Corn shredding was a cool, if not cold weather, farm chore. We would hitch up the horses, Prince and Dolly, to the farm hay wagon. I was not very good at harnessing horses. Bob knew how to do that very well. Out to the fields to tear down the shocks, and load the bundles on the wagon. We had a “corn knife” to cut the binder twine that was around the shock. The corn knife was a single blade from a sickle mower mounted on a wood stick handle.
Haul the load of corn shocks to the shredder. The Massey Harris ’44 was connected to the shredder via the long wide belt, same one used for the corn sheller, buzz saw, threshing machine, and hammer mill.
The Scheckel family owned a Rosenthal 4 roll corn shredder. The shredder was set up to blow the corn stalks into the Big Barn in the space where the hay wagon was unloaded during the summer
The shredder separated the corn ear from the stalk. One of us boys would load a single bundle onto the metal platform and cut the binder twine with a corn knife. The corn knife had a leather shoelace that wrapped around the user’s wrist. The purpose was to prevent the knife from falling into the rollers of the shredder and doing massive damage.
Like the threshing machine for oats and wheat, the corn shredder seemed like a living, breathing, and throbbing creature. Dad fed the stalks butt first, into the rollers. The stalks went through the rollers, but the ears of corn were stripped off and slid down a trough, and into a chained driven elevator that dropped them into a wagon. When the wagon was full of ear corn, it was taken to the elevator and lifted into the corn crib.
The stalks were smashed and partially ground up, just plain shredded, and fed to the back of the machine where we sent up the big pipe by a fast rotating blower.
We fed the fodder to the cow, throwing it down the chute. Fodder provided good roughage for bossy. The milking cows also got a diet of hay from the loft and a dose of ground corn.
The shredder also was engineered to perform an additional task that always amazed me. Some kernels of corn were loosened from the cob, as was very much expected to happen. There was a grate that held the kernels and bought them out a small opening in the back of the shredder.
It was my job to gather the kernels in a washtub and feed them to the chickens.
We did not always get shredding done before the snow came in early and mid November. But there was no big urge. Corn could keep in the shock. We did some shredding in late November and even into early December.