That story of the first combine in Lincoln County stimulated some interesting questions that required some equally interesting answers. There are still a few older, well seasoned ex-farmers around that have breathed a little more harvest dust than I have. They recall with pride how they handled scads of horses that were used to furnish power, so those old wooden combines could reap the golden grain. Their knowledge on how to handle horses with ease, was truly an inherited gift.
During the harvest of 1931 and '32, I too, served time on the deck of my cousin’s Rumely combine. I substituted as part time sack sewer and header puncher. Naturally, by the code of that time, everyone but the separator tender had to help take care of the horses when they weren’t pulling. My association with horses never caused me to fall in love with them. I was always leery of those big animals , and was thankful that they didn’t find out that I was a green horn.— Nothing made me happier than when dad mortgaged the family farm so I could start up farming in 1928 with a brand new International tractor.
Anyway, those horse farming days during harvest brought out their fair share of rounders that happened to love and understand horses - and many were hired. ‘Windy’ Anderson was one of them. He was assigned on the same combine I was on. From his crows nest, he knew how to make all those horses tow the mark. In a couple of days Anderson, the skinner, learned and remembered every horse by its legal name.
On the week-ends ‘til harvest was completed, all the horses were turned loose, so they could enjoy their weekly frolic and a good roll in the dust. All day Sunday the horses spent their time browsing around a previously harvested field, eating stray wheat heads.
Come early Monday morning, ‘Windy’ Anderson would jump on a well trained saddle horse and soon would have the vacationing horses back in the barnyard. By doing a lot of cussing, he soon had every horse in it’s proper stall, except for three black ones which ‘Windy’ had trouble identifying ‘til he called out loudly each name of the black horse and waited for certain horses to freeze or jump.—Yes, old ‘Windy’ was an excellent horseman, but he was no better than he thought he was. His tales on how he conquered and saddle-broke a couple of wild horses in one afternoon didn’t impress the rest of us. However, his butt did look like it had been driven up his spine, to some extent, from riding bucking horses.
"Early Day Live Horsepower" Kik-Backs No. 3, page 28, part 1 (continued) (home)
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