Threshing time down on the farm

Messenger photos by Rick Palsgrove
A golden wheat field is a beautiful sight and its appearance in July means it is grain threshing season at Metro Parks’ Slate Run Living Historical Farm, 1375 State Route 674 N., near Canal Winchester. On July 13-14, the farm workers used a 19th century era horse powered threshing machine to separate the seed heads of wheat, oats, barley and rye from straw stalks. Our 19th and early 20th century Central Ohio farming ancestors used a machine similar to this. The wheat is planted in October, lies dormant in the winter, grows again in the spring, and ripens in July when it is harvested. After threshing, the wheat is sold for profit, fed to livestock, and some is saved for seed. Pictured here, Dave Trotter of Slate Run Living Historical Farm tugs on the belt drive to help get the horse powered threshing machine started.
Wheat stalks are tossed into the thresher from the farm wagon. Threshing is hot, dusty work. One worker stands atop a wagon piled high with wheat and uses a pitchfork to toss the wheat to another who runs it through the thresher. After the wheat is separated the straw flies out a chute where another worker piles it up.
A farm worker begins to pile up the straw after it has passed through the thresher. Nothing is wasted on the farm, so after threshing the straw is used for livestock bedding, mulching paths and gardens, insulating walls, making strawboard (similar to cardboard), and as packing material.
Slate Run Living Historical Farm worker Mike Huels drives the horses in a circle to to drive an apparatus of belts and gears to power the threshing machine.
Mike Huels takes one of the horses back to the barn to rest after its shift is over in providing horse power to the thresher.
Kerry Sherrill (right) of Slate Run Living Historical Farm talks about the threshing process and life on the farm with visitor Marie Tocco.
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