Threshing Days: Diary of a Farm Wife

The Ladies Page: Ms. Ethel Bomberger puts to rest the myth that farm wives had less work to do during threshing days.


| March/April 1956



1905 Hart Parr tractor

A 1905 Hart Parr tractor waiting for a friend. Courtesy of Frank Humata, Schuyler, Nebraska.

Frank Humata

Elmer and Karl got a big laugh out of this one. Then agreed that it was too true not to laugh at. I have never lived on a farm but I have associated with farm folks enough to know that farm life is not just sitting down to a Threshing Dinner. This article is a page from Mrs. Bomberger's Diary. As you read it you may shake your head, laugh or be glad you are not a farm wife or something. Mrs. Ethel Bomberger, Sargent, Nebraska, is the lady who has written the song- "Steam Engine Threshing Days." Every steam engine family should have this excellent poem and sing-able song.

A Thresherman's wife's diary 

I'll send a page from my diary. This particular year we threshed with a tractor although the year before my husband had used his steam engine for power to thresh our own and a few neighbors jobs.

I've heard said, "Mother gets a rest while threshing in the neighborhood is going on. No men at home to cook dinner for," you know. Well, here is just a sample of how things were in the good old days (not so far back) of August, 1939. I'm sure many others can recall similar incidents.

– Ethel L. Bomberger, Sargent, Nebraska 

"There had been a noisy storm cloud during the night and we were awake for a while, so we started the day by oversleeping a half-hour. (The usual getting-up time being five o'clock).

"I first took a three-gallon pail of  water, also a three-gallon pail of feed to the young chickens. Back to the house, I started the fire in the range stove, filled the wash boiler with water to heat for the family washing, while hubby and son were getting the cows in from the pasture and tending the hogs. Then I milked three cows by hand, (hubby and son were milking too) carried two large pails of milk in from the barn to the separator on the enclosed porch, I get breakfast cooking and set the table, then a call came from outside to stand a certain place to head the horses so they couldn't run back to the pasture as they were being driven toward the barn.