A lot of us natives were born during the phasing out period of the stationary thrashing outfits. That style of thrashing left a lot to be desired. However, all the sacks of wheat were sewed up on the spot, and piled in rows to be hauled to market at a later date.
But when the combines took over, it scattered the wheat sacks all over the field. It was caused by the sack sewer not having a place to store the filled sacks. When it got a little crowded on the sewing platform, the sack sewer would trip a playground type of slide, releasing the few sacks that would come crashing through the stubble, to land right smack on the ground.
Of all the foolish things to do! Why even in those days, a team and a bulk wagon, or an old time truck could have picked up a good size dump of bulk wheat right from the combine. But since they didn’t do such smart things then, all those scattered 130 and 140 pound sacks had to be picked up from ground level by human back power.
True, we now have huge piles of wheat on the ground, but do have scientific ways of picking the wheat up. That is, whenever anyone wants the surplus stuff.
In the days of not knowing better, I spent a season during harvest picking up wheat sacks. Every pound of wheat that was raised on my farm, and Orlin Maurer’s had to be lifted onto an old high bed truck. Many of the sacks weighed more than I did. Sure, a lot of big guys performed this feat without hollering.
The results? As an old guy now, I realize I’m paying for my youthful folly by lifting scads of wheat sacks. In my case it didn’t promote a strong back. I now have to depend on running, swimming, and special exercises to help keep my back from making a cripple out of me. I’ve learned to do a lot of grunting, and very little lifting when asked to help carry something heavy.
"...scattered the wheat sacks all over the field."
Progress Commission Photographs, DigitalArchives.WA.gov