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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 39

went with (Fred Schwoerer) then, and thrashed all the time. He'd
be gone for awhile then--he'd come home every night--but he drove
sometimes pretty far for thrashing. They had a big steam engine
so he had to get up pretty early and go and fire up. They had to
use wood or coal, and they'd have to fire it so they had steam,
then when the rest of them come they could start thrashing."
The farmers exchanged labor and usually weren't paid,
however, the engineer earned money for his work. "Oh ya, he got
paid, the engineer got paid. Wasn't much pay at that time,
three, four dollars, five dollars a day or something like that,
but it was money."
Generally there were around 12 farmers who would follow the
thrasher, spending a day or two at each farm. They'd finish
their chores at home then gather to begin thrashing. It was
customary for the host farm to supply daytime meals, which Mary
remembers was no easy task.
"When the thrashers would all get together, ladies from
about three, four places would get together and cook. At (8:00),
they come ready to thrash. They thrashed awhile, about an hour
or so, and then, about 9:00 they had lunch. We had to make a
lunch--we had to serve it. It would be laid out wherever they
was...big long tablecloth and they sat around it and ate on the
"We usually had just cupcakes or bread, cheese or something-
-not much--and coffee. Just a snack and then we had to hurry
like sam hill (she laughs) to get dinner ready at 12:00, so it
took quite a few. And when you cook for 12 that takes quite a
bit you know, to get dinner in a hurry, and then at 3:00 we had
lunch again, but for supper they went home. If we had a lot of
thrashing to do, sometimes, we had them for two days, so that was
quite a lot of work.
"In the dining room we had a table and chairs. That was all
we had. I don't think we had one for a long time, we had some
the later years. It was a good table..we had it spread out, we
could put twelve people on it when we had to. When we had
thrashers, that's usually about as many as we had."
Mary said that people depended on each other a lot more then
and help among friends and neighbors was given freely. "Ya, it

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