the tent. Spraying the door and around the door with bug spray (good smelling herbal armor) doesn't hurt either.
    #4. SUB ZERO sleeping bags! (and a sheet if it's to be hot.) Because as it turns out, a charming camping trip up in the mountains in the middle of NOWHERE Wyoming is not so charming when the temperature drops 13 degrees lower than forecasted. Can you say frost on the ground in July?!

    one happy tent-dwelling camper in Western Nebraska

    P.S. Tylenol PM helps block out the sounds of nature. It's a beautiful thing, really!

  8. Ditto on what your mama wrote--nuff said!!!

    Great post Raimie!

  9. I just saw at least three of the people in these pictures last week along with a few other of your rellies. Am I getting the feeling that the loggerhead side of the family doesn't quite know what to do with your blog. :) Sat right behind C&C at C#2. Cute kids! Forgot to ask their names...


Thank you for stopping by. Your comments make me smile.