Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Better Late Than Never
Having lived in Northwest Ohio for more than 20 years and having been an avid photographer for even longer, you might think that I've checked out just about anything photo worthy around these parts by now - especially given that this area is more famous for it's toxic algae blooms than any other natural attraction. But even though I live on the edge of the farm belt, I had never gone to see the Five Point Steam Threshers Reunion which was in it's 54th incarnation this year.
For you non-farmer types that don't remember the turn of the century -we're talking late 1800's to early 1900's turn of the century - steam threshers use steam power to separate wheat grain from the rest of the wheat plant. It's a task that formerly required many people to do steps with names like winnowing, thrashing, and shaking which nowadays are dance steps for rap music. Or maybe that's how they compose rap music... Anyway it was much more efficient and caused a whole bunch of workers to lose their jobs in the fields and have to work at Walmart. These inventions were the first step in the green revolution which has nothing to do with being green today. That revolution massively increased agricultural production but while steam itself is white, fluffy and clean, the coal and wood fired boilers that produced the steam certainly are not. It was very cool (well, not the weather as I was sweating like a ...) to see machines built so long ago they were even made in America still running and threshing... or something, as I have no clue what they were actually doing other than making lots of wheat parts fly around and try to get onto my sensor. Anyway it was quite interesting and a way better photographic subject that the other famous summer event around here which is the algae bloom on Lake Erie. That's happened every year for quite a while now - yet it still managed to surprise the city of Toledo's water department who allowed the algae toxin to contaminate the water supply. So to return to the original point of this blog, it was great to finally photograph the steam thresher reunion. Maybe next summer I'll check out the algae.