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Steam-powered threshing

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Chase Bertsch, who brought antique farm machinery to a threshing demonstration, gets down on a knee to propose to his fiancee, Dakota Harrison, before the demonstration started Saturday afternoon at a field south of Milton.
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At theold-fashioned threshing event Saturday, farmersstrung a belt from a steam-powered engine to the threshing machine tomake it work.

By LEANA CHOATE - lchoate@newsexaminer.com

Rumbles of distant thunder didn’t drown out the noise of the belts turning on the old thresher Saturday afternoon.

Rain didn’t stop the return of an old-fashioned threshing as people gathered to watch wheat being harvested.

“It rained here, but it was a good needed rain,” Dakota Harrison, who helps with the threshing, said.

Chase Bertsch provided steam-powered threshers, both threshing machines being antiques from around the 1930s, he said. 

The threshing took place south of Milton, in a wheat field next to Adam Jones’ house, who planted the wheat, where tents were set up to help block people from the sun.

“I guess we don’t really need the shade today,” an Amish farmer said, laughing. “(Threshing) Shows people the hard work that goes into doing this, great event.”

Threshing is the second phase of wheat harvesting. Farm workers had already completed the first phase, cutting and binding. 

“This will take us about three to four hours to do, depending on how many Amish help,” Harrison said.

Threshing removes the grain from the stalks. Bertsch provided the steam engine that powered the threshing machine by a belt.

“We do it (threshing event) to kind of give a demonstration about how things used to be done versus how they are done now, kind of an advancing machines sort of thing,” Harrison said. “The Amish love this event, all of the old farmers, and there’s quite a few younger farmers that come out and watch.”

Some spectators came out to remember the days when their parents or grandparents threshed wheat.

“It was a while ago,” spectator Joe Warren said. “But I like to come out and watch and remember those very long days spent out there (threshing wheat).” 

Saturday’s threshing was the second and Bertsch wants to have more, featuring more old equipment.

“If there is an interest we may even start our own club,” he said.