[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 machine.
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.