First Corn

© Christina Moore, August 2014

My bruddahs at the Westminister station celebrate First Corn. Infectious enthusiasm. Checking the ambulances in the morning the thought emerges from one brain, seconds later both crews acknowledge the ersatz holy-day. Returning to the station from the hospital, we sneak to a local sto-ah and buy mow-ah corn than is necessary.

“I’m gwanna eat so much corn, I’ll shit kernels ‘til Thursday.”

From another, “the butter and salt will drip down my chin.”

Oh my. Not my language.

Well, it wasn’t until I heard it.

For three years now, an old song of a fox serenades this first August week.

“A couple of you will grease my chin

before I leave this town-o, town-o, town-o,

a couple of you will grease my chin

before I leave this town-o.”

Tonight our celebration includes First Apples.

Tradition here is 121 days from apple blossom to picking. William’s Pride met us at Dutton’s at noon, nestled in a wooden box next to a lil green apple and a Jersey Mac. Who’d’a knew, fresh New England apples in the first week of August. Damn, we had snow ‘til March. Then it rained. I guess apples still blossom though.

Before shucking, we peel and core apples with the cheater I bought at the fire company auction in early July (five bucks!). Clamped to the bread counter, we spin the apples through a yankee’s vision of efficiency. Zoom, squeeze of lemon; toss slices and all into the micro for 3 minutes on high. Pull them out, cool slightly. Poor off that most excellent fluid (down my gullet?!). Cinnamon, brown sugar, and tapioca sprinkled and stirred into warm cooked apples. That’s an apple pie recipe. Who measures?

Apple Pie

These moist, sticky ingredients get mounded into the center of a pie crust. A bit of brown-sugar/butter/flour crumble for the exposed peak. Fresh grated nutmeg, and three more shakes of cinnamon. Toss that into a hot oven. If I am any good, the pie browns as we wipe that last smear of butter and green flakes of herbs from our chins. Apple Pie Recipe

Now, the team of two splits into separate duties. One for corn, one for burgers. Firing the gas grill, I nip off chives, basil tops, oregano, small leaves of lemon thyme. With a fine chop, I marry the herbs with soft butter.

The burgers deserve no mention. We bought them from a peddler in the driveway. I argued a bit with him, with so much good beef on the hoof around here, why would I buy meat from the cooler in the back of your truck? He earned a pity-buy. Not next year. Too much good food here to waste time and money on crap.

First Corn

Sweet, small kernel August corn cannot be beat! Too much herby-butter, a touch of salt. That earns a full-hearted, closed-eyes expression of thanks. The honor given to the corn. Bare cobs: necked and exposed for the compost.

We did have a bit of discussion about cookin’ the corn. I favored an old trick from down the cape. We’d take fresh corn in a plastic shopping bag and place in seawater near the jetty. When the grill is ready, we toss wet corn, husks and all into the grill. The idea was vetoed (lack of seawater and distance from jetty may be a factor, I suppose). We gave it the old 5 minute boil.

Out comes the pie.

Off we walk. “Down to the stop sign, that as far as I can go tonight.”

I cut down a beast of a spruce after brush hoggin’ the fields today. If that spruce fell left, it takes out the pool fence. If it fell backwards, it lands in the pool with its tops scraping down the house. Using the tricks learned at “Game of Logging”, that ole spruce thumbed to the ground knocking my target sapling to the dirt.

Stop Sign with 4 Holes

The stop sign resolved a mystery, baby. Monday night, 1:40 am I identified the firearm as either a 40 cal or a 9mm (a year in Iraq and 2 years living near a firing range in Eagle River Alaska help). I also knew it was close. There’s a cracky, harsh sound when gunfire is very close.

I missed the bullet holes during all the other walks this week, we both did. Within a few minutes, Bill said: “He did not police his brass.” Picking the shell from Bill’s palm, I exclaimed, “It was a 40.” Pride!

The casing faired poorly on the gravel road. Bill did offer that the firing pin may be traced. Who cares? I hated being woken. I don’t necessarily need gunfire from an unknown person so very near the house. It’s not a crime worth chasin’. Wakin’ folk and worrying a sign is stupid kid stuff (even when done by some grown drunk). Brass Casing

40 calibre casing

At the house, the pie steams when I cut it. Another silent expression of thanks.