“Knee high by the Fourth of July” used to be the benchmark for farmers trying to determine whether their corn crop was on track.
And once upon a time, it was accurate.
That was before. Now, thanks to technology, farmers are able to plant their crops earlier, the seeds are sturdier, and the plants respond.
Check out this plot of field corn (used for animals, not humans):
Obviously, you can’t really gauge how tall these plants are by that photo, so let’s take a closer look, okay?
You can’t tell from that one either? Well, gee, here I am, sneaking around in a hot cornfield, scared a snake would slither across my shoes while I was hunkering down with the measuring stick, and you’re going to complain??
Alright, then, try this one:
By the way, ALL these photos were taken yesterday (June 6, 2014).
And now, forgive me while I violate the long-standing writer’s rule to show, don’t tell — I know you can’t see the top of the corn leaves, so I’ll just tell you. If I’d folded the leaves together and photographed them next to my handy-dandy yardstick, they’d measure 36 inches.
One full yard tall!
Back to our saying — “Knee high by the Fourth of July.” My knee is about 20 inches from the ground (I’m 5’5.5″). Take my word on this; I’m NOT photographing my leg next to a yardstick!
The point is — our Illinois corn is going to be w-a-a-a-a-y taller than knee-high by the time the Fourth of July arrives.
And that’s a good thing, for all of us, don’t you agree?