Big event in the farming calendar
In the past, the threshing was a big event on every farm. It was exciting to see the Thresher arriving. There was no shortage of help as the men came from all angles. There were a lot of men needed. There were two on the thresher, one for cutting the bands and the other for feeding it into the drum. One man for forking the sheaves and one man for marking the cock of straw and two men for looking after the oats as it filled into bags at the other end – all hard jobs.
Drawing water from the well
We had to have lots of water for cooling down the engine. That had to be drawn from the well. I myself used to give a hand at making the cock of straw. When I got a minute to spare, I would pop in and make a batch of buns for the tea. As it came near the bottom of the stack, the mice came out from their cosy nests and ran all angles. The cats had a great time trying to catch them.
When the work was done
When all was done and all the oats put into the barn, it was time for tea as all the men were starving. They tucked into bread and butter (home-made), plenty of boiled bacon and boiled eggs and the buns. When they had eaten their fill, the story telling started. Each one had a better yarn than the other and if it were a wet evening, the bottle of Guinness came out. Then there was no rush home and the singing got better.
The Meitheal (Helping out your neighbours)
Then they moved on to the next farm and the same procedure followed. They also had plenty of help waiting. No-one got any money. Nowadays, they expect it, to do a small job for you. How times have changed. The hens had a great time sifting through the chaff finding all the lost seeds. There were plenty of eggs then. No more threshing now, the combine comes into the fields and a big trailer to collect the seed. It all comes out a big shoot ready to bring it into the Mill, where it is ground into wholemeal and crushed oats for feeding sheep etc. Not many people sow corn anymore.
Bringing the wheat to the Mill
We brought some of the wheat to the Mill to have it made into flour so we had enough for the year. That was stored in a big bin with a lid on it in the kitchen to keep it nice and dry. No one would go short if they needed a can of flour. The straw was used to bed the cows as we always had two or three cows and calves in for the winter. The lovely golden straw came in handy for making a fresh mattress for the beds and we also made straw mats for beside the beds as we only had cement floors then. Thankful for all the mod-cons now.