Whistle Blows On Bright Note
If you ever get lonesome to hear an old freight train whistle a long blue note, don’t miss L. K. Wood’s 16th annual Four State Threshing Bee next year. This year’s Bee was ushered in with more nostalgic whistles than you can congregate in any other place than the Wood’s yard in Mendon. There in the shade of old black willows, bordering the little stream that runs along his north boundary, “L. K.” had all of his wonderful old engines under full steam at ten a.m. And each one had a chance to “speak his peace.” Then Dr. Kenneth W. Hill, associate director of the Utah State University Agriculture Experiment Station, addressed the crowd. He pointed out that man traveled on foot for thousands of years at three miles per hour. Later, for hundreds of years, he traveled on horse back at twenty miles an hour. During the past one hundred years man increased that speed to 300 miles an hour, and within the last twenty years, to 20,000 miles per hour as astronauts hurtle through space.
Similar progress has been seen in threshing grain, the USU research official noted. “For thousands of years, grain was threshed with a flail. Abraham, who lived in Ur of the Chaldees, used it 1900 years before Christ and so did Abraham Lincoln of Illinois, 1850 years after Christ.” “With such methods seven bushels of wheat could be threshed in a day. Today with modern harvesters, it is ‘no sweat’ for a man to harvest two-hundred bushels a day as he sits on an air-foam cushion, under a beach umbrella with power steering, hydraulic controls and automatic transmission.”
The little museum L. K. Wood has accumulated is that which harbors the machines between the flail and the modern thresher. He has not only been a collector and a preserver, but a fashioner of one-half and one-quarter scale models of the machines.
His town supports him in his yearly project. Bishop Fred Sorensen, Mayor Harry Bartlett and many others, assist with the cutting and binding of grain in old-time bundles and stacking it ready for the big day.
Since she was ten years old, Glenna Buist, now a charming young woman, has been L. K.’s chief assistant and loves the old engines as much as he does. This year Ray Millard, Clearfield, was master of ceremonies at the 15th Four State Threshing Bee, introducing the steam engines climbing hills, the tug of war, and most fascinating to the spectators, the actual threshing of wheat, first by horse powered machinery, then by steam.