Since I was there in the rustling corn environs, I decided to take a few photos for the blog, for the advantage of any readers who have arrived here from an alternate universe where corn doesn't exist.
Pointing the camera upwards........this is the view........the cornstalks are way above my head by now, at probably eight to to ten feet tall. That would be absurdly tall for a human, but I don't think the corn will reach its normal height this year, due to late planting and adverse spring weather conditions.
Here's my paltry attempt at a close-up view of a tassel just beginning to emerge from its sheath at the top of the corn plant.
Lend me your ear.......but, don't tell anyone........actually, all this tasseling going on is connected with SAX........corn sax, that is. Yes, cornstalks have a sax life! I'm not a botanist or a horticulturalist or an agronomist, or even a plant gynecologist, but I think the tassel could be considered the male part. The tassel releases its pollen, which falls down upon the cornsilk strands, which have emerged from the stalk about halfway down the corn plant. I would say they are the female part. The strands of cornsilk lead downwards into where the ear of corn will form (in sort of a uterus); each strand of silk will produce one corn kernel on the ear of corn. I think that's how it works, anyhow. If I'm wrong........please, someone set me straight!
Well, after seeing all these amazing reproductory sights, I was ready to leave the confines of the soppy, wet cornfield.......my camera was getting dripped on. Corn plants are made to catch and hold water, which they do very well. Also, the sharp leaf edges are very apt to cause itching or slice your eyeball, so a cornfield is truly not a comfortable, safe place to spend much time in. And, if you have toddlers around.......it is one place you NEVER ever want them to end up lost in!!
The cornstalks stubbornly barred my way from leaving the field, however, and threatened to STALK me in the future, unless I promised to add plenty of "CORN-trast" to one of their photos........which I tried to do with this final scene. I hope they are satisfied!! (They erroneously assumed I have Photoshop, but really it is archaic Picture-It........I didn't enlighten them.)
I also just realized that I failed to explain what "detasseling" is all about. Well.......you can probably deduce what it involves.........removing the tassel. That needs to be done in fields where the corn is being grown for seed. Usually there are two "male" rows to every six "female" rows, if I remember right. When I detasseled as a teenager, we would walk through the "female" rows------which had already had most of their tops cut off by a machine-----pulling out what remained of the tassels. The pollen from the two "male" rows would then pollinate the silks on the "female" rows. That is how different hybrids of corn are developed and produced for seed.
Detasseling was..... well...... not exactly the most pleasant job in the world, but when you're a teenager, just being with a group of your friends is fun.......so we usually had a pretty-darn good time. We'd laugh and gossip and joke our way across the fields. Most of the seed corn fields we worked in were located right south of Waterloo, Iowa, in Orange Township. I worked on DeKalb crews, if I remember right. We made $1.50 per hour! I pulled in $150 one summer, and, wow, did I ever feel wealthy!! It was used for back-to-school shopping, though.....:(
We'd start very early in the mornings, of course, when the cornfields were sopping wet. We'd quickly be drenched, our shoes caked with heavy globs of mud. Then the sun would rise higher and hotter in the sky and the fields would get very steamy. Yuck, yuck. Porta-potties had not yet been invented back in the Dark Ages of the early 1970's (also part of that murky era before the advent of cell phones, VCR's, CD's, DVD's, iPOD's). So-----if you can imagine-----we'd have to traipse into someone's farmhouse, in our dirty duds, to use the bathroom. I don't think we went in the fields......for there were boys' crews around, too. Nowadays, the crews are mixed, and when my daughter detasseled, she came home grossed out one day because she had accidently walked up to a boy who was relieving himself in the field. I'm happy our crews were segregated, I guess.
So, yes, if you weren't acquainted with the details of corn sax and detasseling before this......well, consider yourself informed, as of this reading! Aren't you lucky!! Actually, the truth is.......farms are saturated with SAX.......its all around! In the fields, in the barn, in the sheds......even the tractors get involved!! Egads.......hydraulic hoses and hook-ups on tractors have "female" parts and "male" parts. Imagine my mortification when I've been sent by Husband to get parts for the tractor and I have to speak these words across the counter to the poker-faced parts man: "I've been sent to get a male end for this hose.......do you have one that will fit?" And, yes, that's what they're called, officially......."male" and "female" ends! So, you have to say it that way!! And, people wonder why I'm so meek and quiet.