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Kountry Life Memories

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Ah, Those Old Harvest Day......
After spending weeks getting the grain cut, bundled and shocked, the excitement would build until finally it was threshing day;

Having just finished-up at the neighbors', the whole community would head to our place and what a parade it was! The kids would run to meet the rig as soon as we heard its steel-wheeled tractor huffing down the road, with an elephant-colored threshing machine in tow. And streaming along behind were all the neighbors with their crews, teams, pitchforks and hay-wagons, then finally came the cars packed with farm-wives, girls and backseats full of hotdish and pies.

As the rig was being swung around and set up near the barn, steam was built and everything was greased, all the threshers headed into the fields and hurried to load their hayracks with a bigger jag than the others.

Finally the first load of bundles would pull alongside, and the driver steadied his horses as the tractor belched hot steam and crawled backward to stretch the belt taut. The one-twist belt would screech, its laces would begin to flash by and the towering threshing rig would start to groan, shake, then clatter and whir to life, with oiled chains and pulleys spinning and wooden rods pumping & flexing all over, and way up above the conveyor the hooks could be seen reaching for the bundles like the claws of hungry vultures.

Men waved and shouted above the din, loads were lining up, bundles were being pitched onto the conveyor, straw was blowing out the pipe, grain was being sacked-up alongside the rig and carted to the granary, chaff was flying everywhere and the harvest was on! Us kids would scrape a quick handful for our rabbits & chickens but the precious golden grain promised feed for all our livestock thru another long winter.

At lunchtime the drivebelt would be slacked-off, we'd wash in the basin by the pump and drape our wet towels on the lilac bush, wounds were wrapped and scratches were swabbed, legs would swing over benches and the womenfolks would serve-up mountains of fried chicken, ribs, mashed potatoes & gravy, pickled fish, fresh milk, watermelons and homemade strudel & pie on long wooden tables. It was an honor to say grace, it was always a memorable feast and time for community bonding.

We'd stretch-out in the shade and joke while our lunch settled and the teams rested, we'd wipe the horses down with fly dope (kerosene and creosote), grease everything and it was time to hitch up and get back at it again. Toward dark, barring breakdowns, (or maybe in the morning --) we'd finish that job of work, load everything up, climb on and the whole festival would head for the next place. 'Here -- try a few of these nice kernels and we appreciate all the help!'

Even introducing a few gasoline tractors and pickup trucks couldn't ruin a day like that ...... next time a country kid waves to you - wave back ;)

Submitted By: David Nohrenberg, fogey@wcta.net from Mn on 2001-05-20

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