The annual Threshing Bee gave spectators a walk down memory lane

COLFAX, WA - If you've been on the Palouse during summer or fall, you've probably seen a big combine rolling through a field.

But how did farmers collect their wheat before those big machines?

Farming families and photographers from all around came to Colfax Monday to experience a blast from the part.

"We're here to see how our grandfather and great grandfather's farmed and see the traditions," said Shannon Gfeller.

Others came to walk down memory lane.

"First memory of farming was with horse drawn combines," said Leona Conrad.

The annual Threshing Bee at the Palouse Empire Fairgrounds is a way for people to be reminded of how far farming machinery has come and also how hard past generations worked to thresh wheat.

Threshing is the process that removes the edible part of the wheat from the inedible chaff. Monday the threshing was done using only horse power, or in this case mule power, and a 1920's steam engine.

It would take one farmer with a modern combine about four hours to thresh the amount of wheat it will take 30 plus people all day with this vintage machinery.

Each trip to the thresher results in a surprisingly small amount of grain. All that man power and all that effort only yielded about 50 pounds worth of hard winter wheat. Really makes you respect what they used to do out here on the farms.

The Palouse Empire Threshing Bee has been an annual event since the mid-1970's.