The Trouble with Neighborhood Corn

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On August 4th, 2021, as the nation wakes up hung over after National Block Party Night, a.k.a. Night Out, I walk outside into the still-balmy Seattle summer air to jump into my recycling bin.

We only have one bin. Our neighbors somehow scored two, likely thanks to their financial contributions to various Political Action Committees or possibly leverage over the hyper-corrupt agency known as Seattle Public Utilities. But we don’t have their kind of clout or influence or room for a second bin which I won’t go into. Plus we drink lots of canned, carbonated water in an attempt to both lose weight, stay hydrated (hydration is key), and not drink beer (at least in my case) – which is why we considered a SodaStream© Sparkling Water Maker until we heard it produces less-than-satisfactory-sized bubbles, which just won’t due as we’re very specific when it comes the diameter of carbonated water bubbles. We have a tool to measure them and everything. Not that we’re high maintenance. But it does explain why we stick with the cans.

Indeed, I shimmy up, over, and into our recycling bin once in a while and hope I don’t look conspicuous as I create quite the racket hopping up and down on 1000 empty La Croix cans as well as packaging from 265 weekly Amazon deliveries to make room for more cans and Amazon packaging inevitably on the way (my prediction is Amazon will be extinct in 15 years based on waste produced and carbon emissions from delivery vehicles in light of every large corporation’s adoption of proper Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) initiatives even though corporations don’t really understand what ESG is or do anything about it now but within 15 years they’ll have to so things will change by then let’s hope), cursing under my breath, then frequently grunting loudly (with more cursing) as I try and extract myself from the container one leg at a time complete with paralyzing hamstring cramping and other pains resulting from a complete lack of flexibility. Mentally and physically.

One time a neighbor across the street saw me doing this and between guffaws asked, “What are you doing?” To which I responded, “Doesn’t everyone do this?” Which only generated more laughter and the realization not everyone does this, likely because they’ve also acquired, through threats or blackmail, secondary repositories for recyclables. Or maybe they just don’t drink bubble water and are subsequently alcoholics, it’s really hard to say without hanging out with them for a weekend.

This particular morning after a fairly trouble-free stomping/extraction I, as per usual, furtively glanced around to see which neighbor was staring/pointing/laughing at me and instead found a very hungry looking coyote loping along the sidewalk directly across the street. This garnered my attention as I’ve never seen such a creature in the urban wilds of our relatively suburban but-still-in-the-city neighborhood, plus we have a dog, Benji, who’d likely attempt to make friends with this 4th or 5th cousin once removed and instead get gulped down like frat guy swallowing a goldfish during some awful hazing ritual. Which I think still happens.

The vicious beast gave me the coyote version of the finger then quickly hung a right and continued up the sidewalk to disappear like the ghosts coyotes are, making me realize this tract was likely routine and actually the fault of the extensive multiplication of bunny rabbits within the neighborhood. Which I blame on everyone growing corn this summer.

Now undoubtedly you’re recognizing the fault in this logic as you know, in general, wild bunny rabbits do not eat corn because of the potential for gastrointestinal stasis, as well as weight gain and cecal dysbiosis, both of which can lead to a premature demise. But truly the reason they don’t eat corn is due to their absolutely ridiculous teeny tiny front paws which, despite having five furry fingers, are simply too short to reach up, remove a cob, slather it in French butter, salt, pepper, and a touch of cayenne and bake for 30 minutes at 425 degrees. Even if they could, they’d be too busy diligently licking those front paws to neurotically, obsessive compulsively clean their faces in that kind of “pushing my hair back” motion which most of us find so adorable in woodland and field-land creatures but wild animal psychiatrists find abhorrent and thus prescribe 40-60mg of bunny Prozac daily to these mentally unstable, long-eared creatures in an effort to do good by them and simultaneously receive proper kickbacks from Eli Lilly & Co.

But what bunny rabbits do like about corn is its tall bush-like nature and the cuter the animal the larger its propensity for hiding from predators in tall bush-like things. Since growing corn creates tall sets (more commonly known as “rows”) of bushes – and despite the fact they don’t consume the corn – and given their level of cuteness, bunny rabbits certainly hide in/frenetically copulate within this newly-bountiful neighborhood crop which is why, quite naturally, I blame my neighbors for the exploding bunny rabbit population and subsequent increase in sightings of apex predators.

For some reason this summer literally every house on my block and the street due north decided to plant corn in little 2’x 2’ roughly rectangular plastic buckets in their driveways/parking strips. If not located in such a receptacle the corn is literally planted in street-facing gardens or anything that would take a seed including raised beds, lawn ornaments, abandoned red radio flyer wagons, and other decorative landscape enhancements. With our unusually warm, dry and long summer the corn has taken off – stalks run a slightly exaggerated average height of 177-feet. It’s insane. The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) – representing 40,000 dues-paying corn farmers nationwide and the interests of more than 300,000 growers who contribute through corn checkoff programs – is not to be trifled with (I’ve tried) so it’s no surprise that after hearing about northwest Ballard’s newfound passion for raising corn – and determining that most of the people doing so were likely poser-farmers mostly employed by Google and Facebook as project managers with fresh Teslas in their newly-paved driveways who simply decided to adopt this cherished, sacred, and honorable lifestyle on a whim thanks to some southern California model/celebrity Instagram-ing several angled-down shots of themselves amidst various cornrows in an ASTR the Label tie-back paneled halter – they decided filing an injunction in King County Superior Court poste-haste was a great move, wasted no time in doing so then promptly took matters into their own hands rather than wait for justice by driving their green tractors onto our street complete with straw hats, torches, hayseeds and one-strapped overalls and refusing to leave until the neighborhood either joined the NCGA or burned the crop right then, right then, right quick in front of them.

It was a good ol’ fashioned tractor-in with torch-burning, and it was horrible.

Of course the injunction failed because it was accidentally thrown out (literally, the paper went into the garbage) when King County Superior Court was tearing up (literally) the “Compassion Seattle” charter amendment – that amendment aimed at curbing the homeless crisis but deemed to overstep the bounds of what the initiative process can do which is too bad because that was the only thing on the docket for the upcoming November General Election that actually addressed the homeless problem as opposed to using it for political traction – and eventually the farmers, those stewards of our soil and in this specific case lynchpins to the manufacture of delicious chips and tortillas, slowly, ever so slowly, ambled/rolled out of town. Only to be replaced by homeless encampments within 42 seconds.

So the corn stay-eth, and thus the bunny rabbits stay-eth, dutifully increasing their numbers tenfold each week as they and idealistic socialists are wont to do, which is really good for the coyotes as they now have both a food source, permission to build their dens wherever they want, and potential financial subsidies if things go sideways.

Which explains why I saw that coyote the other day. Go figure.

Since I like my dog next year let’s pick a crop trend that will limit the rapid multiplication of coyote food so the coyotes go back to the woods or Canada or wherever they came from. The trick is to get the Instagram models into onions or potatoes or some other low vertical-profile plant. I’m not sure how one does that. Let me know if you can help.

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