Chaplain, Western Steam Fiends Association, Goldendale, Washington
It's been some time since anything from the far West has been in The Album, so I thought I'd report.
My wife and I could attend only one Threshing Bee this year and it was at the Evan T. Jones and Son's Ranch near Riverside, Washington. The Ranch is situated in a most beautiful but very rugged section which used to be a very favorite hunting ground of the Indian, the Colville Reservation is now not far away. The fields in this section aren't large like those in Whitman County where Chris. Busch lives, farms and most important, holds his Threshing Bee. However, these fields of the Jones Ranch are productive. Cattle is also quite a 'crop' with the Evans Jones'. A large herd was grazing the meadow where the 'Bee took place.
We arrived in time on Saturday to see the 'set', a most interesting proceeding. Three engines were 'hot'. One that was used to give rides to those who wanted them, one seemed to be only for inspection, and the other, a well-restored Buffalo Pitts, was used for power. Mr. Jones and his helpers bustled about getting everything in order, belting up the separator, some of the belts were a bit damp and so were hard to get on but with a trick with a rope Mr. Jones did it. About 3 o'clock George Saur who was running the engine, gave the whistle to start feeding, slow, for the grain was damp, it had been raining for several days previously. It was thrilling indeed to this writer to hear, see, and smell all that goes with old time steam threshing. The soft puff, puff of the old engine, which seemed to be proud to be at work again, if such a thing could be, the roar of the stacker, the whisper of grain going into the sack, the smell of hot oil, and at the separator, the smell of the crushed straw. My, oh, my! Pretty soon the pitchers were down to dry grain and the whistle came to pour it on - that they did! Then came, now and then, a bark from the old engine as a tough bundle was tossed in. By evening one stack was threshed and there was a little pile of sacks filled with the wheat. Many old-timers, and some new ones, tried their hand at sewing the sacks.
Mr. George Saur, who (as I've said) was operating the Buffalo Pitts, recently built a 5 foot long working model of a 65 H.P. J.I. Case which is now on display at the museum at Cashmere, Washington, and attracting just a lot of attention. It is a honey!
Mr. Evan T. Jones and his family, are most wonderful hosts to all the folks who attend his 'Bee'. More power to them. Steam power, that is.