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Schwowische Dialect of Alexanderhausen Article by Nick Tullius

Dreschmaschine, Dampfmaschine un Traktore
[Banater Post, 10. Dezember 2010]

Des war am e ganz stille Tach, im Summer, so phaar Johre vorm Kriech. Es ganzi Dorf war ruhich, ke Blatt uf de Bäm hat sich gerihrt. Uf emol hat mer vun dr Kreizgass e lautes tsch-tsch-tsch ... ghert. Was vor Drach kummt do die Gass ruf? Die Nochberschleit, wu net ufm Feld ware, also meischtns Kinner un alti Leit, sinn alli rauskumm for schaue, was for a Viech do um die Ecke gegrawlt kummt.

Es war die Soziale-Dresch: Vore a mächtichi Dampfmaschin – manchi Leit hann des aa Dampfkessl genennt, un der hat de Dreschkaschte un de Elewator hinner sich hergezoo.  Bei Dinjersch is es Tor ufgemacht ginn un die Dreschleit hann zuerscht de Elewator hinne in die Scheier gschob. Dann is de Dreschkaschte drankumm; dej hann se newe de große Fruchtschuwwer gstellt. Zuletscht is die Dampfmaschin in de Hoff gfahr un is vore, gleich beim Unnergebeid stehngeblieb. A lange Rieme is vun 'me große Rad an der Seit vun der Dampfmaschin bis zu 'me kleene Rad am Dreschkaschte gspannt ginn. De Elevator war etwas schief dergege gstellt, so dass des neie Stroh uf de alte Strohschuwwer owe drufkumm is.

Am näckschte Tach hann mir Kinner dann dem Dresche zugschaut. Vore im Hoff hat de Maschinist de Dampfkessl mit vill Stroh gfietert, for Dampf mache. Ufm Fruchtschuwwer hann zwaa Männer mit Gawle gstann; die hann die Garwe an en dritte Mann gereicht, wu newer dem Inlosser gstann hat, un die Seele mit 'me Messer ufgschnitt hat. De Inlosser hat wie die wichtichschti Person ausgschaut, wie er so mitte ufm Dreschkaschte gstann hat, mit seine große Auegläser. Er hat jedi Garb ausnannergezoo un se dann in die Trumml ingelosst. De Dreschkaschte hat jedsmol uuuu-um gemacht, wann a Garb in der Trummel vrschwunn is.

Die Sprau is vun der Seit aus dem Dreschkaschte rausgfloo un is dann vun jemand mit der Gawl uf de Sprauhaufe gschärrt ginn. Do war immer vill Staab, un die Sprauleit ware oft ganz schwarz dervun. Ufm Strohschuwwer hann zwaa odr drei Leit mit Gawle de Stroh ufgschicht, so wie er vum Elewator runnerkumm is. Machsmol hann e Mann un e Weib ufm Strohschuwer gearweit. Dann soll’s ach mol passiert sinn, dass die zwaa in dem viele Stroh e Zeit lang vrschwunn sinn. Im Dorf hat sich’s rumgsproch, dass die zwaa es ufm Strohschuwer aarich getrieb hann. Des hat mer halt „'s Dorfradio“ genennt, un der Tratsch war for die Betroffene sicher ke Freid. Dann war noch de Sackmann, wu die Säck an de Dreschkaschte anghong hat un se uf die Woo gstellt hat, wann se voll ware,. Machesmol hat er etwas Frucht drzu ginn, oder rausgholl, so dass jede Sack e Zentner, also fufzich Kilo, gewoo hat. Außrdem hat er mit Kreid Striche uf de Dreschkaschte gemacht, eene for jede Sack. Vun dem hat er de Rist berechnet, also wievill Säck Frucht vor die Drescher uf die Seit gschafft is ginn.

Um zwelf Uhr hat de Maschinist die Pheif an der Dampfmaschin laut pheife gelosst, das mer’s im ganze Dorf ghert hat. Die Dreschleit hann ufghert zu arweite un hann Mittach gmacht. Sie hann sich in de Schatte gsitzt un ihre Mittachesse vrzehrt un vill Wasser getrunk. Ich sinn emol schnell hemmgelaaf un hann e Stick Butterbrot verlangt. Mit dem sinn ich zuruck zu dr Dresch gang,  hann mich zu de Drescher in de Schatte gsitzt un mei Butterbrot gess. De Vettr Franz, wu noch mit uns vrwandt war, hat mer a Stick vun seim Speck abgschniet un des hat so gut gschmeckt wie noch nie. Drhem hann ich domols ke Speck gess.

