Mail Call: Letters to the Editor — January/February 2017

Readers write to the editors with stories of backyard threshing, corn husking competitions, hunting traditions, and more.

| January/February 2017

Backyard Threshing  

Like most small homesteaders, we’ve attempted to grow a number of different food crops. Often this results in a flurry of canning activity in the fall. One crop that we’d never had a good method for harvesting was wheat.

Wheat is relatively cheap, and threshing can be so awkward, that until recently, we haven’t put much effort into thinking of a better way to recover the wheat berries beyond just flailing away at it.

We have a small home business and some tools that we can use for working PVC. We made a PVC thresher out of a spindle that would fit a 3/8-inch hand drill and a housing that would take filaments from a weed trimmer. Together with a 4-inch PVC tube, we have a way to insert a bundle of wheat and recover most of the berries in a bucket.

Our son, Samuel, and our daughter, Anna, (see photos) work together to bundle the wheat and place it into the threshing tube so that the drill can be used to flail the wheat stalks. The tube is cut such that most of the wheat berries fall down the tube and into the bucket.

On a windy day, the bucket is slowly emptied into a bowl so that the wind can carry the chaff away but the berries will end up in the bowl so that they can be cleaned fairly easily.

The actual PVC thresher is made of three parts. The first is a piece of PVC rod turned on a lathe to get the spindle diameter down to 3/8 inch.

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