Wilson old-time harvest brings the past to life

September 16, 2021, 10:18 am
Ed James


The threshing underway with lots of volunteers to pitch sheaves and run the equipment.
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For several years the Wilson Family Farm south of Wawota has been holding a very popular old time harvest using a variety of farm equipment from years gone by.

Last year because of Covid-19, it was put on hold, but this year it was back as big as ever with a few new/old items.

The event is held on the Labour Day weekend every year. There was a good crowd on hand with many being an older generation who remember the old farming and harvesting ways, with a good mix of younger people who wanted to see and learn about the old ways as well.


Antique tractors on display at the Wilson old-time harvest south of Wawota.<br />


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The weather was perfect for the event with the bright sun showing off two great collections of antique/classic farm tractors. The one collection of restored Massey Harris tractors is owned and restored by Don Lees of Arcola. It also included some miniature toy pedal tractors. The other great display of field tractors was owned by Ken Wilson and his son. The two long display lines got lots of attention from the public.

As usual the crew from RTR church group we on hand offering refreshments and lunch all through the event.


Vicky Tutthill of Elkhorn driving an antique tractor.


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In one of the nearby fields,a grain crop was being harvest with a variety of vintage machines, with many of them taking along a passenger for a ride to experience the work. There was the odd breakdown in the field, but it seemed that a big hammer, screwdriver and pry bar would put most things right! ​Remember, we are talking about farm machinery that was used before the days of computer chips and a company rep coming out to your farm with a small computer to find out what your problem is!


Wheat being combined with a historic Massey Harris combine during the Wilson old-time harvest south of Wawota.


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The crop that was being taken off was similar to most of the fields this year—short with small heads, but the old machines took it off with ease! As the various machines moved around the fields, a herd of nearby cows looked over the fence with some interest in what was going on.


Wheat being harvested the old fashioned way.


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All during the various events, you could almost see, among many of the older spectators, dreams and memories of the farm work of their youth with similar equipment many years ago.

Something new this year was a very busy young man with a drone working the events much to the amazement of the older crowd.

As in past years, whenever a piece of the vintage equipment was fired up, it would draw an immediate crowd and if any help or advice was needed, there were lots of willing people with most having white hair like me!


A cultivating demonstration at the Wilson old-time harvest.


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If there is a highlight of this annual event, it’s the firing up of the old threshing machines. Once the pulley belts are adjusted to the right angle and tension and hooked on the threshing machine, the old rigs begin to hum and rattle as the chopper hammers wait for the first sheaves of grain to be pitch forked in by many willing volunteers who enjoy the experience! As one of the many volunteers for the event keeps moving around the machine pouring squirts of oil on many of the moving parts, from a pipe out the back, a pile of golden straw flies out building a growing pile, just waiting for some of the several children present to jump in. From another pipe the heads of grain come pouring out into a vintage grain wagon, with both young and old climbing up the side to see the wagon fill up.


People threshing  the grain using a historic threshing machine.


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There were other displays at the event but for most of the crowd it was a chance to go back in time and remember simpler days!


Children looking at some of the engines on display.


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“We really enjoyed hosting this event and we are happy to share the old ways with the community,” say Ken Wilson. “All of the machinery is between 50 and 100 years old. We only hope it all continues to be used and enjoyed for many generations to come.”


Ken Wilson, the organizer of the event.<br />


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“It was an awesome day, with great weather and a great crowd,” says Ken’s son Kevin. “We would like to thank all the friends who came out to help us as this event would not be possible without them. The event has grown every year and we hope to continue with it for many years.


Henri being helped by his father to take a look into the grain wagon.


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