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High Corn in August

The beauty of the farmland in Lancaster County Pennsylvania surrounds me. Along with my own rural upbringing, it inspired me to plant a garden. Actually, first I built a garden. The sloped land I own required a raised bed. Never to do things in a small way, I used graph paper to design a 48' long, 4' tall, multi-tiered raised bed with a 10' tall arbor, decorative overhead rails to support tall plants and vines, and benches. Next, I grabbed my gloves and tools and built it with my husband and his father. I will never again design something that calls for 16' long 2x12 lumber!

After several years of gardening, my children requested to grow corn. I started the corn in mid-March. This is 2 months early for Pennsylvania! I lovingly tended our seedlings through frost by covering them with sheets. If you're familiar with the farmers' saying, "Knee high by the 4th of July," you'll be impressed that my family was grilling and boiling sweet corn in July. We enjoyed delicious early corn and my stalks were turning brown by August. Driving through Lancaster County, I noticed several farms whose corn looked like mine and took special notice of one Amish farmhouse peeking out over their high stalks. I was taken with the beautiful scene even as this yellowing field signified the bittersweet end of summer approaching.

This view inspired the painting "High Corn in August" with its raw sienna fields with sap green dulling to brown. It's overcast, cream sky invokes the dense, humid air of August, while the twinge of yellow in the trees verifies that this summer won't last forever. This time of year makes us both wistful and serene.