Auburn, Iowa 51433
As a small boy the exciting things that happened on the farm were threshing and haying, in that order.
I was born in 1938 on the farm that I now farm.
Threshing was still the way to harvest oats, wheat, and barley when I was growing up in Sac County, Iowa near the small town of Auburn.
August 19, 1984 threshing. Arlin Sigmon pitching, Bobby Yttredahl on grain wagon, Phineas Blanchfleld on his 25-40 Allis-Chalmers. Larry Ludwig leaning on wheel.
I can still remember standing on the fence by the house and looking down the road to see if I could see the first bundle rack and team coming.
It seemed like on the day we expected to start our threshing the first rack would get here about 2:00 pm, early enough for each rack to get at least one load and maybe the first rack two loads before it got too tough.
Then later, up the road would come the separator pulled by Frank Bachman's 10-20 McCormick-Deering. The separator was a McCormick Deering 22-38 with a Hart feeder and weigher.
The lunches and dinners were also something to be remembered, after washing up under the shade tree on the lawn from a wash basin on a makeshift stand that only saw use about two days out of the year.
It went along this way for a few years, and I graduated from water boy to grain wagon attendant, to assistant grain hauler, and on up to bundle hauler.
A neighbor boy and I ran a bundle rack together one season, and then the next season I was on my own at 14 years of age.
If we got started before dinner I always pitched four loads a day and sometimes five if I was the one to get to the field first.
We very seldom had any extra pitchers in the field, but occasionally the separator man would feel sorry for us young fellows and pitch a load off for one of us.
A few of the neighbors dropped out of the company ring, and went to combining. My Dad, J.C. Sigmon, and Ed Snyder wound up owning the separator. It finally got down to just two families threshing. It went all right till some of the older boys left the farm and on to other things. When we were too short of help, that was when we finally quit threshing. 1957 was the last year we threshed all our grain.
The separator was a good one and always well maintained, it was purchased new by a company of farmers, one of which was my grandfather Henry Koppelman, about 1925. It was used every year through 1957. Some of the tractors that were used to pull the separator that I remember and worked around personally were a McCormick-Deering 10-20, Farmall F-20, 1948 'G' John Deere, 1950 'A' John Deere, 1948 'Z' Minneapolis-Moline, and a 1951 'ZA' Minneapolis-Moline.
The first two years that I farmed, I threshed my oats till we were short of help.
In 1958 I purchased a used Minneapolis-Moline wire tie baler. It was a good outfit, it made a good bale, worked good, but what a lot of machinery on it compared to the square balers of today! Wire was expensive and very little hay was stacked outside anyway so I traded it off in 1959 for a New Holland Hayliner Super 78 twine tie baler. That was really a slick baler.
My wife and I custom baled approximately 25,000 bales a year with it for 19 years. I could always rebuild the knotters, but the frame started to suffer from metal fatigue.
I then purchased a used New Holland Hayliner 275 baler at a farm auction that we are still baling with.
We have a threshing bee here at the farm annually. We had our fourth one in 1984. My wife and I cut and shocked about seven acres of oats in 1984 for threshing.
We have a 22-36 Case separator that was manufactured in 1948. It is in really good condition. We have used a 1951 'ZA' MM, 77 Oliver, 20-35 Allis-Chalmers, and a 25-40 Allis-Chalmers on it the past four years.
The 'ZA' MM is my tractor and one that Dad purchased used in 1953, and used to thresh with. The Oliver belongs to Dave Wernimont of Auburn, the 20-35 Allis-Chalmers is owned by Jack Hensel of Auburn, and the 25-40 belongs to Phineas Blanchfield of Lake City, Iowa.
This year we had our threshing on August 19. It was well attended by spectators as well as volunteers to do the work. We baled the straw pile immediately after we finished threshing.
I have a W-30 McCormick-Deering that I have just finished restoring. We are going to use it to thresh with next year, but the W-30 is another story.