Corn Harvest Finished!!!

18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Saturday, October 18, 1913: At last my job is finished. I call it about 600 bushels more or less. This will add some to my spending money.


Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Yeah, Grandma! You’ve worked incredibly hard husking corn. 600 bushels is a lot of corn. You began husking corn  about three and a half weeks ago—on September 25.

On the October 11, you wrote that you’d received partial payment of $12 for your work. How much were you paid in total?

And, PLEASE tell us what you bought when you spend the money.

Based on the information about the number of bushels Grandma harvested in this diary entry, I now realize that I over-estimated how many bushels Grandma had harvested as of October 6 when she wrote that  she’d husked about ten wagon loads of  corn.

At that time I estimated that Grandma had husked about 1,000 bushels of corn—when actually during the entire harvest she only husked 600 bushels. The wagon loads must have been smaller than I thought.

(I didn’t say that quite right. 600 bushels is still an awfully lot of corn—and I shouldn’t be minimizing how much work Grandma did because of my estimation errors.)

Note to self—Work further ahead (or at least look further ahead ) so I don’t make silly mistakes like this in the future.

21 Responses

  1. That is a lot of corn!

  2. What a relief that must have been – to be finished with that job. Sure hope she tells us what she bought….but then, if you’ve “looked further ahead”, YOU already know…right??!

  3. I like the idea of not looking ahead. It is nice to live through your grandma’s time ad it unfolded.

  4. She did a LOT of work for those bushels. I remember talking to Dad about his days doing that by hand. And, the wagons were not filled very full.

  5. Yay–Helena has re-surfaced (not that I haven’t totally enjoyed the writing you’ve done on her behalf)! Now I hope she has a little fun!

  6. I’m sure they felt very happy when the harvest was finally finished.

  7. You don’t have to work further ahead. You do amazing work already, correlating research with the diary entries. I think it’s kind of cool that we are discovering Helena’s diary together.

  8. She alludes to “spending” so she will buy something…very interesting to learn what she acquired for the money. I hope.

  9. However many bushels your grandma harvested, it was a lot! Can’t wait to see what she spends all that money on. :)

  10. I’m sure she’s glad to have that job behind her. My brother got the job of removing the corn from the cobs. We didn’t have nearly as much as the Mufflys, but it was a lot of work, and everyone played a part.

    • I also remember that when I was a child that everyone played a part during the busy harvest season. I can remember helping to level corn in the corn crib when I was in elementary school. The corn (which was still on the cobs) tended to all end up in a pile near where the elevator dropped it–and I’d shovel the corn to the far corners of the crib.

  11. At any rate, it was a mess load of corn. Back breaking for the moneys hey? I bet she never wanted to have corn for dinner, ha.

  12. She may not have shucked entire wagon loads. She may have had help on each wagon.

  13. I read this entry a while back on my iPad but as I read it again today on my PC – it made me stop and think again. Shucking corn is darn hard work and your grandmother’s hands would have hurt like crazy along with her arms and back. Farm machinery was so primative 100 years ago, we didn’t have such things as automatic corn pickers. I will add, my Mother never planted sweet corn in the garden becuse Dad planted so much of it for cattle feed. Consequently, to this day I much prefer the taste of field corn over the sweet corn grown in gardens.

  14. Bless her heart! One bushel would be one too many to me!! lol She was a very hard worker, she is someone I can learn from.
    And Sheri, I found out later in life that I also prefer the late corn for cattle, me the city gal I am never realized there was a difference.

  15. I wonder if she still liked to eat corn on the cob;0) I would love to know on what she spend her money!

  16. […] now that the corn harvest was finished—and Grandma had been paid for helping husk corn—did she dream of using her money to improve her […]

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