Pioneer Peanut Days Show
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.