Nothing makes me miss Pennsylvania more than pictures of Amish Country Lancaster County. In July in Ephrata Township, a local farmer who had raised an acre of oats, harvested and threshed the old-fashioned way and invited (by word of mouth) friends and family to participate in the historic fun.
Earlier, the oats were harvested using a mule-drawn cutter and tied into sheaves, which were then formed into shocks. After a good weather week of drying, the oats were placed on wagons that transported the crop to a steam engine-driven thresher. The [1920s] thresher has a 22-inch chute and was made by the Frick Company. The feeder on the thresher was made by the Hart Carter Company. The thresher separates the oats from the straw and discharges them into bags of 2 bushels each. The straw is discharged onto a large pile, which was later forked into a baler manually to produce bales.
The event drew a crowd of about 50, who along with children who played in the strewn straw, together shared watermelon for a snack. Agritourism doesn’t have to be fancy, folks. It just has to “be”.
There were two schools of thought on preparation of grain before it arrived at the threshing machine. In one, some thought grain matured better and stayed brighter by putting the bundles into big stacks rather than small shocks. In the other, shockers felt it a waste of time to have to haul bundles to stacks and wait for the grain to go through the sweat.
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