Meeting Places 2 : The Threshing

I had already submitted a post in this theme, but reading the entry of a fellow blogger, Le Drake Noir, I was reminded of a great social event, and meeting place from over 50 years ago, growing up in rural Ireland.

This was the day when the threshing machine came to our farm to ‘thrash’ the corn , wheat and  barley,  to separate the precious grain from the rest of the crop.   Not all farmers had a threshing machine, as they were large expensive pieces of equipment, so the one machine would be hired out among all the farmers in the area, and all the neighbours would turn  up to help  on the day, knowing that everyone would return the favour when it was their turn to have the precious machine.

All the neighbouring children would come along to this big important day as well, and we had a ball,  the highlight of our day was playing in the chaff,  (the husks of the grain)  ducking and diving and making sure to keep out of the way of the pitchforks as the men worked hard and stacked the straw before it was put in the barn over the cowshed, and used during the winter as bedding for the cows.

All the women from the neighbourhood turned up as well, spending the day in the kitchen, baking bread and cooking up big meals for all the workers – probably a huge pot of spuds (potatoes) and bacon and cabbage – one of the most traditional of Irish meals.

The work would go on late into the evening until all the grain was safely bagged, and as a reward the  farmer would supply a barrel of porter to quench the workers’ thirst, and often someone would produce a musical instrument like a squeeze box, and  there would be singing and dancing to round off  the night, and finish off the dregs of the barrell!

Old threshing machine


Linked to Ailsa’s Travel Theme


16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. C.J. Black
    Jul 26, 2014 @ 22:10:35

    And unless my mind is playing tricks on me, during this time we were drenched in endless sunshine and worked by the light of a bright night sky?



  2. lingeringvisions by Dawn
    Jul 27, 2014 @ 01:09:39

    Wonderful post! So glad you shared this. I love a peek into other cultures and other eras. You’ve managed to show me both.



  3. ledrakenoir
    Jul 27, 2014 @ 10:10:27

    Wonderful reminder of the time where we could see what the machines were designed for and not like today where everything alike to confusion… 😀 😀

    Really enjoyed this post… 🙂



  4. Roy McCarthy
    Jul 27, 2014 @ 13:56:35

    Wonderful memories Joan – an example of a community working together, maybe putting aside petty differences, for the common good. For children it must have been a magical day with the promise of merriment at the day’s end.



  5. Trackback: Travel Theme-Meeting-Places | WoollyMuses
  6. the dune mouse (CybeleMoon)
    Jul 28, 2014 @ 05:25:58

    great photo, I love your history of it!!



  7. mrsgillies
    Jul 29, 2014 @ 04:50:02

    I love the sound of that! Community at its best!



  8. jpkenna
    Jul 30, 2014 @ 02:56:24

    Here in the States, by the 1950s, combines (essentially threshing machines made mobile by incorporating the function of a reaper) had mostly supplanted the stationary, belt-driven thresher, The scenes of “thrashing” have joined the lore of farming with draft horses.
    Farming today is a much more solitary venture, with all machines individually owned and operated. There is little communal interaction when perched up high in an air conditioned cab, equipped with stereo and GPS. I imagine it is much the same in Ireland.
    Thank you so much for your vivid memories, They tell me that Ireland and America share a common rural heritage.



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