The pioneer farmers in America and many of their descendants up to the present time, dry their Indian corn by the methods the early Americans learned from the Indians. The corn drying season naturally begins with the harvesting of the corn, but it often continues until the first snow falls.
Selecting a number of ears of corn, the husks are pulled back exposing the grain, and then the husks of the several ears are braided together (Fig. 165). These bunches of corn are hung over branches of trees or horizontal poles and left for the winds to dry (Fig. 166).
On account of the danger from corn-eating birds and beasts, these drying poles are usually placed near the kitchen door of the farmhouse, and sometimes in the attic of the old farmhouse, the woodshed or the barn.
Of course, the Indians owned no corn mills, but they used bowl-shaped stones to hold the corn and stone pestles like crudely made potato mashers with which to grind the corn. The writer lately saw numbers of these stone corn-mills in the collection of Doctor Baldwin, of Springfield, Mass.
In the southwest much grit from the stone used is unintentionally mixed with the corn, and hence all the elderly Indians' teeth are worn down as if they had been sandpapered.
But the reader can use a wooden bowl and a potato masher with a piece of tin or sheet iron nailed to its bottom with which to crush the corn and make meal without grit. Or he can make a pioneer mill like Figs. 163 or 164, from a log. The pestle or masher in Fig. 164 is of iron.