MISTY MEMORIES OF THRESHING


| March/April 1972



Threshing on Crandall's Farm

Threshing on Crandall's Farm. That's Glen facing camera. Picture by the Crandalls. Courtesy of Clinton C. Reed, R. R. 1,Teis, Alberta, Canada.

Clinton C. Reed

R. R. 1, Teis, Alberta, Canada.

A psychiatrist has told us that a person's pets are a projection of his own personality. If this is true, perhaps it can also be said that the hobbies of an individual are a reflection of his values and attitudes toward life. Stamp collecting is the hobby of a traveler; coin collectors indicate an interest in history; Indian artifacts take us back into the misty past. Happy the man who has cultivated a hobby in his youth. It will make his declining years much more interesting for himself and others.

A hobby which involves much more effort and trouble, however, is the one collecting the memorabilia of pioneer farm machinery. A couple that has made a good start in collecting machinery of the pioneering era is Glen and Dorothea Crandall who farm northwest of  Ponoka, Alberta. Not only do Glen and Dorothea spend considerable time and money in acquiring these mementos of the past, but they put them in running order. They are also willing to go to considerable expense and trouble to share them with the public. To date they have obtained a George White steamer; a Rumely steel separator and an Avery wooden separator. These have all been completely reconditioned. They have several old gas tractors to tune and paint up as well as some other pioneer machinery.

Last fall the town of Ponoka put on a carnival of sales. The feature attraction of the week was Crandall's 80 horse power George White, steamer and their old thirty-six inch, steel, Rumely separator. These were lined up on the main street of the town, with two large trucks behind to catch the straw; a smaller truck beside the separator to hold the grain; and a rack load of bundles on each side of the separator. This paraphernalia of yesteryear attracted hundreds of people who lined the side-walks. Today's traffic had to give way and find another route.

The spectators reacted according to their generation. The children had a 'heyday,' perhaps I should say a 'strawday,' tramping down the straw in the trucks. To the old timers, it brought back a flood of memories. Small groups gathered to discuss 'way back when'. For two afternoons, the Crandall's shared their fascinating hobby with all who came to see, hear, and smell the romantic power of the pioneering era, steam.  

During Canada s Centennial celebrations, the Mecca Glen Consolidated School district put on a birthday party that lasted from Sunday to Thursday. On the eleventh of July, a picnic was held at the Red Deer Lake Recreation Center. The feature attractions were the Crandall steamer and the Bud and Ada Huston's team of oxen. The latter hauled in a rack load of bundles to the feeder of a locally owned separator. In order to bring this memento of a former era to the generation of today, it was necessary to load the steamer on their low-boy trailer and haul it nearly thirty miles. The Huston's brought their oxen from Delburne, a distance of forty miles. Neither party wished any remuneration for all of their expense and trouble, other than the satisfaction they must have felt in demonstrating that the 'good neighbor' spirit which prevailed in the pioneer days is not dead after all.