Des war mei erschtes Erlebnis mit der Dreschmaschin. E phaar Johr später war mei Vatter Sackmann bei e anri Dresch-Gsellschaft. Mei Mutter un ich hann ihm manchmol es Mittachesse hingetraa. Ich war etwas entteischt, weil ke Dampfmaschin mehr drbei war, awr e vill klennere Traktor. Vore ufm Traktor war de Name vun seiner Firma zu lese: International. Vor em Traktorfahrer hat de Traktor so a kleenes Glas hänge ghat, wu mer des rosaroti Benzin gsiehn hat. De Maschinist hat gsaat, dass der kleeni Traktor vill mehr „Pferdekräfte“ hat wie die Dampfmaschin.. A Fass Benzin hann se in 'me Waan mitgfiert, so dass mer dem Traktor sei Benzin nohfille hat kenne, bevor er stehngeblieb wär. Des war sicher vill eenfacher wie de Dampfkessl ständich mit Stroh fietre. Es war awr schad, dass de Traktor ke Dampfpheif ghat hat un der Maschinist de Traktor um zwelf Uhr ganz eenfach abgstellt hat.

Um die Zeit sinn aach die Garwebinder ingfihrt ginn. Mer hat also net mähr Seele mache, Seele leje un  binne misse, weil die Maschin die Garwe schen mit Manila gebunn hat. Später hann mähr Baure sich Traktore angschafft, un manchi drvun hann Dieselmotore ghat, weil der Treibstoff viel billicher war wie Benzin. Do ware die Marke Deutz Diesel, Lanz Buldog un Hannomag. E kleene Traktor hat Zettlmayr gheescht un war scheen grien angstrich; im Dorf hat mer ne nor „Laabfrosch“ gnennt.

Im Summer vun 1944 is die Front ins Dorf kumm. Die Dresche hann ufghert zu arweite, un bei manche Leit is de Fruchtschuwwer in dr Scheier stehngeblieb bis zum näckschte Summer. Im näckschte Johr hat’s so vill Meis un Kritsche (Hamster) ginn, wie des noch niemols vorkomm is. Wie die Dresch bei Lenhards war, sinn die Meis nor so aus dem Fruchtschuwwer weggelaaf. Mir Buwe hann se gfang un dann vor dem Traktor seim Treibrad uf de große Rieme vrsetzt. Die Meis sinn dann uf dr anri Seit dinn wie Pappedeckl rausgfall. Des hat uns e Zeit lang vill Spaß gmacht, bis de Maschinist bes is ginn un uns fortgejaat hat.

Un dann war uf eemol de Kriech am End. Die Leit sinn zu dr Zwagsarweit vrschleppt ginn. Die Dreschmaschine, Traktore, Kieh, Ross un Waan sinn alle enteignt ginn, un die Leit hann mit Nicks dogstann. Seitdem sinn villi Johre vrgang. Heit kenne mer in jeder greßeri Stadt in so e große Jet-Flieger insteije un um die halwi Welt flieje. Mir Älteri wärre uns awer immer erinnre: Mit der Dampfmaschin hat des alles angfang!

Banater Post
www.banater-schwaben.org

 

Threshing machines, steam engines and tractors
Translated by Nick Tullius, Jan 14, 2011

          It happened on very quiet day, in the summer, just a few years before the war. The whole village sat there in a deep sleep; not a branch or even a leaf on a tree was moving. Suddenly there was a very unusual noise coming from the cross-street: tsh-tsh-tsh…  One could imagine that a dragon out of the fairytales was coming down the street. Those neighbours that had stayed home from the fields, mostly children and old people, all came out on the street, to see what beast came crawling around the corner.

What appeared was the so-called "Soziale" threshing ensemble: in front, a powerful steam engine - called a steam boiler by some people - that pulled the threshing machine and the elevator behind it. Our Dinjer neighbours had opened their main gate, and the threshing team first pushed the elevator all the way to the backyard. Then they placed the threshing machine next to the large wheat stack. Finally the steam engine moved in the front yard, next to the summer kitchen.  A very long belt was placed from the large wheel on the side of the steam engine, to a small wheel on the threshing machine. The elevator was placed at an angle to the threshing machine, so that the new straw would fall on top of the old stack of straw.

