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'The old-fashioned way'

Threshermen preparing for annual reunion at Dollinger's Family Farm

CHANNAHON, Ill. — The Will County Threshermen are working in the fields to gather the grain.

If a modern day farmer was in the field, he or she would use a “combine” or combine harvester to cut the wheat, thresh it and winnow or separate the wheat chaff from the wheat grain.

On Wednesday, July 4, as well as on occasions at the end of June, the members of the Will County Threshermen’s Association did their work the “old-fashioned way" — no combine was used — at the Dollinger Family Farm in Channahon.

The field is cut and bundled by a binder, an older style machine operated by one person that cuts the wheat then takes the bundles and sets them in a row. The binder is towed by a tractor.

The crew of people walk alongside, put a pitchfork to the bundles and toss them into a wagon.

Denny Christiansen, of Manhattan, Ill., ran the binder last weekend.

"We got a real nice wheat field," he said, "a real nice wheat crop."

Christiansen has the distinction of being at every one of the 50 Will County Threshermen shows that have ever been held. His father, Norman, was a founding member

And so goes the ritual of cutting and binding wheat.

The bundles of wheat have a further use — the threshermen are going to thresh, run the bundles of wheat through a steam-driven machine that will pound and take the seed of the head away from the chaff. This happens during the annual Association show, July 19-22, also at Dollinger's.

The threshermen want to share the how-to's of farming as it took place years ago.

For more information on the show, visit the website or

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