“Colors burst in wild explosions
Fiery, flaming shades of fall
All in accord with my pounding heart
Is not this a true autumn day?
Just the still melancholy that I love — that makes life and nature harmonize.
The birds are consulting about their migrations, the trees are putting on the hectic or the pallid hues of decay, and begin to strew the ground, that one’s very footsteps may not disturb the repose of earth and air, while they give us a scent that is a perfect anodyne to the restless spirit.
My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.
(Indian corn / Julie Cook / 2014)
Images of Indian or Calico Corn, otherwise known as Flint Corn.
Did you know that Flint corn is one of the original species of corn grown by most tribes of North American Native Indians? The yellow and white sweet corns, that ubiquitous staple found at most back yard BBQs, that humble buttery and salty corn on the cob, was developed many years later, long after corn was introduced to the first European settlers.
Indian corn is also known as Flint corn because of its very hard exterior–as in, it is as hard as flint. This variety of corn consists of less water molecules and less starch then what is known as “sweet” corn, so when it dries, its kernels remain uniformed and compact unlike more traditional corns whose kernels pull away from one another leaving the familiar “dent” around the kernels— therefore earning the more familiar yellow corn the name of “Dent” corn. Because Indian corn does dry compact, leaving the cob appearing full, it is a wonderful little byproduct of Nature suitable for Fall decorating.
And because Flint corn contains less water, it is much less prone to freezing—which in turn allows for the corn to be harvested much later, well into the late months of Fall. It was one of the few, if not the only, crop recorded in Vermont to have survived the harsh harvest season of 1816 when Vermont and her sister New England states recorded the phenomenon known as “the year without Summer.”
The year of 1816 was recorded globally as one of the coldest and harshest on record. Many people were left to starve due to the lack of harvestable produce as snows and frosts were recorded late into the Summer months. Many people in North America and Northern Europe froze to death during the long brutal winter. Climatologist associated the never ending winter with the 1815 volcanic eruption of Mt Tambora in Indonesia. The thick suffocating and wide spreading ash cloud literally dimmed the warming effects of the sun on a massive and global scale— which in turn caused a catastrophic food shortage. Indian corn was one of the few sustainable crops to survive.
Flint corn is most often ground into meal for polenta, posole, or even for animal fodder. It is the preferred corn for the making of hominy and is a popular corn used for “popping” corn—