'John Turnipseed'


| November/December 1962



Drive a self-propelled Combine

I had always wanted to drive a self-propelled Combine. It looked so 'Kingly' to see a man sit in that high seat and be Monarch of all he surveyed.

The following article is taken from the Prairie Farmer of August 5, 1961, without permission. I know you will like it and Prairie Farmer and 'John Turnip seed', the author, will be pleased to share it with you. It was sent to us by Chas. Humiston, of Grafton, Ill. Thanks to all.

I RECKON I WILL TRY to git Lafe Apple-john with me to run over to Highland, Ill., along about Aug. 25 to look in on the big threshermen's shindig. This time of year I am kinda lonesome fer the sound an' smell of a steam engine. I hear there will be all kinds there, an' enuf threshermen to run them like in the old days.

The other day Hank Schmidt brought in his big self-propelled combine to knock out my little dab of wheat. I looked at this monster marching down the field an' I says to myself this ain't like the good old days of the steam thresher an' 10 bundle teams. The young folks don't know what they are missing.

The snort of a steamer at dusk when the straw was kind a tough an' we was try in' to git a few extry loads thru before dark was something I will allus remember. The exhaust of a tractor is nothing alongside that of a steam engine belchin' smoke from the stack an' steam from the cylinder at the same time.

There was coal burners an' straw burners, an' afore that wood burners. I remember mostly the straw burner we had out our way. You couldn't keep up steam all night so the fireman got up at 3 o'clock in the mornin' an' stuffed straw into the firebox fer many hours afore the rig was ready to start thresh in'. The straw burners was mighty untidy too. You could allus tell where a rig had moved by the straw that was spilled along the road from the rack they slung between the engine an' the separator.

In them days bridges wasn't near strong enuf to hold up the engine so the rig had to go through pastures an' across ditches to git from farm to farm.