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Martin Holman watches as a mass of hay is lifted into his farm’s barn Monday as part of an
Early Days Antique Tractor Club field day. Before the days of balers, barns were filled with loose hay and large metal hooks were used to move it into barns. Many old barns still have the metal tracks that were used to move bundles and a few still have their hooks. Events like Monday’s help to keep the heritage of farming’s yesteryears alive. The club’s next big event will be an October field day at the Saint Meinrad Fire Department.
Tony Hassfurther’s team of draft horses, responding to a gentle “tuk tuk” from their owner, were the stars of Monday’s field day. They pulled a wagon and ground-driven gatherer that piled loose hay onto a wagon. When it came time to unload, Hassfurther put his team in reverse, perfectly turning the wagon’s front wheels in a maneuver that drew amazement. “It would take me 100 tries with a tractor, but he does it the first time with two horses,” one onlooker said in amazement.
An 1898 Montgomery Ward hay press drew plenty of interest Monday as Mike Lindauer of Ferdinand demonstrated an early way to bale hay. Hay is forked into an opening and pressed by hand with the turning of gears. Seated at the left is Mike’s father, Francis, a lifelong fan of antique farm equipment, including Kitten steam engines that were made in Ferdinand.
Wire is threaded into the press before its door is opened and the cube-shaped bale emerges. The bales are compressed much as a conventional bale would be today.
Hassfurther returns to the barn with another load of hay. Eugene Brosmer and Todd Holman shared the chore of forking hay into place.