This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V23", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Says a correspondent, "The Live Oak grows singly, or in its park-like groves, and is a most beautiful tree, but utterly valueless here for anything but firing. Its companion along the water courses, the button-ball, though unlike its eastern cousin in having four or more balls strung at intervals on one string, and in having a large leaf, is as worthless as the Sycamore of the Atlantic.
"One place we visited," he continues, "had thirty acres of currants, and this fruit, as well as the cherries of this region, is, perhaps, the finest and largest fruit in the world. But what shall we say of the following, its facts being fully confirmed.
"One day we camped near a ranch at Grayson, and watched the Leviathan harvester at work. Twenty horses in two lines were hitched, one-half on each side of the ponderous pole which extended behind to propel the colossal machine. The end of the pole in the rear was supported on a castor-wheel, and a man on a high seat on the pole, guided the huge engine by a tiller. In front was a cutting bar snipping off only the heads of the grain, and making a swath sixteen to twenty feet wide. The height of the cut was regulated by a man on the platform of the great machine. Another man attended a large lever, and the heads of the grain fell into an endless apron which carried them to an elevator, which in turn lifted them to a mammoth thrasher mounted on the platform. Another man attended the thrasher which ran out its debris on the cut stubbles, and delivered its thrashed grain into a fan, also carried on the platform. This fan also had an attendant, who swiftly supplied it with empty sacks, sewed up the full ones, and then dumped them overboard into the ocean of a grain field through which they were travelling.
Thus forty acres were cut, thrashed, cleaned and sacked per day by only four men and twenty horses! Wagons following gathered up the precious freight and hauled it to the river side for embarkation. The harvester was attended by a kitchen on wheels, so that the men had no need to return for meals. The owner, Mr. F., said he was only a one-horse rancher, and yet he drove his machine two and a half miles through grain in one straight stretch without turning." This seems like romance, but it is all certainly true.