August 3, 2012

PUBLISHER’S CORNER – Threshing in August

By Dee Deuth, CSA
Weerts Funeral Home

Having grown up in a small rural community in Minnesota in the 40s, I recall August as the month for threshing the oats crop. Today, the combine has replaced the threshing machine with much more efficiency, and the hybrid
production of seeds has resulted in faster growth and earlier harvest of the crop. But, when I think of my childhood days, I remember August as the month for threshing and – food preparation.

You see, my grandparents lived on a farm, and Grandpa and all the neighbor men went from farm to farm to do the harvesting with Mr. Bergin’s threshing machine. Grandma had to “fix dinner for the threshers” when at their farm. Each year my mom and I helped Grandma with the food.

The day the threshers were to arrive at the farm, Mom and I would arrive at 7:30 a.m. Grandma already had four or five pies baked and cooling on the table – apple, cherry, peach, lemon meringue and usually chocolate meringue (my favorite)! We’d peel potatoes, vegetables, slice tomatoes and clean homegrown strawberries. The oven was filled with roasting beef and pork together in one pan. The gravy produced from that combination of roasted drippings was delicious! Grandma wanted the food EXCELLENT and PLENTEOUS, because “no farmer was going home to tell his wife Belle didn’t have a good meal!”

The threshing machine had been delivered and placed near the barn the evening before. In early morning, the men would arrive one by one each driving his team of horses hitched to a hayrack along with pitch forks to gather the shocks of grain from the fields and deliver to the machine. It was a fantastic parade of beautiful animals, rustic equipment and faithful neighbors working together.

When the time approached for the noon meal, I took a pail of fresh water and washbasin outside and placed them on a rickety old wash table under a shade tree, hung a BIG towel on a nail that was pounded into the tree truck and put out homemade bar soap for the men to use to clean up. I also hung a small mirror and put out a “community comb” for all to use. YIKES!

Following their meal, the men returned to their work; the women washed the dishes in dishpans on the tabletop using hot water from the teakettle on top the stove, baked a cake and made sandwiches and a cool drink, packed them up and delivered them to the field for an afternoon “snack.”

August holds wonderful memories of my childhood. I wouldn’t trade them for the Nintendos, iPads, iPods or movies the kids enjoy today. Life was simple, innocent. Best of all, I learned to work together with others to achieve a common
purpose.

I’m sure you also have great memories of summer days as a kid. Take a moment to enjoy those special memories and share them with your grandchildren! They will find them fascinating and, most likely, unbelievable! And, thank you for reading 50+Lifestyles Magazine!