Farming the ways of the old days, Kiester event looks at past

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 11, 2006

By Adam Hammer, staff writer

KIESTER &8212; Farming of Yesteryear in rural Kiester Saturday had all the atmosphere of hard-working farm life, right down to the cold temperatures grandfathers often speak of having to &8220;rough it&8221; in.

The cold didn&8217;t seem to keep many people away however.

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&8220;It&8217;s a chilly day, but we&8217;ve got a good turnout,&8221; Gordon Benson, event organizer, said.

Exhibitors at the 23rd annual threshing festival showed visitors to the old farmstead how farmers did their work many years ago.

&8220;We don&8217;t have a silo, so we do the next best thing. Put it in a box,&8221; Garlin Sherv said. Sherv was turning stacks of corn into silage using a Farmall tractor that powered a grinder using a large belt. After feeding the stalks into the contraption, it spit silage out into a trailer. The silage would likely be used to feed livestock, Sherv said.

Many machines operated on tractor or man power. Most of the tractors were similar to Sherv&8217;s old Farmall, which was built from spare parts of numerous different series Farmall tractors.

&8220;It&8217;s second nature to get on one of these just like I used to,&8221; he said.

In the blacksmith shop, Dewey and Karen Roll showed visitors how to shape metal using fire and steel.

Erik Willaby, 14, of Kiester, was picked out of the bunch and shown how to form metal. Willaby said it was fun to work with the blacksmith since the trade is something he is interested in.

&8220;I stop by there every year to see what they&8217;re up to and what they have,&8221; Willaby said.

Elsewhere on the old farm, amidst the chugging of old tractors and grinding of gears and saws, about a half-acre of field was being plowed by horse while patrons were shopping at the country store for souvenirs, fruits and vegetables. Others were eating at the soup kitchen or taking in some of the entertainment.

In the farmhouse, a Norman Rockwell book lay next to a ball of yarn and a knitting needle in the front porch which led to a living area and kitchen with a real farm appeal. Sock monkeys on a toddler&8217;s rocking chair upstairs across the hall from a bathroom with a tub, no shower, sit next to a Mother Goose story book.

Outside, women churned butter.

The farm was a flashback to the way farm life once was, and where the industry came from.

The celebration took place Saturday and Sunday with events that included a Minnesota state sanctioned kids pedal tractor pull, area musical acts, parades and exhibits.