Harvest is back in full swing after a heavy rain to the area. Combines gobble up swaths and fields at enormous rates. Typically you see 2-3 combines to a 160 acre field along with a semi or a tractor with a grain cart, a field water truck and a tool truck. A 160 acre field can be harvested in a day.
This was not the case in 1909. The machines were just as amazing, but the pace was much slower. The following photo is of the John Toth Threshing Outfit. Judy Talbot, Shirley Scheirer, Dan Vanderhaeghe and Catherine Caswell share some memories of threshing days.
It was fun when the threshing crew came. The fella throwing the sheaves was called the spike pitcher. There could be 8-12 members in a crew. The neighbors might lend a hand and your family would reciprocate. They never stopped for supper or lunch. Supper was a hot meal at the house. The men would take turns eating so that the threshing never stopped. If they were far from the house then lunch would be taken out with a horse or buggy. Threshing was a social event.
The women had to be prepared ahead of time as they not only prepared meals for the crew, but for their large families as well. They also took on the men’s chores, such as milking cows. They spent many days prior making pies, curing hams and butchering chickens.
The children rode on the hay rack and would chase mice from under the stooks. The dogs took chase as well. Many a mouse found its way up a pant leg; the birth of a Threshing Man’s Jig.
The Esterhazy Community Museum