DIXIE FLYWHEELERS

By Staff
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A sight rarely seen today. Dried peanut vines fed by hand into a stationary peanut picker.

100 Cedar Drive, Enterprise, Alabama 36330.

Let me tell you about the Dixie Fly-wheelers’ Pioneer Peanut
Days Show held on October 17 & 18, 1992, at beautiful Landmark
Park, three miles north of Dothan, Alabama. This show was sponsored
by the Alabama Peanut Producers Association.

Landmark Park is a sixty acre farmstead that is a reconstructed
1890s living history farm. It has a Victorian style gazebo, a 1907
Presbyterian Church, a one-room schoolhouse, a log house, nature
trails, a blacksmith shop, an 1,800 foot elevated boardwalk,
wildlife exhibits, an interpretive center and planetarium, and
picnic area. The farm is complete with livestock and old
machinery.

The park hosts a wide variety of educational and cultural
programs, workshops, seminars and special events during the year.
It welcomes over 50,000 visitors annually, including 14,000 area
school children who receive in-depth presentations on local history
and ecology. So you see, this is an excellent place for an antique
engine and farm machinery show. There is something here for the
whole family.

This was our seventh year for the Pioneer Peanut Days show. We
had a good turnout of about 150 old engines, tractors and old farm
machinery. Some exhibitors started arriving on Friday and stayed
through Sunday.

We had three gas engine Maytag washing machines running-two
square tubs and one wooden tub. You could get your socks or
underwear washed free of charge. There was a cane mill squeezing
out fresh cane juice, free to everyone. Peanuts were being boiled
in the syrup cooker. For you folks who have never eaten boiled
peanuts, once you start, you can’t stop until you get the
bellyache.

We harvested peanuts the way it was done in the ‘good ole
days’ of more than fifty years ago. The peanuts were dug and
pole-stacked in the field to dry. That is, a pole of about ten feet
long was placed in the ground much like a fence post, and the
peanut vines were stacked around the pole. This involved a lot of
pitchfork work. After the peanuts were dry enough, a stationary
peanut picker was moved into the field and belted up to a tractor.
(A peanut picker is to peanuts what a threshing machine is to wheat
or oats.) A sled, pulled by a team of mules, brings each stack of
peanuts to the picker where, again, pitchforks are used to feed the
picker. This separates the peanuts from the vines. A stationary hay
baler was positioned near the discharge end of the picker to bale
the peanut hay. Nothing is wasted. The peanuts were put through a
peanut sheller, then given to the spectators.

We had two peanut pickers belted to two Farmall tractors (all
1936 vintage), two hay balers, one peanut sheller and one hammer
mill grinding corn in operation. With these machines, we put on two
demonstrations of about 1? hours each on Saturday and one of about
two hours on Sunday. We had an excellent narrator on the P.A.
system explaining activities to the crowd.

We want to thank all the exhibitors for bringing their engines,
tractors and farm equipment to the show. We had a lot of help. The
seven members of the Adkins family (Mr. and Mrs. R. O. Adkins, Mr.
and Mrs. Bobby Adkins and their two sons, and Mackie Adkins)
together brought several tractors, a cane mill and several engines.
They all pitched in with the work to make this show a success,
including 79 year old R. O. Adkins, who held his own.

We also thank Woody Peters for bringing and working his mules
and sled; Keith Lassiter for bringing and operating his peanut
sheller; Ron Franz for bringing and operating his hay baler; Jerry
Ammons for bringing and operating his hay baler; Tom Dudley for
bringing and operating his 1935 peanut picker; Jimmy Newton for
bringing and operating his tractor on the hammer mill; Donald
Shipes and David Hutchinson for their help in the harvest and
Phillip Hunter for bringing his 1936 peanut picker and the 1936
Farmland tractor to run it. Phillip also did an excellent job of
narrating the show. A special thanks, not only to those listed, but
to each and every one who helped make this show a tremendous
success.

Our next Dixie Flywheelers show at Landmark Park, Dothan,
Alabama will be held October 23 & 24, 1993. For more
information contact Landmark Park, P.O. Box 6362, Dothan, Alabama
36302 or phone (205) 794-3452.

Hope to see you there.

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