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Location: DownByTheRiver, Central Iowa, United States

Husband of the world's most wonderful wife, father of the world's four most brilliant children, grandfather to the world's eight most beautiful granddaughters and two handsomest grandsons

Friday, July 29, 2005

Ranger Sweet Corn

The RRR is back at work on the adolescent psych unit in the Big City. There is apparently this hot summer night a Blue Light Special on assaultive female teens. As we wait for the next happy volunteer to arrive let's look back at today.

Mrs. RRR cleverly involved herself in 5 Day Clubs, sort of a Vacation Bible School, the week our corn ripened in the garden. So I have had the pleasure of freezing sweet corn. Here is how it's done:

Rise early and trundle the wheelbarrow out to the garden while the dew is still on the grass. You need good quality corn. This year was Kandy Kwick, the early variety of Kandy Korn. ALMOST as good, but not quite, as the parent variety. And it certainly de-silks easier. But I miss the the tall sturdy coon-foiling stalks with the pretty red stripes. So down the rows, picking, shucking, de-silking, and snapping the immature ends off. Also pulling weeds before they go to seed. WHY didn't I weed the corn earlier in the month?

Three 100 foot rows of that and I've had enough and the wheelbarrow is filling up. I'm also finished with the six rows we planted this year. Check the zucchini -- oops, a big one I missed last weekend.

Back to the house, up the ramp to the deck and park by the kitchen door. Inside, fill the big pot a third full of filtered water and turn on the flame under it. Set out the tools. A large stainless steel roasting pan to cut in. The new gadget copied from Elder Raymond. I cut a 6" section of 2 X 6 and drilled a hole through the center and drove a 16 d nail through it. Just jam the cob down on it and start cutting off corn. The knife plunks down onto wood instead of metal and stays sharp longer and doesn't scratch the pan. The corn pivots on the nail. Since it's held up higher there's more room in the pan for corn before you have to fill the bags.

Hey, the water is boiling. Out to the deck, fill the colander with corn and dump it in and cover. But don't forget the entertainment. When Oldest Son was a Congressional Aide in D.C., he helped pass a bill that requires that all e-books have a read out loud option. So the cheap CD of Horatio Alger stories I bought on Ebay will talk to me. I aimed the speaker at the kitchen and the computer's deep metallic voice began reading Paul The Peddler. I hone my corn cutting knife. Cold Steel's Carbon V version of the Green River knife such luminaries as Kit Carson, William Drummond, and Jeremiah Johnson used in mountain man days. One of the very best I've ever used, made with liquid nitrogen quenched steel.

The water is boiling again. Corn out into colander, dumped in cold water in the sink and the pot refilled with fresh corn from the wheelbarrow. The corn goes into a baking dish by the cutting pan. The Cold Steel knife peels the corn from the cob like it's slicing through warm butter. I swipe a taste, superb! If I cut fast enough, I'll be down by the time the next batch is boiling, hone the knife on the steel while it cools and etc. By the time Mrs. RRR returns for lunch, the roasting pan is full of cut corn. She fishes the 5 best ears from the boiling water for our meal and cooks hamburger patties whilst I scoop 4 heaping chef spoons of corn into each Glad sandwich bag, twirl, double bag and twirl again and fasten with a twist tie. Then we eat lunch. The corn on the cob still steaming hot, real butter slathered on and melting in, sea salt ground onto it. Life is good. For dessert, fresh frozen tropical fruit. Then Mrs. RRR is back off to 5 Day Club. I turn Paul The Peddler back on. He's been cloroformed in a cheap hotel room and the diamond ring his mother found in Central Park that was going to buy him a start in business as a necktie vendor has been stolen by a confidence man.

Back to the routine. By 1600 (4 p.m. to non-rangers) when Mrs. RRR returns a total of 62 bags of sweet corn are hardening in the freezer, the dishes are done and the table and stove cleaned. My reward is a huge smooch and the knowledge that with the corn already in the freezer there will be two meals a week for the next year.

Now about those tomatoes...


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