17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Monday, November 18, 1912: I’m half way out of something that I worried about before school started, and that was that I was afraid I’d have to miss school when Pa had his threshing done. They started today and well I went to school today, too. So glad I don’t have to miss, that would be too bad for me.
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
In the days before combines, threshing machines separated wheat (and other small grains) from the straw. Huge steam-operated threshing machines went from farm to farm. It took lots of labor to operate them —and the men who came to help expected a big meal.
I’m amazed that Grandma had worried about the possibility of missing school for months. (I think that I might have looked forward to missing school when the threshers came, rather than dreading the possibility). In any case, I’m glad Grandma didn’t have to stay home and help with the cooking, serving, and cleaning up if she didn’t want to.
The wheat would have been cut in late July and put into sheaves to dry for a while before it was threshed. I’m surprised how late in the year it was threshed. The previous year, it was done on September 13.
Here’s a YouTube video that shows a demonstration of how wheat was threshed years ago.