dried ear of corn laying on wood with husk pulled back‘Corn-cobbing’ is a word my mom and I made up to describe what’s become an annual activity in recent years: walking harvested corn fields in the fall looking for corn the farmer’s harvesting equipment missed. We do it as a way to get extra bird seed for the blue jays, squirrels, and (in my case) wild turkeys that will inevitably be scouring below our bird feeders later this winter.

We went corn-cobbing last weekend right after getting our free Christmas trees. It was a nice day but the wind was pretty crisp, especially when out on a hill in an open field, so we only searched for about 30-45 minutes before getting tired and cold but were still able to come away with 40 or so cobs. Now that we’ve been doing it for a few years (3?) we’re getting good at knowing where in the field the odds of a successful hunt are best (along the edges, corners, and anywhere the combine obviously turned around or stopped) and my mom especially has developed excellent “corn cob eyes,” meaning she can spot a full corn husk buried in a pile of broken stalks from an astonishing distance.

A few tips for going out corn cobbing:

– Don’t trespass! Always ask before traipsing onto someone else’s land. Most farmer’s are more than amenable though, as the cobs missed by the combines are usually left to be eaten by wildlife.

– Look for fields that were NOT plowed after harvest, as most of the corn will be buried.

– Dress warmly, with layers! And wear sunblock or a hat. It’s windy and sunny out in the open fields.

– Bring enough baskets, buckets or bags to carry as many cobs as you can

– House rule: No running in the corn fields! Depending on how the field was plowed there may be very sharp, very strong stalks sticking up all over. You do not want anyone falling on them and getting hurt. (Seriously.)

harvested corn field

One of my favorite things about living in this part of the country is the enormous sky, and being on a hill in an expanse of farmland, with the wind nipping at my face and whistling through my hood, was a rare opportunity to really enjoy it in all its vast and unobstructed glory. And then it was so nice to get back in the warm car and go home and have hot chocolate!  ♥

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This