Brute’s Bleat by Harold Brutlag- July 25, 2018

I had a phone call from Mike Muller last week. He is in Florida and boy was he complaining about the heat and especially the high humidity that is present there this time of the year. He had been fishing on Lake Okeechobee which he said has taken on an Irish green look, apparently from some form of algae. He and Jesse were catching large sunfish and he said the bite was good. Some of the anglers are reluctant to keep a meal of sunfish because of the algae, but he ate some without any ill effects. He said he had to get under the canopy on their boat one day because of the hot sun and the oppressive humidity. I fished late Tuesday afternoon on Maple Lake and found one spot that held some fairly nice sized sunfish (8 1/2 inches) that were hitting my power bait with reckless abandon. It was one of my catch and release nights so after catching six I moved on to another spot where they were also biting well, but not nearly as large. I haven’t been out since, but hope that changes this week. * * * This year’s summer music festival at Holy Cross Lutheran is July 29 beginning with pulled pork sandwiches and salads at 5:15 p.m. and a concert at 7 p.m.This year’s guests are Dave and Sabra Horn who will feature Christian guitar and Celtic bodhran (Irish drum) music. Horn said, “My concerts, chapels and assemblies are lighthearted and fun, with plenty of food for thought, suitable for the whole family because I bring a message aimed at everyday life and the music appeals to a broad range of people. I tell stories, usually involving the life and work of Jesus, and do silly things with hats and characters and audience participation, which I emphasize more if there are children present. If you want me to be totally serious, I can try, but I’m not promising anything.” “I’m not classically trained. The fact is, I learned to play hymns to guitar when our organ broke, out of necessity. It sounded fine and people liked it, so I kept doing it. In fact, for a brief time I led The Lutheran Hymnal, pages 5 and 15 with guitar. When you fingerpick the melody line with harmony and alternating bass line (no twang), it isn’t all that different musically from what’s written in the hymn book. It was also good for our congregation of 80 or so people to hear themselves singing together.” He and his wife Sabra share the gospel through their music, something they’ve done while on the road for the past twelve years. * * * The Maple Lake Lakers ended their league run with a 4-1 win over Maple Plain on Sunday and a 17-3 season record. They are the #1 seed for the Region playoffs which start Aug. 1 with ML playing the #8 seed which will be determined this weekend. In the meantime they host the Champlin nine Wednesday July 25. at Laker Stadium. * * * In my ongoing story about the small grain harvest back in my youth (late 1940’s) I’ll review what happened on small farms before combines were the common machine used to harvest grain. The shocked grain bundles gave the landscape a sense of organization as they stood in straight lines across the fields which were roughly 40 to 60 acres. My dad had a Woods Bros. Threshing machine, 22 inch, which was used to halest crops for himself and four other farmers in the Henning area. He had a H Farmall tractor which supplies power for the threshing machine via a drive belt. The 22 inch Threshing machine was relatively small in size, but it served the purpose and was handy to maneuvre in barnyards where most of the fellows preferred to have a straw pile. It took four bundle teams of horses equipped with hayracks which were used to gather the bundles from the fields and haul them to the threshing machine. There was a certain amount of friendly competition among the bundle haulers to see who’s load produced the most grain. Oats was the preferred crop when it came to see who could haul the largest load of bundles because the straw wasn’t as slippery as barley or wheat. When I was one of the bundle haulers my goal was to have the load large enough to produce at least 100 bushels of grain. I never was in the running, mostly because I was competing against fellows who were 6 footers which gave them an edge when loaded their hayrack with bundles. I’m about 5’8”, but it was a friendly contest and the winner almost always was Carl Eckhoff who seem to be able to pile on enough oats bundles to hit 110-115 bushels. The bundle haulers pitched bundles into the theshing machine, one side at a time. One of my dad’s horses didn’t like to pull up to the threshing machine on the drive belt side and the inevitable happened. I was unloaded and the horse bolted, hooking a guy wire on the hay rack, leaving the hay rack and myself in the dust. The grain from the threshing machine was transported in wagon equipped with a wood box to the granary and unloaded with a scoop shovel in the beginning and later with a grain elevator. Sometimes the grain had to be sacked if the granary had a second floor. My brother Lloyd and I switched around from bundle hauling to shovelling. The day didn’t begin until the dew was off the bundles and would last until 7 p.m. most of the time. Sometimes snakes or field mice would make a home in the shocks and then scurry to safety when disturbed. The lunches and dinners prepared by the ladies when the threshing was done on their farms was a big part of the day for fellows like me who were still growing. They would come out with dish pans filled with sandwiches in the afternoon along with cake, lemonade and coffee. The meals were outstanding and I can’t remember leaving the table hungry. At the end of the day’s work it was customary for the guys to have a cold beer or two. Most of the beer was kept cold by well water used in the barn’s milk or cream wood vats. The farmers would take their teams of horses home at night to feed them properly. There was the usual kidding and practical jokes during that part of the harvest, but I can’t remember anyone getting upset when they were the goat, so to speak! Combines made their appearance in the early 50’s and a lot of the fun disappeared with that bit of progress.

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