Harvest time already? It is for the Humboldt Area Vintage and Antique Club.
Under the hot sun over the long weekend in August, three of the club’s members were bindering and stooking winter wheat in preparation for its annual Vintage Days event.
“We’re getting ready for our event already, because this all has to be done beforehand,” said Ed Brockmeyer, the club’s past president. “And it looks like an excellent crop, it’s very heavy. The heaviest crop we’ve ever had, I think.”
The club seeds and harvests three acres of winter wheat annually, primarily for demonstrations during the club’s Vintage Days the last weekend in August.
Every year, the club hosts a weekend full of demonstrations using old farming equipment and methods, such as bindering wheat, cutting grain with a scythe, threshing grain with flails and with a threshing machine, and cleaning grain with a hand-powered cleaning mill.
But to be able to demonstrate these techniques, they need to have some wheat already cut and ready to use, which is why they do the stooking ahead of time.
“Stooking involves cutting the grain with a binder and that makes it into bundles,” Brockmeyer explained. “Then the bundles fall on the ground and they have to be stood up in stooks for 10 days or so, so that they dry.”
The result is an attractive bundle of golden, sun-dried wheat that stands like a tent on the ground. If it does rain over that time, he says the bundles dry quite quickly, within two to three days.
“It’s the same as the harvesting was done years ago,” added Brockmeyer. “We’ll also be demonstrating one of the oldest self-propelled combines we have here. We left some wheat still standing so that we can demonstrate it.”
HAVAC is holding its Vintage Days on August 25-26. One of the new features over the weekend that the club added for the first time last year is the antique tractor pull, which will be on Saturday. Another new feature at the club this year is the clay oven recently built by club members and that will be used to bake bread over the weekend. The traditional pancake breakfast is Sunday morning, and there are a myriad of activities to interest all ages.
Vintage Days is an educational event and one that has the advantage of being fun as well. For more information, see the Events Calendar on the city’s website.