The Rooster Crows – Sept. 17, 2021

By Bill Anderson

Ahhhhh, September! Cool nights, warm days, clear blue skies, and just enough rain to keep the lawn mower from seizing up. If only…if only…but, no, it can’t last. Time marches on! The rain that visited Rutland and vicinity on the afternoon of Monday, September 13, was about as nice as a rain could be. The rain came straight down and soaked right in. No run off to speak of. Roger Pearson reported that his gauge at 409 Gay Street held .6 of an inch when the rain stopped, and Jesse Brakke’s electronic gauge at his farm between Rutland and Cayuga registered .63 of an inch. Janet Kiefer reported that Cayuga was blessed with .8 of an inch. When the days are so beautiful, and the weather is so nice, it’s difficult to envision that harsher, less pleasant conditions await. “There are two seasons in North Dakota,” the late Clayton McLaen used to say, “winter, and getting ready for winter.” This is the time to be getting ready for tougher times ahead. But, what the heck? You can’t work all the time, can you? This week, this month, take some time to enjoy all of the roses you will encounter along your path. Just remember, winter’s a’comin’!

Chuck & Mary Beth Anderson departed here on Tuesday, August 31, bound for Green Bay WI and a tour of picturesque Door County. They returned home on Thursday, September 9. During their trip they took in a real Wisconsin “fish boil,” where they enjoyed a chance meeting with Chuck’s cousin and her husband, Chad & Karla (Kleingarn) Stencel of Minneapolis. Karla is the daughter of Harvey & Sue (McLaen) Kleingarn of Forman. They also took a boat ride on Lake Michigan where they happened to meet Mike & Lisa Markovic, parents of frequent Rutland visitor Alex Markovic, who plan to be visiting at the Jesse Brakke home near Rutland for the 2021 North Dakota Pheasant Season opener in October. The Markovics make their home in Chicago IL. Every silver lining has a cloud, though, and the Andersons’ trip lost some of its luster on the afternoon of Wednesday, September 8, as they were driving west on Wisconsin Highway #29 near Wausau WI. A pallet had apparently fallen off a truck as it crossed the bridge at the Wisconsin River, chuck said, scattering debris across the highway. Two law enforcement vehicles, with lights flashing, were parked on either side of the highway, narrowing the traffic lanes and forcing traffic to slow. Ahead of the Anderson’s 2017 GMC ¾ ton 4X4 pickup and 5th wheel travel trailer was a small Jeep utility vehicle. The driver of the Jeep slammed on his brakes, as did Chuck, but the Andersons’ big rig couldn’t stop as quickly as could the smaller vehicle. Ka-Boom! The Andersons’ pickup slammed into the rear of the Jeep, shattering that vehicles rear window and scattering glass all over the highway. The front end of the Andersons’ pickup was smashed, but, fortunately, no damage was done to the headlights, radiator or engine. The Andersons were able to drive their vehicle home, after a wrecker arrived on the scene and used its winch to pull the right front fender off the tire so the wheel could turn, Chuck said. No one was hurt, and no citations were issued. Well, the best part of any trip is getting home, and even more so this time around. Weber Township might not be as picturesque as Door County, but it’s home sweet home for Chuck & Mary Beth.

Joel Susag was up in Fort Ransom on Saturday & Sunday, September 11 & 12, to take in the second “Sod Busters’” horse farming exhibition of the 2021 season. The event is held in Fort Ransom State Park, and, according to Joel, whether or not it would happen at all this September had been a close thing, due to the State Health Department’s concerns about the spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus.  Participants observed the protocols, said Joel, and everything went off without a hitch. Joel returned to Rutland with several bags of red potatoes that had been harvested the old-fashioned way, by hand, and presented them to the Rutland Seniors’ Center. Joel reports that the crowd at the event was quite large. He and Hal Nelson took Joel’s pickup and a trailer up to Fort Ransom on Tuesday, September 14, to retrieve Joel’s WD-45 Allis-Chalmers tractor that had been driven in a tractorcade from Lisbon to the Fort the previous week. Joel plans to have his vintage tractor in the Uff-Da Day Parade on Sunday, October 3.

