MY CORN-HUSKING PEG

A Memory by Mildred Filbrun Heck  

My own personal corn-husking peg is about 80-years old in this year of 2000. If you were raised on a farm in the 1920s or '30s and you were old enough to pull the husk from an ear of corn, then you were old enough to use a husking peg. This one has been mine since I was age seven or eight and you can see it was well used - the handle is dark from sweat and dirt, the wrist strap is worn through.

Field corn stalks were all cut by hand each fall by a farmer using a very sharp machete-like knife. Then the stalks were bundled and stood in shocks to dry in the open fields. Later, the farmer and his kids would go to the field and pull apart a shock. They would husk the corn from the stalks using the sharp husking peg to quickly detach the ear from the stalk and slice through the tough, dry layers of husk covering the ear of corn.

When winter and snows arrived, the corn shocks would be hauled onto the barn floor.  Here the kids would use their pegs to husk for several hours after school in the nearly dark, cold barn. The corn would be fed to the hogs and horses, the stalks - or "fodder" - went to the cattle.

Recently, I read in an Amish newspaper that young boys and girls still perform this same task on the floors of Amish barns. They have hot cider and doughnuts and call it a "Frolic". I wonder if they use corn-husking pegs? I do know that even with members of the opposite sex nearby and tasty refreshments at hand, I still would never call such work a "Frolic"!

- This story has been edited by Mrs. Heck’s brother, William S. Filbrun -

"My Corn-Husking Peg" - Mildred Filbrun Heck - all rights reserved.  Permission to reproduce it or any part thereof must be obtained from the filbrun.com webmaster.

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