A scene from the Billie Creek Village, Inc. Show held in July 1974. Courtesy of Charles Felkner, Box 165, Rockville, Indiana 47872
Box 165, Rockville, Indiana 47872
Steam Harvest Days were slated for July 19, 20, 21 and a complete threshing show was planned, including the chaff. Steam power, horsepower and even man power activated this harvesting pageant at the Billie Creek Village farmstead area.
The visitors were offered an opportunity to witness the colorful scene of old-time wheat threshing. The heavy powerful chugging of the traction steam engine laboring to drive the grain separator claimed center stage. A huge stack of straw continued to encroach upon the setting as additional bundles of wheat were threshed through the two types of separators.
A completely different set of sounds were to be found associated with the two old-time methods of baling. The hard pounding and continuous plunging of the stationary baler produced a fascinating demonstration and testified to the capabilities of the early day 'modern' mechanical engineer. Teamed with this labor saving machine was an early version of a farm tractor complete with the steel wheels.
In sharp contrast to this tractor powered baler was the horse powered counterpart. The commands from the team driver, the slapping of the harness against the horses, the noise of a recoiling plunger all combined to dip even deeper into the nostalgic past.
Wheat used during Steam Harvest Days was readied weeks earlier. A binder cut the wheat and tied together the number of bundles necessary for the job. 'Field hands' followed the binder, picked up the bundles, placed the bundles into the picturesque wheat shocks for curing and about two weeks later scheduled a return to this same field to load up the bundle wagons.
Other associated facets of this pageant included a stone burr mill powered by a six horsepower one cylinder engine, a horse powered corn grinder, a wagon for hay rides, plus a chance to visit the wheat field dotted with all the wheat shocks yet to be loaded on the bundle wagon for a final ride to the separator.
Presently some 15 buildings constitute this turn of the century midwestern village. Craftsmen on duty demonstrated rail splitting, blacksmithing, spinning, weaving, pottery making, candle making and others.