Harvesting Memories

 

Ken Wood and his pre 1960 Farmall Super N dig so deep during the tractor pull event that his front end actually leaves the ground!
 
The Leduc West Antique Society hosted about 150 visitors at their Country Harvest event held on Saturday, September 15, 2012.
On what was predominantly a lovely afternoon, for us "city slickers" there were many different unique and interesting things to see that were simply the normal way of life for people living one hundred years ago.  
In the early 1900's, when you went to build your home, there was no such thing as just phoning up Rona and having them deliver your 2x4's to the worksite. No sir! If you were lucky enough to have one in your area, you went to your local sawmill, which was exactly like the one on site at the LWAS, and once you gave your order to the skilled men operating the four foot rotating saw blade, you could watch your lumber being cut to size right before your eyes.
Just off to the side of the sawmill on the LWAS grounds, there was a live demonstration taking place of how grain was threshed and separated way back when. Most of us in this province can appreciate how much work harvest time is for our farmers, but after viewing the demonstration of what that looked like 100 years ago, I think today's farmers are counting their blessings that they weren't born back then! 
To begin the job of threshing, one gentleman started up the kerosene driven Rumley Oil Pull, that had been built in 1911, and this machine ran the pulleys that made the actual thresher run. Two men stood on a wagon piled high with cut, ripe oats on the stem, and threw big pitch fork loads of oats, straw and all, into the top of the machine. The straw and chaff were separated inside the machine, and then blew out of a long pipe and formed a huge pile on the ground, while the oats themselves dropped into the belly of the thresher. Once the wagon was empty and all the grain threshed, it was quite shocking to see the large pile of chaff and straw the machine had separated, compared to the wee little pile of oats that came pouring out. It gave you a very good idea of the massive amount of work it would have required those farmers of old to do, just to get enough grain to feed their livestock and families over the long winter, not to mention enough seed for the next year's crop.
Of course, even hard working farmers need to have a little fun, and the competition of choice for any farmer worth his salt is, of course...a tractor pull! Some say it's the most fun you can have under 5 kms/hour! Everyone gravitated over to the bleachers once it was announced the tractor pulls were about to start, and found their preferred spot, whether it be at the starting line or near the end of the track. 
Several different categories of tractors were trucked in to compete at this event, with trophies featuring a model tractor proudly placed atop of a wooden base covered in bronze plaques, that were awarded for each division. The unique criteria required to compete at the LWAS pull was that your tractor had to have been originally built before 1960.
In a sport that is almost entirely male dominated, it was wonderful to see a young lady taking the gear shift in hand and challenging the men on their own turf. Kendra Wood climbed aboard her dad's bright red Farmall Super N, and in her two pulls, posted one of the biggest scores of the day by pulling over 400 feet! 
Another big attraction at every LWAS event, for those in the know, are the home made pies that are offered at the concession stand. They always sell out fast, so you have to be quick if you want a slice but it is always worth the rush. 
The pounding from the blacksmith shop echoed throughout the property, as the blacksmith hammered away on his anvil in front of his sweltering forge, making horse shoes, nails, tools and all manor of essential goods that people in the community required so long ago. This too was a very hard job, requiring not only brute physical strength, but talent to create the many and varied items made from metal. For example, have you ever tried to wear shoes that don't fit? If so, then think of how a poor horse would feel with ill fitting iron shoes nailed onto his foot! A good blacksmith was a point of pride for a community to have back in the day. 
There is always so much to see at the Leduc West Antique Society that the day can fly by before you know it. It's a fabulous place to take the whole family and rediscover your roots. The LWAS is one of those rare places that makes you appreciate today, but still long for a bit of the past. And here, you can find just that.
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