Riekes host oat threshing day

Deb Moldaschel
Editor
Binding day: Top left, Mark Rieke driving the binder; right, Cindy Rieke "hugging" bundles and putting them into shocks; below, Mark in the rows of shocks drying in the field.

Every few years Fairfax farmer, Mark Rieke, gets the urge to invite some Prairie Land Flywheeler buddies out to his place to do some good old-fashioned threshing. This summer the oats looked good, and they were all missing FarmFest, so the threshing party was on.

The binder cuts the oats off at the stems, ties it into bundles, and drops the bundles in the field. The bundles have to be picked up by hand, “hugging” them (that’s the technical term) and placing them together in shocks in the field in order to dry. (Mark and Cindy completed this task on July 15.) The shocks are later tossed on a hayrack and stored in the barn until threshing day.

Threshing day came around on a hot and humid August day. The Riekes parish priest, Fr. Bruno Santiago, joined the group and immediately wanted to get on the rack to help! He grew up on a farm in India and had done similar work with rice. Other neighbors and friends also like to try their hand at pitching bundles into the threshing machine.

Greg Grausam and Mark Rieke are pictured with Grausam’s grandfather’s 1929 Case Threshing machine. Rieke bought it from Grausam some years ago and started hosting threshing events on his farm every few years. Cindy Rieke said everyone enjoyed the day, despite the awful humidity. Cindy said she even heard Mark say something about “next year.”

Left: Greg Grausam and Mark Rieke with the threshing machine; upper right: The Riekes parish priest, Fr. Bruno Santiago, wanted to help with threshing; lower: other neighbors and friends like to try their hand at pitching bundles into the threshing machine.