Threshing Machine – Circles

Dotted across the Canadian prairie landscape are these metal and wood behemoths.  Skulking through oceans of ripening crops they echo the silhouettes of dinosaurs returning to dust.

‘The Farm’ is no exception.  This threshing machine was last used in the ’70s.  Dad spent a summer restoring her.  In the fall, when the oats had ripened, he invited most of the family and peers from the neighbouring quarter sections to witness her performing the purpose for which she was created.

The oats were cut with an antique sheather and stooked.  The community then gathered.  Everyone had the opportunity to toss the stooks into the thresher, bag the threshed oats, or push the straw to the bailer.  It was a journey into the past, especially when the threshing was all done, the meal was consumed, and the old men sipped dark rum and coke, telling stories of ‘remember when.’  I’ve never experienced such a feeling of community and comradery, before or since.  It was a splendid day of winnowed chaff settling on all those present and words collected in the hearts and memories of those longing for simpler times when work showed a tangible result and God’s providence.

These pictures were taken at the time.  (They were taken with a little Kodak instamatic camera almost forty years ago, I’ve tweaked them as best possible)

14 Fear not, you worm Jacob,
you men of Israel!
I am the one who helps you, declares the Lord;
your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.
15 Behold, I make of you a threshing sledge,
new, sharp, and having teeth;
you shall thresh the mountains and crush them,
and you shall make the hills like chaff;
16 you shall winnow them, and the wind shall carry them away,
and the tempest shall scatter them.
And you shall rejoice in the Lord;
in the Holy One of Israel you shall glory.  Isaiah 41:14-16

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