Threshing Day

Threshing day was a community event that brought farm families together to help harvest crops.


In the heat of July, binders leveled the field of oats leaving them in bundles, which were stacked into shocks to dry the stems. On threshing day the separator rattled up the lane behind the massive steam-traction engine and the neighbors converged on the farm—not only to work, but to swap news and to socialize as well. All this fuss, merely to separate the tiny grain from the straw.

When we were kids, when they were threshing, we would go out there and watch the threshing machine and how that would thresh and just sit around there and watch and that was wonderful. We had this good meal, this great big meal, and that was really the highlight of the year.

Everybody had to help. It used to take about from 8 to 10 teams and racks to haul the bundles in to the big threshing machine that could thresh 2,000 bushel a day. And then it would take about 3 or 4 teams and wagons to haul the thresh grain away. Usually the one who owned the oats, it was his job to stack the straw—and that was a hot, dirty job. And you always had to feed the gang. We had a great big table in here and the missus used to always kill about a half a dozen chickens and dress them the day we threshed, so then we had fried chicken for dinner.

The Iowa Heritage Roots in the Soil



What is your Iowa pathway? Start your investigation by selecting a topic from the list above.

Media Artifacts

Navigation Tip:
Before digging in, check out how the page is organized. What are the main navigation buttons? What stays the same on every page?