Friends, Neighbors Use Old Machines To Thresh, Bale Five Acres Of Wheat

By Staff
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Courtesy of The Mount Joy Bulletin newspaper, Mount Joy, Pennsylvania 17552
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Courtesy of The Mount Joy Bulletin newspaper, Mount Joy, Pennsylvania 17552
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Courtesy of The Mount Joy Bulletin newspaper, Mount Joy, Pennsylvania 17552

[We thank The Mount Joy Bulletin newspaper for permission to
reprint the following story and pictures — Anna Mae]

‘Old’ and ‘new’ blended together Saturday, July
14 and while the sun boiled down in typical old-time threshing
weather, friends and neighbors of the Becker Service Station —
Ruhl’s Mill neighborhood turned work into fun!

The work was five acres of wheat to be threshed and bagged.

The fun was threshing with a 50-year-old separator, driven by an
aging John Deere tractor with an old attached Ann Arbor baler
handling the straw.

Jack Nolt, Donegal Heights, [left] and Henry Greiner, R2 Mount
Joy, feed sheaves of wheat into the big 50-year-old threshing
machine which handled five acres of grain which belong to Leon
Zimmerman, also R2.

While some of the members of the pick-up crew remember when the
equipment was a standard way of harvest, most of the help was too
young to have been part of the threshing rings of other years.

But, some 15 or 20 men participated in morning and afternoon
sessions, split with a typical threshing day dinner.

This all happened at the Jay Stauffer farm, just west of
Beckers, which is farmed by Leon Zimmerman, who lives immediately
south across the road.

The entire project centered around Stauffer’s hobby of old
farm machinery. He has a number of old engines but among his pride
and joy are the old tractors, old binder, balers and threshing

The wheat, making about 40 bushels per acre, previously had been
cut with the binder. Saturday, the sheaves were hauled to the
separator and tossed into the machine (heads first), threshed, the
wheat bagged and the straw baled.

Stauffer, a handy man with a wrench and a mechanic by trade, had
a busy day keeping the machines running. Because they had not been
used lately, they were out of adjustment and gave a certain amount
of trouble — the baler especially.

The separator, the central machine in the production chain, is a
Frick, about a half century old, but with sheet metal sides. It was
made in Waynesboro, Penna.

One of the most interested of many spectators who visited the
threshing operation was Harvey Hoffman of Rheems, who has an
80-year-old threshing machine and a steam tractor. His separator is
built principally of wood.

The ‘old’ and the ‘new’ were well-mixed
Saturday, but the contrasts were many. Spectators sat on aluminum
folding chairs, while some of the young men grabbed ultra-modern
movie cameras to record for some later day the way of work which is
virtually gone already.

Little boys were wide-eyed at the entire proceedings, accustomed
to combines and balers which blast baled forage high into the air
only to fall unaided into a trailing wagon.

An even older day than the threshing machine was represented by
the use of an ancient Conestoga wagon jack, used to keep the John
Deere tractor from creeping forward, out of place and loosening the
big, long drive belt.

Jay Stauffer, Mount Joy, R2, looks over the threshing machine
and baler which harvested grain at his farm, west of Becker’s
service station on Saturday July 14 as friends and neighbors helped
recreate threshing days of years ago.

Andrew Greiner age 9, temporarily handles the bagging of wheat
as it pours from the chutes. The son of Henry Greiner, R2 Mount
Joy, he was one of the interested youngsters helping with the fun
and work at the Stauffer farm.

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