The next day, we children watched the threshing machine in operation. In the front yard, the mechanic fed the steam boiler with huge quantities of straw, to produce steam. On the wheat stack, two men with large forks passed the sheaves to a third man, who was standing next to the 'inserter' and cut the binding of every sheave with a knife. The 'inserter' appeared to be the most important person, as he stood there on top of the threshing machine, wearing big glasses. He pulled every sheaf apart and then inserted it into the big rotating drum. The threshing machine made a very loud uuuu-UM sound every time a sheave went into the drum.    

          The chaff was blown out from the side of the threshing machine, and was moved to the chaff pile by women with special forks. There was always a lot of dust around that operation, so that the chaff workers were black like Africans.

On the straw stack, two or three people with forks piled up the straw as it fell down from the elevator. Sometimes a man and a woman worked together on the straw stack. It is said that once the two disappeared in the mass of straw for a rather long time. A rumour then spread through the village that they carried it too far on the straw stack. It was incredible how fast such a rumour could spread throughout the village. The phenomenon was called "the village radio" and it was anything but fun for those affected.

Then there was the 'sack man', who attached the burlap sacks to the threshing machine, to capture the wheat kernels. He placed the full sacks on the scale. Sometimes he added some wheat, or took some out, so that each sack weighed exactly a 'Zentner', which is fifty kilograms. For each bag, he made a chalk mark on the back of the threshing machine. From these marks he also calculated the sacks of wheat to be put aside as compensation for the threshing team.       

At twelve o'clock the mechanic let out a blast from the whistle of the steam engine, which could be heard throughout the village. The threshing team stopped working to take its lunch break. The men and women sat down in whatever shade they could find, unpacked their lunches, and ate them while drinking a lot of water. I ran home quickly and asked for a piece of buttered bread. With it I went back to the threshing machine and joined the workers in the shade, to eat my buttered bread. Vetter Franz, who was remotely related to our family, handed me a piece of his bacon and it tasted better than ever before. Actually, at home I rarely touched bacon in those childhood days.

That was my first experience with the threshing machine. Several years later, my father worked as 'sack man' with another threshing company. Sometimes my mother and I brought him his lunch. I was a little disappointed that the big and bold steam engine had been replaced by a rather small tractor. On the front of the tractor, one could read the name of its manufacturer: International. In the middle of the tractor, just in front of its driver, hung a small glass in which one could see the pink gasoline. The tractor was much smaller than the steam engine, but the mechanic said that it had many more "horsepower". They had to carry the fuel for the tractor in a large metal container placed in a carriage, because they had to fill gasoline into the tractor before it stopped running. That was certainly much easier than continuously feeding the steam engine with straw. It was really too bad that the tractor had no whistle and the mechanic had to just stop it for the twelve o'clock lunch break.

Also around this time, the sheaf binders or combines, were introduced. The traditional bindings made of rye straw and needing lots of backbreaking labour, were no longer needed, because the machine bound the sheaves neatly with Manila twine. Then, several farmers acquired tractors, and some of those had diesel engines, because their fuel was cheaper than gasoline. You could see tractors made by Deutz Diesel, Lanz Buldog and Hanomag. A cute little tractor was the Zettlmayr; with its light green color, the villagers soon called it the "Tree Frog".

          In the summer of 1944, the war had come to our village, the threshing was interrupted, and some people were left with the wheat stack in their backyard, until next summer. Next year, there was an abundance of mice and wild hamsters everywhere, such as nobody had ever seen before. When the threshing was resumed in the yard of the Lenhards, a number of us boys were there to observe the activities. When we saw the mice running away en masse from the wheat stack, we caught a lot of them and threw them on the large drive belt, in front of the tractor's drive wheel. They fell out on the other side, compressed like cardboard. We had great fun for a while, until the mechanic chased us away.       

And then suddenly the war came to an end for us. Our young people had already been deported to forced labour, and threshing machines, tractors, and even horses and carriages were expropriated, so that Swabian people were left with nothing.

Many years have passed since then, and today we can catch a large jet aircraft in every major city, and fly halfway around the world. But some of us will always remember:  it all began with the steam engine!

***

 

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Last updated: 15 Feb 2019