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Haag, Rita / If you look back, it's not that far: memories of Mary Stella Sutter Haag recorded at age 103

Part III: Life as Mrs. Albert Haag,   pp. 36-64 PDF (9.2 MB)

Page 38

came and she showed me how. One year we put up almost 100 jars
of beef.
"We had as many as five horses. When they had the drag
they'd put three on, because it was heavy. They put three on the
binder, two on the mower. We paid a lot for horses. We had
tough luck with one. She ran into the fence, tore open her hide
and we had to get rid of her. We had one blind one; we called
her Blind Bertie. She'd go as part of a team, but sometimes if
there was heavy pulling, she wouldn't go. One guy told us to put
sand or dirt in her ears. We tried that once and she shook her
ears and kind of forgot about it and started pulling.
"The only time we visited was on Sunday afternoon. We'd go
to Haag's or Sutter's. Then we had to go on the milk rigs mostly
the first years, before we got a car. And Dad often said we have
to let the horses rest. They worked hard all week in the fields
and they were tired. They used to stand there and hang their
heads and sleep."
Before Albert married, he spent some time out west farming
with his uncles. He learned how to operate a steam-powered
thrashing machine, thereby earning the title of "engineer". The
old thrashers were stationary wooden machines that separated the
grain from the straw. The grain was cut and stacked in bundles
to dry, then taken to the thrasher.
Mary remembers that Albert came home late sometimes during
thrashing season. "You know years ago they stacked the grain.
They could thrash in the evening almost as long as they could
see." They'd throw it from the stacks right into the thrasher
and they could keep on as long as the grain was dry. Once the
dew fell, they had to quit."
The thrashing machines were hauled from one farm to another,
and generally all the farmers in one area would follow it,
helping each other until the thrashing was done. Mary remembers
that when she was a child, her dad and a few other farmers went
together to buy a thrashing machine, but "after we were married,
Fred Schwoerer--he was the neighbor--he had a machine, an engine
and everything. He'd go from one to the other."
She said he kept a stockpile of coal to power the steam
engine, and Albert was usually the engineer. She remembers: "He

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