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Wilbert, Carl F. / History of the town of Mequon
([ca. 1990?])

Method of harvesting and threshing of grain

Method of harvesting and Threshing of Grain
The first method of harvesting the grain was done with
a grain cradle (a tool similar to a scythe) with long
wooden prongs extending behind the sickle, and catching
the grain when it was cut. The farmer would then reverse
the sweep and lay down the cut grain in small piles.
After this, some sort of a rope was twisted from two
lengths of the grain and the piles were tied into bundles
to be shocked, eight or ten bundles to a shock of grain.
They were then left to dry for about a week, when they
were hauled into the barn. Here it was left until all
of the grain was handled in the same manner and stored
for several weeks before it was threshed. The farmers
called it curing the grain so it would not spoil.
The early farmers would use wooden flails for separating
the grain from the straw.  These flails were pieces of
hard wood about 30 inches long and about 4 inches in
diameter, fastened to a long wooden handle about five
feet long, fastened to a wooden ladel by leather straps.
These flails were used to pound the grain and separate
the seed from the stalks.
Later on the threshing was done by a grain separator and
a steam engine for power.  It took a crew of three men
to take care of the engine to supply it with coal and
water for steam, one man to take care of the separator,
and one man to operate the engine. It also took one man

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