Continue reading “The Rooster Crows – Sept. 17, 2021”

The Rooster Crows – Sept. 10, 2021

By Bill Anderson

Rain all the time! Can’t get a thing done! The most recent rain event, on Thursday, September 2, brought the total precipitation since August 20 up to 5” for Rutland and vicinity, give or take a tenth or two, and depending on whose rain gauge you choose to read. For Thursday’s rain, Roger Pearson’s gauge at 409 Gay Street showed 1.5”, while the gauge of his next door neighbor, Norbert Kulzer, showed 1.6” and that of Chuck Sundlie, just 2 blocks south,  read 1.7”. Two miles south of Cayuga, Harvey Bergstrom had 1.15” of rain in his gauge, and Kurt Breker’s rain gauge, just 1 mile south of Cayuga held 1.5”. In Shuman Township, between Rutland and Milnor, Randy Pearson’s rain gauge showed  1¼”, and Shawn Klein topped the list with more than 2” at her home in Havana. The rainfall amounts may vary, but one thing is the same all over the area, the moisture and cooler weather have resurrected and rejuvenated lawns that had been written off as dead or dormant for the remainder of the year, keeping law mowers busy trying to stay ahead of the fast growing grass. With the boys and girls who had been mowing lawns earlier in the Summer now back in school, that’s one more labor shortage the economy has to deal with. Harvey Dawson, who owns a considerable chunk of real estate in the townsite of Brampton, has a flock of sheep on retainer to keep the grass and weeds down on his holdings, an alternative we may have to consider here. Well, when the world is green and growing, we can deal with anything.

Mike Kulzer was in Rutland on Monday, August 30, and stopped in at the Rutland Seniors’ Center for morning coffee and a consultation with The Assembled Wise Men. Mike was in town to assist with some maintenance work at the home of his mother-in-law, Phyllis Erickson, and to do some work on the deer stands he plans to use during the whitetail deer rifle season this coming November. This prompted Mike’s cousin, Norbert Kulzer, to reminisce about his first deer hunt with his brother, Kurt, and father, Romey, back in the early 1950’s. The whitetail deer population in this area at that time was slim to none, so Romey had arranged to take his boys hunting in the sandhills near McLeod, where the whitetails were plentiful. Norbert and Kurt were equipped with shotguns firing slugs, and Romey had the deer hunter’s special, a 30-30 Winchester. Romey positioned the boys in likely spots and told them to keep a sharp eye open for any deer that might come by. It was cold, Norbert recalled, but he had a spot in the sun and out of the wind and he soon dozed off. He suddenly awoke to find a whitetail doe staring at him from just a few feet away. Norbert wanted a buck, so he didn’t shoot. He dozed off, again, and awoke to find himself face to face with a whitetail buck. It wasn’t “The Turty Point Buck,” but it was close. Norbert fumbled with his shotgun and the deer took off. He fired, and the 12 gauge slug hit the deer in the front quarter, rolling him over, but he rolled right back onto his feet and took off running, again. Norbert shot again, hit the deer again, but it kept on going, over the top of a dune and temporarily out of sight. Romey came running over to Norbert’s position to see what all the shooting was about, and the two of them took off after the buck, running for all they were worth. Norbert said that they must have run 2 miles, first one way and then another, until they finally caught up with the deer. “It turned around and charged us!” Norbert said. Romey yelled, “Step aside!  Get out of his way!” and Norbert jumped out of the big buck’s path. As the deer went by, Romey put a 30-30 bullet into him, and he went down for good. “I’ll dress this deer out. You go back and get the pickup,” Romey told Norbert. Norbert started walking, and soon realized that he had no idea where he was, where the pickup was or even where Romey and the deer were at.  Everything looked the same. He just kept walking, figuring that he must eventually find something familiar, but having some doubts. He finally came upon another deer hunter, and asked him if he had seen a newer green & black Dodge pickup. The hunter said that he had seen a beat up old pickup over the next hill, not too far away. Norbert thought that it was probably not their pickup, but it was worth a look. It was the right pickup. It wasn’t beat up, but it was dirty and mud covered from the trip over gravel and dirt roads from Rutland to the sandhills. Norbert said that he still didn’t know where he was, or where Romey or Kurt were, but he drove around until he eventually spotted his Dad and knew that the day was a success. The next year, Romey bought brand new Marlin .35 caliber lever action rifles for Kurt and Norbert. Norbert still has his Marlin, and still uses it during deer season, if he gets a license, a reminder of good days and simpler times.

Continue reading “The Rooster Crows – Sept. 10, 2021”

The Rooster Crows – Sept. 3, 2021

By Bill Anderson

The drought is not yet broken, but it was seriously bent and dented during 8 days NEAR THE END of August. Depending on whose rain gauge you want to believe, Rutland and vicinity received between 3” and 3½” of rain from Friday, August 20 to Saturday, August 28, restoring green to the grass and hope to the hearts of local corn and soybean growers. The meteorologists on TV and radio are telling us that we are still 12” to 13” short of precipitation for the year, though. In the event that the precipitation shortfall is made up in snowfall this coming winter, we are looking at about 12 feet of snow just to get back to “normal,” whatever that is. Here in Rutland, we’re still praying for rain, but keeping the snow shovel handy.

