Threshing Day

February 22nd, 2021

This was always a very important day.  Before combines, the wheat was cut with a binder. The machine took several bundles, tied them with twine.  A tractor pulled the binder.  I rode the binder, counted about 6 bundles then lifted my foot.  The bundles laid in the field to dry.  Later our hired hand would put them in small groups called shocks, with one on top to keep the rain off the rest.  Then a team of horses and in later years a tractor would go by the rows.  Men forked the wheat on the wagon and spread them out.  At home, they were put in a rectangle, and covered with a canvas.  The threshing man would go from farm to farm working with all the area farmers.  The machine was run by a big belt from a tractor.  Men forked the sheaves onto a moving belt.  The machine shook the wheat, the seeds went down a chute and into burlap bags.  The straw went out another tube to make a stack that was used for animal bedding.  The threshing machine owner hired hoboes and jailbirds.  There was a bar/saloon a few miles from our house.  Because they were all paid in cash, they stopped there for food and drinks.  My mother would make many pies, fried chicken and potatoes to feed them and neighbor men who came to help.  We also sent our hired man to other farmers on their threshing day.  The threshing man lived nearby.  The workers slept on canvas under the machine.  One morning one of the men had gone-what to do?  Charlie said “Rosie can blow the stack”.  I was only 12 but I climbed up and blew the stack.  Charlie was spreading the straw.  I put a little on his head just for fun.  No hoboes or jailbirds ever said a swear word or spoke to me.  I did this job for several years.  Our family stopped farming and combines took the place of the wonderful threshing days.