We celebrated our Corn Fest the other day, when all the kids got together and helped me pick the corn. I figured it out and we probably picked about 4,000 pounds of corn on a third of an acre. We’re going to be shelling this out over the year and feeding it to the chickens, as well as eating it ourselves. I figured out the other day if a family were to depend on corn, say hard times came and you had to survive on corn, maybe get a few wild plants to throw in for soup, maybe a little piece of meat or fish here and there, 15 families could live off this third of an acre all year long, eating corn three times a day.

It’s amazing the different things you can do with corn. Just this morning my daughter came by and got some, she got some hardwood ashes out of my stove, and she is going to shell this out and then put the whole kernels into a five gallon bucket with about two gallons of water and a couple cups of hardwood ash. In about two days that will blow up and make what is called hominy. Then you can take that hominy and make chili with it, or you can eat it just as it is with some salt and pepper and maybe a little butter. Or you can mush the hominy up and you end up with what is called masa, which is like the flour you use to make tortillas.

We have cornbread almost every day. I eat cornbread for breakfast made out of this non-genetically altered heirloom seed corn. What kind, you ask? It doesn’t matter as long as Monsanto hasn’t gotten a hold of it and perverted it into something other than what God made for us to eat.

Having the family out there together working and picking corn makes the children strong in spirit.

We will grind our corn and feed to our chickens. We have about 20 chickens that lay a dozen eggs a day or more. And we’ll eat from it, all the family and all the kids. Neighbors will eat from it. This could feed nearly the whole community and my chickens all year round. I’ve got the rest of the corn in burlap sacks on a pallet, but I’m going to be hanging some of them from the ceiling. The mice will get into the sacks a little bit. They won’t eat too much, but stuff we’re going to eat we’ll keep up away from the mice.

The other day we were out in that field and there were about 35 kids running around, from two-year-olds to teenagers. Some of them had never even pulled a dry ear of corn off of a cornstalk. One fellow who was about 60 years old walked up and pulled one off and said, “You know, that was the first time I’ve ever done that. I’ve never seen corn up close like that.”

Having the family out there together working and picking corn makes the children strong in spirit. Picture all these cornstalks knocked down in a big pile, really difficult for even an adult to climb through. Some of the little guys would climb through it dragging a sack with a dozen ears of corn in it to deposit it on the fourwheeler. They would fall down and then look around for sympathy, but with everyone busy picking corn, there was no one standing around to give them sympathy so they’d get up and dust themselves off and keep on plowing. Sometimes they would step on thorns, and sometimes somebody knocking over a cornstalk would hit them on the head. They just learn to be tough like that.

Such fellowship! Mama and Daddy together, and all the kids playing and picking corn. I wish everyone could have a Corn Fest like what we had. That’s really what child training is about. It’s not about sitting around a house with stern principles. It’s about imparting your spirit, your joy of life, and your goodness to them. It’s done with a smile. It’s done in the process of working. It’s not done in serious sober moments when you sit down and lecture them. It’s done in the play-work time that you do together.

None of those children wanted to go home and play video games or watch television. If you had asked any one of them “Would you like to leave and go home and watch a video?” none of them would have gone. They were all having the time of their lives out there in the corn patch.

Get my new book. It’s called Training Children to be Strong in Spirit. It’s full of fun stories about kids and parents doing things together.


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