The Expedition of the Donner Party and Its Tragic Fate

By Eliza P. Donner Houghton | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXIII REAPING AND THRESHING -- A PIONEER FUNERAL -- THE HOMELESS AND WAYFARING APPEAL TO MRS. BRUNNER -- RETURN OF THE MINERS -- SOCIAL GATHERINGS -- OUR DAILY ROUTINE -- STOLEN PLEASURES -- A LITTLE DAIRYMAID -- MY DOGSKIN SHOES.

REAPING and threshing were interesting events to us that summer. Mission Indians, scantily clothed, came and cut the grain with long knives and sickles, bound it in small sheaves, and stacked it in the back yard opposite grandma's lookout window, then encircled it with a rustic fence, leaving a wide bare space between the stack and the fence, which they swept clean with green branches from live oak trees.

After many days, Mexican drivers brought a band of wild mares to help with the work. A thick layer of unthreshed grain was pitched on to the bare space surrounding the stack and the mares were driven around and around upon it. From time to time, fresh material was supplied to meet the needs of the threshers. And, at given signals from the men on the stack, the mares were turned out for a short rest, also in order to allow the Indians a chance to throw out the waste straw and to heap the loose grain on the win-

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