Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Threshing oats at the Rice County Steam & Gas Engine Show September 4, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 6:42 AM
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Grayden Moorhouse of Randolph holds freshly-threshed oats.

GRAYDEN MOORHOUSE unfurls his palm, revealing some two dozen oat kernels before dropping several into my hand.

He wants me to try them, to separate the meat from the hull with my teeth and spit the shell onto the ground.

I try, without success, and then he hands me a single kernel already hulled.

All the while I am thinking this:

I shoveled plenty of oats in my day growing up on a dairy and crop farm. And why would I want to eat raw oats, which I associate with cattle feed?

But Grayden is one of those guys who seems convincing and I like the strong sound of his name and, heck, what’s life without trying something new occasionally?

So I eat the single oat kernel and that is enough for me. I’d rather eat my oats in oatmeal.

Now that I’ve ended that introductory narrative, let’s follow the path of how those oat kernels ended up in Grayden’s hand via this photo essay from the Rice County Steam and Gas Engine Show this past weekend in rural Dundas.

Shoveling the raw oats into the conveyor system.

An overview of the threshing equipment and process of separating the oats kernels from the stem.

Bill Becker of rural Northfield mans the Minneapolis Moline which powers the threshing operation.

More shoveling of oat bundles, a dusty, dirty job.

The dust flies as men and machine work.

Plenty of farmers and retired farmers watch, remembering…

While horses plow a nearby field (left), the threshing crew continues working.

And the straw pile grows.

Finally, meet Grayden Moorhouse, whose strong name, it seems to me, belongs in a western.

FYI: Please check back for more posts from the steam and gas engine show. You’ll meet one interesting character and an incredible teen, plus ride along with me on the back of a truck.

Β© Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


16 Responses to “Threshing oats at the Rice County Steam & Gas Engine Show”

  1. Beth Ann Says:

    I haven’t been to a thresher show for ages! We used to go when we lived in Greenville, Ohio as they had a yearly one and it was always so cool to see the threshers and the farmers!! I have a feeling that a woman from our local farm market was there with pies—or maybe there was another one this same weekend but she was making 60 pies for a threshers festival!! Yum!!! Great pictures, as always, and I like the looks of that Grayden Moorhouse!!! Looks like a nice guy!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Grayden was a nice guy, a wisp of a man. He wanted me to photograph him with the 1951 and 1961 Minneapolis Moline tractors he brought to the show. But I preferred this caught in the moment image. There’s so much to see at the threshing show; I didn’t even see everything. I think pies would be a mighty fine addition to the show I attended.

  2. htrax107 Says:

    Love your photos. Looks like they also had a good day for their threshing. It’s a lot of work but it is the kind of work that when you are done you can see the results easily. I wonder what those farmers that use to thresh that way all the time thought of their work – just another day? Farm life was so much more difficult when it needed to be done this way. Now big air conditioned combines can run through the same amount of grain in a couple of hours with one man doing where half the township showed up to thresh their neighbors grain in an all day or two affair that had been started days or even weeks earlier by cutting and stacking all the bundles.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Harriet, I figured I’d be hearing from you this morning. Yes, farming is so much easier now days. I’m so thankful for the many volunteers, and people like you, who strive to preserve our agricultural history and heritage.

  3. Jackie Says:

    Now all those men need is, “ma” bring out lunch to the threshing crew πŸ™‚ Loved the photos! and on a side note, my Grandpa had a Minneapolis Moline, his middle name was Hartman, a strong name as well πŸ™‚

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Oh, Jackie, you are so right. The women were very much a part of the threshing scene, preparing bountiful meals for the crew. How well I remember my brother and I taking lunch to the men in the field when they were baling hay or doing other field work. In fact, I wrote a poem about that and it has been accepted for publication in the Lake Region Review, publishing this fall.

      Love that strong middle name in your family.

      • Jackie Says:

        I would love to see your poem Audrey…will you share πŸ™‚

      • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

        I can’t share my poem here as it has not yet published in Lake Region Review. I’ll let you readers know when copies of the anthology are available should you be interested in purchasing a copy.

  4. hotlyspiced Says:

    Now that’s work I’ve never done. It looks like long, hard work. Love your images xx

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      I’ve never threshed either, but my husband remembers it from when he was a kid. And, yes, hard work it was. Glad you enjoyed the images.

  5. Love that first photo with the grain in the lined hand. Very cool.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      I do believe Grayden thought I was a bit crazy taking a photo of oats in his hand. But I knew it would make a great photo to tell the whole story.

  6. Thanks for the pictures….it’s been awhile since my family has attended one of these wonderful shows! When we lived up north, my husband took Zak to the very large Rollag show. He doesn’t even remember it!

  7. ryanware Says:

    Wonderful shots. Really liked your coverage of the Rice County show. Glad I was able to say hi at the show.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Thank you, Ryan, and it was nice to meet you, too. Sorry I didn’t chat longer, but I really wanted to catch that threshing before it was done. Next time I ride in a parade, I’ll bring some candy to throw your way.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.