Farm Collector


R. 2, Gothenburg, Nebraska

I like to hear the men recall
The time of threshing days
When sparks from their steam engines
Set many fields ablaze.

And often when they moved at night
And shoveled in the straw
How the flames shot from the smoke stack
As they fed the hungry maw.

To would really light up all the sky
And give them light to see
For they had no lights to see by night
There was no electricity.

But lanterns served their purpose
Hung on the engine bars
No car ran into them at night
Because there were no cars.

They pulled an extra hay rack
For the straw to keep up steam
And the water boy had no easy job
No time to sit and dream.

He always had a wooden tank
Built on a wagon too
In which he hauled the water
From the nearest pond or slough.

Windmills were few and far between
And electric power nil
He had to use a hand pump
His water wagon to fill.

His sturdy team would prance and dance
When the engine they drew near
But learned before the season closed
to approach it without fear.

Yes, the horses danced and pranced
They really showed their fettle
Round that mighty massive mogul
That puffing horse of metal.

How the men held tight the reins and
averted many a spill
Some times I think they encouraged the horses
So the men could show their skill.

When the straw burner replaced the
They surely had a jewel
For the treeless and coal-less prairie
Straw was the ideal fuel.

Case came out with a straight flue engine
About 1886
Which was popular thirty years or more
With all the country ‘hicks.’

From horse power to steam engine
They were right there on the beam
But finally quit the straw burner
And converted to coal for steam.

While the old men visited
With eyes so big and round
I’d take in every word they said
And the air would quite resound.

With tales about the old days
The straight and return flue
Or the old horse power engine
And the old straw burner too.

It seems on looking backward
Those days were really best
But young men prefer these days
When the combine meets the test.

Looking into the future years
Before I turn the page
What method will the threshing be
In our atomic age?

  • Published on Jan 1, 1963
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