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Granite Falls Advocate Tribune - Granite Falls, MN
  • Hanley Falls Threshing Show this weekend

  • It takes a lot of hard work, sweat and time to prepare for the threshing show in Hanley Falls.
    What some folks may not know when they come to the annual threshing show is where the small grain comes from that is used in demonstrations and how it gets there.
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  • It takes a lot of hard work, sweat and time to prepare for the threshing show in Hanley Falls.
    What some folks may not know when they come to the annual threshing show is where the small grain comes from that is used in demonstrations and how it gets there.
    The small grain is planted and harvested by local farmers and museum members each year on a small piece of farmland just north of Hanley Falls along Highway 23.
    An early variety of oats was planted on two of the four-acre farmland and corn planted on the other two acres this spring.
    Last week the oats were ready to be cut so the farmers gathered at the field, bringing their equipment that looks nothing like today’s latest farm equipment compared by size or power.
    An old H Farmall tractor pulled a Minnesota Grain Binder through the field to cut the oats. The binder cuts the stalks at the base just a few inches above the ground with a sickle bar. The large wheel with wooden paddles sweeps the grain into the machine and is then carried on a canvas conveyor to one side. The grain is then bound together with twine into a bundle and a mechanical knotter ties it off. The bundles are then discharged off the side of the machine onto the ground.
    The bundles are picked up by hand and arranged in shocks where the grain will continue to dry until it is loaded onto a wagon and brought to the threshing machine.
    Last Tuesday the farmers cut the oats  in mid afternoon and returned to the field in the early evening to pick up the bundles to shock the oats.
    To an inexperienced person, shocking oats is not simply picking up the bundles and putting them in a pile, there is a reason the farmers stack them they way they do. The bundles that lay scattered throughout the field would be picked up and set up in a certain way. Six bundles stacked together is called a shock.
    Larry Neuman and Roger Dale of Hanley Falls demonstrated and explained how to shock oats.
    “You gather the bundles, one under each arm and set them on the ground; stack going north and south so it forms a teepee, so the sun can shine on one side in the morning and the other side in the afternoon to dry,” said Neuman.
    “If we did it wrong, we had to do it again,” said Dale as he talked about how his dad taught him when he was a kid. “And it’s a lot harder to pick up bundles that have fallen over.”
    By stacking in such a way the wind is able to blow through the shock without blowing them over. This year the men figured each bundle weighed 25 to 30 thirty pounds and seemed pleased with their yield.
    Page 2 of 3 - One couldn’t help but imagine what farming was like 60 years ago.
    Neuman talked about how his dad and other farmers would hire “bums”, as they were called then, to help with field work. The bums would ride the trains to Hanley Falls and set up tents in a camp. “My dad always hired the same guy every year, he was from Iowa,” said Neuman. He could even recall the man’s name and described the clothes he always wore.
    Arlan Gustafson of Hanley Falls was another seasoned farmer that was out shocking oats. He too, learned how to shock when he was a boy. He recalls threshing as being fun because he got to be out with all the guys riding along hauling the grain.
    The men said they enjoy shocking oats, “it’s fun but not if we had to do 80 acres,” said Neuman. Dale also added that it’s a lot hard work getting ready for the threshing show and it’s always a good feeling to be done.
    As the group of seven men and one woman moved through the field gathering up bundles and setting them up just so, they talked about the condition of the oats and the yield they expect this year.
    “We’ve always managed to come up with a crop,” said Gustafson when asked if there was ever a time the threshing show didn’t have enough for demonstrations.
    Arlan Gustafson planted corn in half of the farmland last year and used his New Idea pull type corn picker he used when farming. He stored the corn and will use it in corn shelling demonstrations this year at the threshing show. He plans to do the same with the corn planted this year.
    This week the farmers plan to go out to the field once more to pick up the shocks and load them onto wagons. They will be stored inside in Hanley Falls until the threshing show begins this weekend.
    The Good Old Days & Threshing Show will be Saturday and Sunday, August 3 and 4 in Hanley Falls. Gates are open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
    This year the featured engine is the Economy & Hercules and CASE tractors, implements and memorabilia.
    Special events will be going on each day. On Saturday an antique tractor pull will begin at 4:30 p.m. Sunday the pedal tractor pull for kids ages 5 to 12 begins at 10:00 a.m.
    Demonstrations will take place both days and include: corn shelling, silage cutter, miniature saw mill, making cedar shingles and shavings, threshing lathe making, wood planer, working blacksmith shop, rope making, wood carving, rug weaving and homemade ice cream.
    Page 3 of 3 - A parade will take place on the grounds at 1:30 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. There will also be music and entertainment, a craft show and flea market, car museum and handmade quilt display.
    A special event added this year will be a consignment auction held on Friday, August 2 at 10:30 a.m.

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