DAYS OF YESTERYEAR
Remodeled the garage
1095 Woodmoor Dr. Monument, Colorado 80132
Each year seems to be different, but still the same. We must have had a good show in 1987, because all year long people talked about the good time they had last year. Some of the people had not attended, but had heard about it from friends. They told me that they planned to attend this year and most all of them did. We have doubled our attendance from each previous year. This year we had three times as many people as last year. We feel we must be doing something right.
The guest list shows that people came from forty-seven cities and towns in Colorado. There were guests from fourteen states this year. A party from Japan stopped by on their tour of the U.S.A.
This was the first year we had a two day show. It seemed to work out well. Some people came Saturday but could not make it Sunday. Some had to work Saturday but were there Sunday. I believe most people came both days.
For you people that have not had the pleasure to attend our shows, let me tell you a little about what we try to do. As you can tell by the name of our club, 'Days of Yesteryear', we try to give the audience a chance to view yesterday. As you tour our show you can see the equipment, animals, crafts, and all the goings on that were the way of life on the farm in the early part of the century. We try to give you a cross section of what happened on your folks' or grand folks' place in the summer time. There are tractors, engines, horse drawn equipment, steam engines, steam powered tools, cars, and trucks. We try to show the farm family, their labors, crafts, toys, and social settings.
The farmer had a hard life. But he took time to make these chores enjoyable. The men were always in competition with each other, and even themselves. They tried to plow more land, pull bigger loads, plant straighter rows, have greener hay, bigger wheat, oat, and corn plants. This was competition of necessity. The better they could produce, the better their life.
The women were just as competitive. Their job was to provide sustenance to the family. Their skills were many. As their proficiency advanced things happened. Blankets became beautiful quilts, table throws became lace table cloths, wooden chairs now had needlepoint seats and backs, clothes that were just serviceable now became well fitted. They took pride in being able to spin finer yarn, make whiter soap. They made their homes beautiful by drying summer flowers to display in the winter, weaving wheat straw into dolls, wreaths and ornaments. They took corn husks and made dolls. Some even used apples to make the faces. The hay and threshing runs afforded them a place to show what they had learned to do with food.
I was raised on a farm just outside of Farmer City, Illinois and can remember the feasts. You had to work hard, but never went hungry. Most of the homes could not handle twenty or thirty hungry men in the dining room. My mother fed the men out in the yard under the maple trees. I can remember two old garage doors that Dad had saved when we remodeled the garage. These were set on saw horses to serve as outdoor tables. Always there was a choice of several main dishes: beef, ham, pork, chicken. Also sweet and mashed potatoes, corn, peas, beans, pies, cakes, jams, and jellies.
The size of the show and government regulations prevent us from showing you the food part of farm life. We have been able to show you how to: make lye soap, use scraps to make quilts, weave wheat straw, make corn husk dolls, shear sheep, spin wool, and weave cloth. We have shown dolls and doll furniture and what it looked like when your mother was young, how toys worked powered by steam engines. We have had blacksmiths make horse shoes, wrought iron designs made on a wooden forge, what butter looks and tastes like before and after, and many more aspects of farm life.
The men are able to show their tractors. Some of these tractors are the actual ones that they drove on the home farm when they were young. We had a tractor pull both days. We used an inclined sled that was hand made by some of the club members. Twenty of these antique tractors hooked onto the sled, so you could see and hear what went on in the fields. There was red, yellow, gray, and green iron, all of them huffing and puffing to the fullest extent of their ability. You could see pride in the faces of these men, as well as the days and months of love and sweat and tears that went into the restoration of these tractors.
How many of you have seen a three horse hitch pulling a breaking plow? A few I suppose, but how about the same scene with two young colts haltered to their mother's side while they worked! They didn't leave the colts in the barn, they were in the field to get exercise and to learn what plowed ground feels like.
We also had a horse powered baler. The team walked in a circle around the power unit. The unit is connected to the baler with two rods that cause the baler to make two compression strokes per revolution. The men with the horses gave wagon rides to everyone all day long.
As you toured the show you could see what threshing was like before combines. There was a thresher built before the advent of straw blowers. It had a conveyor to pile the straw. It did not have a grain elevator to put the clean grain in the wagon. To do this, men had to catch the grain in baskets and carry it to the wagon.
You could see steam engines, hear whistles, get smoke in your eyes, get hot cinders down your collar, and watch the drivers line up to the equipment. If you got there early you could watch the fireman build fires for the boilers. The old timers used to race to see who could get up steam first without showing smoke.
The engine display had dozens of engines and the machines that they powered. Some just sat there and chugged away by themselves, others were belted up to run grinders, shellers, cleaners, water pumps, and washing machines. Some of them were air cooled, some water cooled, some steam powered, some gas, and some kerosene. Most of them have been salvaged from junk piles and, with lots of blood, sweat and tears, are once again running. You could see a cross section of farming fifty years ago.
This year I haven't listed individual people as in the past. The show has grown to such extent that I cannot give credit to each and every one. This is not to be taken as a lack of appreciation, because if it weren't for all the workers, friends, exhibitors, and staff, this show which I think is one of the 'best in the West' would not exist.
If any of you out there would like to share your time, talents, tales, and/or exhibits at this year's show on August 5 & 6, please contact: Days of Yesteryear, Glenn Mallet, President, 1915 Murphy Rd., Payton, Colorado 80831.