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Event brings alive the farming methods from days of yore


On July 29 and 30, a celebration of agriculture from another century was held on the Mervin Yoder farm north of Shipshewana, IN with three acres of implements and household tools on display. The twelfth annual Old Fashion Farming Days began on Friday evening with miniature pony pulls and a special preview of the event. Saturday featured demonstrations and talks on the various pieces of working farm machinery.

The miniature pony pulls kicked off the weekend of activities for all ages. With 15 pairs competing, the contests were set and started with 34 inch and smaller animals demonstrating their strength by pulling a beginning weight of 650 pounds and ending with 2300 pounds. Between rounds, 50-pound concrete blocks were added to the stone boat, increasing the pulling weight. The class B group included 38 inches and smaller were competing with the class C level of ponies which were 42 inches and smaller. This larger group started pulling at 1100 pounds and completed the evening with pulls of 3200 pounds, amazing the audience.

The displays were as varied as the years represented. While a 1925 John Deere Spoker D on a threshing machine was being shown, corn shredding was being demonstrated along with various corn shellers, including one with horse power. Rides around the acreage were offered on Saturday with hay wagon rides and, especially for the children, barrel train rides.

The youngest attendees were allowed many educational experiences as the displays contained explanations and some were easily touched and climbed on. A herd of goats were happy to run up and down a ramp that led to a high-rise platform that featured two long-roped swings for the children to appreciate.

Yoder shared the history of the implements as he demonstrated their uses on Saturday. Some specialty pieces were a mostly wooden tread mill for either a dog or a goat and an original 1845 McCormick Reaper as well as a John Deere hay press. Various stages of hay production were shared with the attendees with tools that were either manually operated or horse powered.

The local Amish school, Shipshe Meadows, provided dinner on Friday and food throughout the Saturday activities. Families and other attendees were offered the opportunity to camp on the property, providing an optimal weekend getaway.


The resident goats liked to watch the crowd from their platform while attendees examined the various items displayed including an old style bicycle. Photo by Julia Baratta


A line of hay equipment was set up by the year it was introduced. Photo by Julia Baratta


Two Amish boys escape from the rain during the miniature pony pulls by observing from under a wagon. Photo by Julia Baratta

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A pair of ponies giving their all while pulling at the Old Fashion Farming Days competition. Photo by Julia Baratta