Threshing, Horses, Haystacking, Etc. (and Happy Birthday)


Ninety-three years ago today, my dad, Deane Gunderson, was born in an upstairs room of a farmhouse that was located at the southwest corner of Section 24, Roosevelt Township, Pocahontas County, Iowa. Daddy made it to 91 years of age before passing away on July 1, 2010. In honor of his birthday, a Miller High Life (Daddy’s beer of choice) showed up today in Rolfe at his gravesite.

This post includes two audio clips of my dad speaking thirty years ago…1981. They are excerpts from one of his oral history tapes. In the clips he talked about work on the farm during his growing-up years, including his memories about threshing.

In the first audio clip (3 1/2 minutes) my dad referred to his Uncle Art (a brother to my Grandpa John Gunderson and pictured below), farming responsibilities (including driving cattle and sometimes hogs to town with the aid of horses) when my dad was a boy in the 1920s and/or 1930s, and his horse named Chance. He also talked about the use of a haystacker (a rope and pulley mechanism, see image immediately below).


This watercolor is of a haystacker, referred to by my dad in this post's first audio clip. The watercolor was painted by my mom. She and my dad were married in 1941 and in 1945 moved to the farm southwest of Rolfe, Iowa. I assume Mother painted this in the 1940s or soon thereafter, but I'm not sure. (Click on image to enlarge.)


In the second audio clip (5 minutes) my dad spoke about oat harvest/threshing, his family moving into the tractor era, his Uncle Art, area farmers (including the Brinkmans, Wiegmans and A.V. Graeber) and threshing rings. In this clip my dad made reference to an “18-36” McCormick Deering. At first I thought he meant the year 1836 and wondered how that could be. After doing research on the web, I realize he meant “18-36” and not “1836.”

In the photo immediately below is a threshing operation and what Josh Lindgren* thinks is an 8 horse power. I found this photo in a scrapbook that my mom, Marion Gunderson, put together. In the scrapbook, next to this threshing photo, is this post’s second photo (scroll down) of eight horses. I have no idea if these horses operated an 8 horse power or not. I like to think they did and that it was why my mom put the two photos adjacent to each other.

If you didn’t watch the video yet (about threshing oats with a 12 horse sweep) from the previous post, you might want to watch it to better understand this next photo.

To really understand this photo, click on it once or even twice to enlarge it. This photo is from a scrapbook organized by my mom. At the far left is what Josh Lindgren* said is likely an 8 horse power. In the middle are two stacks, I assume of straw and chaff. Somewhere in the middle is likely a tumbling rod(s) similar to that in the video linked to in the previous paragraph. To the right of center in this photo is the threshing machine. A sack is at the right end of the thresher. The grain settled toward the bottom of the thresher and was moved along into this bag. The wagon at the far right holds bags of grain ready to be hauled away. Also at the far right, the oats are being loaded onto the thresher conveyor at the beginning of the threshing process. I assume this photo was taken in the 1920s or before.


This photo of eight horses was on the same scrapbook page and next to the threshing photo (above). I don't know if these horses were involved with the threshing my dad spoke of or when driving cattle to town and/or in the yellowed threshing photo. I like to think they are. (Click on photo to enlarge.)


Pictured here is my dad when he was 12 years 2 months old. (Click on photo to enlarge.)


At right, holding the oats, is my Great-Uncle Art, to whom my dad referred in both audio clips in this post. Grandpa John is at the left. (Click on image to enlarge.)


I included these two photos together because my Great-Uncle Arthur (in the left photo) was the son of C. L. (in both photos) and father of Chuck (in the right photo). C.L. (Charles Lewis) was my great-grandfather and was married to Dena, my great-grandmother (also pictured here). In the photo at left, my dad was 17-years-old. (Click on image to enlarge.)


Pictured is my dad's dad/my grandfather with a load of what I assume was oats. (Click on image to enlarge.)


*Josh Lindgren is from Marathon, Iowa. A photo and video of Josh and two of his horses is included in this post.

(Click here to go to Louise Gunderson Shimon’s blog’s home page.)


2 Responses to “Threshing, Horses, Haystacking, Etc. (and Happy Birthday)”

  1. Clara Hoover Says:

    What fun the way you’ve combined the video, audio, photos, Mother’s haystack painting, and your comments all together today. So, Happy Birthday, Daddy! Always teaching…always learning.

    The 1946 photo of Uncle Art and Chuck would have been taken when I was four. I’m pretty sure I remember them coming to thresh that summer, but as with a lot of things, I don’t know if I really remember or if I’ve just seen the photos.

  2. Marti Carlson Says:

    Louise, I’m so impressed with all of what you have put together here – for recording history in general, but also for our family to absorb.

    That is so sweet and perfect about the bottle of Miller High Life.

    I don’t think I’ve seen that particular watercolor before.

    I love the photo of Dad with Chance, and his pompadour in another photo.

    I really see the resemblance of Dad to Grandpa John in the latter’s photo.

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