Old-Fashioned fun on the farm

The threshing machine chews up an oat bundle, separating the oats from the straw. Photo courtesy of Tammy Orr.

Life on the farm: Norris family centers celebration around vintage threshing machine

Five generations of the Norris family were on hand for threshing fun. Pictured L-R: Lyla Behr, Katie (Cash) Behr, Ruth Norris, Jennifer (Norris) Cash, Abel Behr and Charlie Norris.-Submitted photo.

The old ways of doing things may not be the most efficient, but they are often the most fun.

Each year the Norris family combines a love of vintage farm equipment with an opportunity to get friends and family together for an oat threshing.  The event, held on a family farm just north east of Clear Lake, allows everyone— from farmers to city folk and young to old— to try their hand at some farming the way it used to be done.

The celebration started six years ago when Charlie Norris received a rather unusual birthday gift from his father, Chuck. It was a 1941 Oliver Red River Special threshing machine.  The machine, which originally belonged to Ruth Norris’ uncle, had largely been stored in a farm building until recently.  Charlie knew he wanted to put the machine in action, so he planted a few acres of oats in the spring to be harvested in the fall.

“We didn’t know a whole lot about the threshing machine, but the owner’s manual was still inside,” explained Louise Norris, Charlie’s wife.

As they learned more about the threshing machine they discovered that the belt system which runs the

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