Historical harvest event met with sunshine and success

Antique tractors belonging to the museum’s collection were used to run the roughly 100-year-old threshing machines

Lionel Story and his team of four horses work to cut and bind sheaves of oats with a 1920s-era binder on Sept. 24 during the Kindersley Antique Threshing Club’s annual vintage threshing, horse and binder demonstration at the Kindersley and District Plains Museum

By Kenneth Brown
The Kindersley Clarion

Farming in the 1920s had few similarities to farming in the 2010s, and members of the Kindersley (Saskatchewan) Antique Threshing Club continue to show people how it was once done.

The threshing club held a third annual vintage threshing, horse and binder demonstration on Sept. 24 in a field on the west side of the Kindersley and District Plains Museum. Members of the club harvested a small field of oats and wheat with vintage and antique farm machinery.

Antique tractors belonging to the museum’s collection were used to run the roughly 100-year-old threshing machines. Several teams of horses were used to pull a 1920s-era binder, grain carts, wagons and other items in the field.

The natural horsepower is an attraction at the harvest demonstration, and also at the club’s seeding demonstration held in June.

The 1920s farming scene in the oat field ran alongside another antique farming scene featuring three 1960s-era combines harvesting a wheat crop in the same field.

Two antique grain trucks were used to catch the combines.

Lionel Story of Netherhill, who owns the vintage binder used to cut and bind sheaves of oats and the 1914 hoe drill used to seed the oat crop, had a team of four horses working hard to pull the binder at the demonstration.

Another team of horses belonging to Wally Larson of Brock pulled a cart around the field to pick up the sheaves and haul them to the thresher. The club had help from several people who wanted to get involved, including a couple of youth participants who helped to load the oats onto the cart using pitchforks.

Story had pre-cut and bound several sheaves in case the weather didn’t allow him to cut the crop at the demonstration. But the weather worked out and he was able to operate his binder. The roughly five-acre oat crop was harvested by about 3 p.m.

The combines working in the wheat field didn’t finish but they made a good dent in the standing crop. The field is part of a charity harvest in support of the Kindersley and District Health and Wellness Foundation (KDHWF).

Ian and Tina Coutts of Coutts Agro Ltd. donate the land to the club and for the annual KDHWF fundraiser.

The threshing club served hamburgers for lunch while the museum served pie and ice cream for dessert. Story, a spokesperson for the event, said the club was blessed with a good day for the demonstration.

“We had a beautiful day,” Story said. The weather co-operated, unlike the previous year, and the oats could be put through the threshers even though they were not fully dry. “I thought it went well.”

He noted that there was a good crowd on hand for the event and it was nice to see the support. He said the club had the odd mechanical glitch, but they kept the machines going and got the field harvested. Mechanical glitches are anticipated when working with 90-year-old equipment, he said.

Even the combines are nearly 50-years-old. Story said he was looking around throughout the day as he operated his binder and rested his horses, and he noticed several people got involved by helping to pick up sheaves and feed the oats into the threshers.

People of all ages were helping the club’s members in various ways and he said it was nice to see. Story said the club tried its best to recreate a harvest scene from the 1920s and the club achieved what it had set out to do.

“It was just a great day,” the spokesperson said. “It was nice to be outside, so we enjoyed that part.”

Six people – Story, Larson, Donald Ham, Ross MacIntyre, Larry Benjamin and Glen Walker – brought horses to help with the event. The antique combines belonged to Greg Becker, Shawn Jackson and the late Bob Perrin.

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