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A harvesting demonstration from days gone by for Alberta Culture Days

Updated: Sep 9, 2021

September 20, 2020 -

Sunday September 20th, Jim Long invited the public to his farm just northwest of Stettler to watch a demonstration of old time farming in celebration of Alberta Culture Days.

Spectators were not disappointed.

A horse-drawn wagon circled to and from the parking area and the main event location, allowing attendees to take advantage of a quick ride through the field.

Long turned the afternoon into one of learning, as he explained the processes of first cutting, and bundling the grain before piling it into stookes. Bundles are tossed into the hopper of the machine where it is then 'threshed' - a process of beating the grain until the seeds are separated from the husks and stalks.

Watching Long and his team of heavy horses, one couldn't help but appreciate the endless hours of physical labour that past generations undertook in order to sculpt this beautiful province into what we see today. Considering that farming equipment has evolved into an era of GPS-capable, self-driving, million dollar machines, it's obvious that today's farmers have it a lot easier than they did a century ago.

Observing Long's harvesting equipment in action was quite something to behold. The racket of the old machines, the gentle, rhythmic pounding of horse hooves and the jingle of their harnesses, combined with the beautiful fall weather and smell of dried wheat in the air made for a surreal afternoon.

The wind was high so it was difficult to get good sound in our videos, but capturing the history and culture of our community is critical, and something we should never take for granted.

Thank you to Jim Long for the demonstration and for sharing Alberta's rich history.

Wendy Rairdan, Reporter


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