Life on Regal-Hill: Sept. 2, 2009

The other morning, as I started out to walk, George told me that he had just seen a bear while he was running the barn cleaner. He said that the bear had crossed the road and gone up the old sap bush road and into the meadow. I went on down the road as I usually do, but cautiously looked all around for any sign of the bear. Thankfully, I didn’t see anything of it. When I got down to where I would soon be out of sight of the farm, George yelled that the bear was up near him. That is in the meadow near the gully going up toward the top of the meadow. I breathed a sigh of relief and went on down the road. George kept watching and the bear went up along the gully, across the meadow to the strawberry apple tree, where he climbed partway up the tree and was breakfasting on apples. George decided to get a closer look at the bear so he took the pitchfork with him and walked up to where he was, yelling at him in hopes of scaring him out of the tree, but he just moved to the other side of the tree and growled at him. Then George decided it was time for him to leave the bear alone and went back to the barn.
George’s dad had grafted that tree many years ago, and they really liked those apples, so of course didn’t want to share the apples with the likes of a bear.
A few mornings later on our way to an early appointment, a baby bear crossed the road just below the county line. There didn’t appear to be any other bears around. He was cute waddling as quickly as he could across the road.
When talking to some of our neighbors, I learned that they had seen a bear with four little bears. Whether they were all hers or not no one knows, but it would seem that it would be very unusual for them to have four; I thought two were unusual and we have seen that many before.
Now we are concerned that the bears will find our sweet corn as soon as it gets ripe. The hot, humid, sunny days we finally got really made the corn grow. Some of the corn is fenced in. The corn is in three different locations so hopefully he will get dizzy trying to decide which corn patch to raid and leave Regal Hill.
Sweet corn has been available for several weeks. Since corn draws the deer and bears here no one grows so much, so we sometimes get it at a roadside stand. To pick out delicious tasting corn, look for a bright green husk that looks fresh, not dried out or shows wormholes. Recently picked corn will have silks that are a bit sticky. The ear should be firm and heavy for its size. To slow the loss of sweetness when you aren’t cooking it right away, keep it refrigerated in the husk.
I hope you will try these recipes with the fresh corn you have.

Garlic Pepper Corn
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
1 tablespoon garlic pepper blend
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 medium ears sweet corn, husked
1/4 cup butter, melted
In a small bowl, combine the parsley, garlic pepper, paprika and salt; set aside. Place corn in a Dutch oven or kettle, cover with water. Bring to a boil; cover and cook for 3 minutes or until tender. Drain.
Brush corn with butter; sprinkle with seasoning mixture. Serve immediately.
Yield: 8 servings
2008 Taste of Home Annual Recipes

Corn & Barley Salad
2 cups water
1 cup pearl barley
Salt and pepper
6 ears corn (husks and silk removed)
1/3 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1-1/2 cups frozen shelled edamame (soybeans), thawed
1/2 cup packed fresh mint leaves, chopped, plus additional sprigs for garnish
In covered 2-qt. saucepan, heat water to boiling on high. Stir in barley and 1/2 teaspoon salt; heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 30-35 minutes or until barley is tender and liquid is absorbed.
Meanwhile, with sharp knife, carefully cut corn kernels from cobs; discard cobs. In large bowl, with wire whisk or fork, whisk vinegar, oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper until blended; stir in warm barley, corn kernels, edamame and mint. Cover salad and refrigerate at least one hour or up to 8 hours.
Makes 8 cups
Good Housekeeping, July 2009