The Ottumwa Courier

Ottumwa

November 5, 2012

Poppin' Johnnies show how farming used to be done

HILLSBORO — You may be able to tell what farmers think about their job by looking at how they spend their time off.

“This is our hobby,” said David Cobbler of Ottumwa, pointing out the antique farm equipment that he and members of the Poppin’ Johnnies of Southeast Iowa club were operating Saturday.

Cobbler was on the farm purchased by his grandfather in 1917. Though lots of the Cobbler farm operation had been modernized, the original barn was here. And Cobbler had purposely left about 60 acres of corn standing, untouched, after harvest.

“This is an official harvest day with restored [farm] equipment,” he said.

Several 1940s and 1950s tractors bulled their way through the rows of brown cornstalks, spitting husked corn into the wagons they pulled.

“We do it the old way for our hobby,” he said.

In the 40s and 50s, he said, farmers would feel pretty good to get 200 bushels taken care of in an hour. 

“And it was family oriented,” he said.

These days, combines can handle 2,000 bushels an hour.

Another Cobbler, Chris, was helping a driver learn how to operate an old piece of machinery. Someone had left a part off, meaning the antique John Deere was going to need some work. As he walked across the field, Chris pointed out a man operating a steam engine near the barn.

“He loves that.  He’ll run that [engine] all day,” Chris said.

He added that though the steam engine was a 2/5 scale model, it was functional enough that with some coal and water to run it, the machine was actually operating the grain pumping “auger” for the day’s farm operation.

Around the barn were antiques not being used just then — but still functional. There was a potato digger, a cement mixer and a couple of 100-year-old hay bailers, where the wheels, big steel cogs and gears were all visible. Many of the members, David said, finish up at their day jobs during the year, then, for relaxation, work on their older equipment.

“We’re a little bit different. We restore it, but then we use it, too,” said the man, the seventh David in his family to be a farmer. “My brother and I bailed plenty of hay with that small one.”

The Poppin’ Johnnies were celebrating their seventh year doing an actual harvesting. Last year, more than 500 visitors stopped to see how it “used to be” done. The event used to be held at a park. The farm is located right after motorists leave the highway (Exit 40) to come into the north side of Ottumwa on Highway 149. Club members said they want to share their hard work with the public.

“I figured we would be more visible here,” added David.

1
Text Only
Ottumwa
  • 0418 OTT Tree City U.S.A. logo Ottumwa awarded as Tree City U.S.A. again OTTUMWA — Having big, beautiful trees throughout a community can help spruce up a city and make it more attractive to visitors. Ottumwa has shown a dedication to making the community more green and inviting, and the efforts have been recognized by th

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0418 OTT OEDC director -T Guiding our growth

    OTTUMWA — An organization designed to help Ottumwa grow has found a new employee in Indiana. The Ottumwa Economic Development Corporation (OEDC) board has chosen Sharon Stroh as the group's new executive director. “We are confident she will hit the g

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0417 OTT Camp Wapello fence photo -T -M -L Good fence irritates good neighbor DRAKESVILLE — For 82 years, Camp Wapello’s iconic entryway has welcomed people to peacefully coexist with nature. Now there’s a 400-foot barbed wire fence down the middle of the road. In February, Davis County Supervisors approved vacating of portion

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • City Council approves sale of properties OTTUMWA — On Tuesday the Ottumwa City Council met for the last regularly scheduled meeting of April. Included in the agenda for the evening were several dispositions of city owned property. Structures and land located at 519 W. Fourth St., 723 E. Mar

    April 15, 2014

  • Where to play OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa Community School District wants to discuss moving to another athletic conference. Superintendent Davis Eidahl revealed that the district has been contacted by a smaller sports league, which has extended an invitation to join the

    April 15, 2014

  • 0415 Right side up monster truck pic Nice driver --- mean machine OTTUMWA --- Drivers sat at one end of their vehicles during the "pit party," meeting fans and signing autographs before the motorsport and monster truck exhibition at Bridge View Center this weekend. Monster truck driver Orville Hill let kids --- and

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0415 OTT Composting ethical pic Recycling in a garden OTTUMWA --- Parents will tell you: They hate to see kids waste food. A gardner named Scott Koepke feels the same way. “First, let’s get our food to people who are going to eat it,” he said. “It hurts me to see kids in the schools throw away an entire

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0412 OTT Pothole color photo -T -M [Duplicate] A bumper crop of potholes OTTUMWA — The nice weather has been putting the bad roads on display. Officials say good: It gives us a chance to fix them. “Every city is going through the same thing,” said Larry Seals, Ottumwa Public Works director. “It has been an unusual winter

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Home in a tent OTTUMWA -- As people live without shelter, they become desperate finding a place to sleep. The situation impacts more than just the community's homeless. "There is nowhere to put people who are homeless," said Mary Margaret Butler. "Nowhere." Ottumwa

    April 11, 2014

  • 0412 OTT Martha Speaks color photo -T -M Ottumwa children visited by cartoon star OTTUMWA — Iowa Public Television is celebrating its 45-year anniversary this year by helping communities like Ottumwa educate young children before they get into a school setting. One of the programs they are using to help reach out to children is by

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National