Scholla: Autumn Days, Corn Husking

Corn Husking

Husking-bees were not common among the Pennsylvania Dutch, for in this section the corn was husked in the field and from there taken directly to the cribs. The corn stalks were put on large shocks (laub-schtoeck) and later brought to the barn for winter use.

When families were large, as most them were, little or no outside help was necessary, for with half a dozen youngsters helping, along with the hired man and hired girl, the husking was usually finished in the first week in November.

While few strangers were employed, relatives, as maiden aunts or older sons and daughters, who had moved to town, were more than welcome, for the more helpers, the quicker the job was done. If the husking lasted longer than mid November, it meant some cold fingers, for by that time they days were getting shorter and the sun was no longer warm.

Seated at Work

The farmer would put a number of shocks on a pile so that the huskers could stay at one place for awhile, for they sat down to work. After they were seated their fingers would fly and their tongues kept going just as fast, for Aunt Kate would tell all the gossip from the other end of the township – who had a baby; and who was going to have one; Sister Annie, who lived in town, would give all the local scandal – all about the new minister’s wife and how “high-toned” she was and what fancy hats she wore, while Mom and the hired girl recounted the latest happenings on the farm – how much milk the new cow gave, and what the huckster was paying for eggs.

“Wasser,” the shepherd dog, went along the field and stayed with the huskers. He liked to hunt rabbits and when he found one, what a chase there would be, for the shepherd dogs were vary fast in spite of their size so he frequently caught the bunny. Some dogs would bring back the rabbit in such a condition that it oculd be used for food, but the end of the chase usually meant a meal for Wasser. A chase was time off for the youngsters, for they joined in the fun and welcomed anything that gave them an excuse to stop work for a time.

Taken November 3, 1920. Cornfield on Valentine Farm (James Long) along road to corner church (St. Daniels, Robesonia). Courtesy of the Berks County Historical Society.
Taken November 3, 1920. Cornfield on Valentine Farm (James Long) along road to corner church (St. Daniels, Robesonia). Courtesy of the Berks County Historical Society.
Taken November 3, 1920. Cornfield on Valentine Farm (James Long) along road to corner church (St. Daniels, Robesonia). Courtesy of the Berks County Historical Society.
Taken November 3, 1920. Cornfield on Valentine Farm (James Long) along road to corner church (St. Daniels, Robesonia). Courtesy of the Berks County Historical Society.
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One thought on “Scholla: Autumn Days, Corn Husking

  1. Brought back fond memories of my childhood at Bethany Children’s Home where we actually had “husking bees” or contests to see which partnered grouping could produce the most in a given period of time. Bethany Echo periodical records several of these events and their winners. Thanks for the memories! Carl

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