Knee high by the Fourth of July?

Published 9:35 am Friday, July 6, 2012

Rachel Hollerich stands in a well-past-knee-high corn field on her farm near Good Thunder on July 3. She says if the corn were knee high, that would be a sign of problems in the crop. -- Mark Steil/MPR

By Mark Steil, Minnesota Public Radio News

JACKSON — The growing season so far in many Minnesota corn fields has been almost poetic. Some stalks are nearly as high as an elephant’s eye, but you won’t hear many people use that song lyric to describe them.

Instead they seem to prefer an old rhyme.

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“Knee high by the Fourth of July,” said Rachel Hollerich, a southern Minnesota farmer.

On the day before the Fourth, Hollerich repeated the well-known words while standing in corn nearly six feet high – taller than she is.

There’s no clear explanation when, where or why the phrase started. But even with its uncertain origins, it sticks around as a simple rhyme that people love to say.

 Read the full story.