A crew from Morris Seal Coat of Morris MN took advantage of the hot, dry conditions that prevailed prior to August 20 to apply a seal coat of oil and chips to 15 miles of County Road #10 and County Road #7 near Rutland and Havana. The sections of road in this area that received the treatment included the 3 miles from ND Highway #11 north to the intersection with County #10A; the 7 miles of County #10 from Rutland south to the intersection with County #7; and, the 5 miles of County #7 from the intersection with County #10 through Havana to ND Highway #32. Several other sections of Sargent County roads were also slated to receive seal coats, according to County Road Commissioner Jason Arth. The seal coat is intended to preserve the existing pavement and extend its life for another 7 to 10 years. Several other sections of County roads, such as #10 south from ND Highway #11 through Rutland; and, County #12 from ND Highway #11 at Cayuga to ND Highway #13; are in line for new pavement overlays, but those projects have to wait for funding from the Federal Government’s new infrastructure bill. The seal coat projects now underway and recently completed were paid for with funds from the existing Federal Aid program and matching money from the County’s Federal Aid Roads mill levy. Sargent County’s annual allotment was not sufficient to pay for the current seal coat projects, but the program does allow counties to borrow ahead if funds are available and to repay the borrowing, at no interest, with future allocations.

Rutland Community Club President Katie McLaen reports that preparations for Uff-Da Day XXXVI on Sunday, October 3, are progressing well. According to Katie, Lefse Lena has 2 more lefse making sessions scheduled: at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 9; and, at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 14. Both sessions will be in the kitchen of the Rutland Town Hall. Anyone who wants to practice their lefse making skills, or who wants to learn just how lefse is made, is welcome to participate. Just give Katie McLaen a call, or show up at the Rutland Town Hall on Thursday, September 9 and Tuesday, September 14.

Continue reading “The Rooster Crows – Sept. 3, 2021”

The Rooster Crows – August 3, 2021

When it comes to describing the weather for the past week, hot and dry are the only words needed. The weather has been ideal for threshing wheat, however, and many local producers are reporting that they have been pleasantly surprised by the yields and quality they are finding. No one is quite sure where the water came from to produce yields in the 50 to 60 bushel range, while the hot dry conditions above the roots produced high protein and an uninterrupted harvest. Test weights of 62 to 63 pounds to the bushel are also being reported. The biggest complaint that most around here seem to have is that they either didn’t plant enough wheat, or that they didn’t plant any at all. Well, a good yield with good quality and a good price are always welcome, especially when a disastrously low yield, shrunken kernels and a low price were expected. Well, it’s still not too late for the corn and soybean crops to disappoint everyone.

There will be no disappointments in Rutland this Saturday, August 7, as a half dozen, or more, rib chefs compete for the title of “Best Ribs In Rutland. This will be the 12th Annual Rib Fest. It would have been the 13th, but the event was not held in 2020 due to the covid-19 pandemic. Pete & Michelle Denault, owners & operators of The Lariat Bar and sponsors of Rib Fest 2021 Have arranged for vendors of ribs, sweet corn and other good food to be on hand for the main event, and a Junk-Fest with bargains of all kinds will also be held. A car show with classic, antique and restored automobiles of every description will also be presented. The evening will be capped off with live music and a street dance for the young at heart. Don’t miss it! Rib Fest in Rutland on Saturday, August 7.

Chuck & Mary Beth Anderson were at Buffalo Lake MN, near Richmont MN, for a family reunion of the descendants of the late Roy & Helen (Hermanson) Anderson of this community, from Friday through Sunday, July 23-25. Chuck, the youngest of Roy & Helen’s 6 children, reports that children, grandchildren and great grandchildren representing all 6 branches of the family tree: the late Richard Anderson; Beverly (Anderson) Brezicka; Janice (Anderson) Lee; the late Larry Anderson; Diane (Anderson) Baker; and, Charles Anderson; were present at the reunion. According to Chuck, a good time was had by all.

Chuck & Mary Beth Anderson were at Buffalo Lake MN, near Richmont MN, for a family reunion of the descendants of the late Roy & Helen (Hermanson) Anderson of this community, from Friday through Sunday, July 23-25. Chuck, the youngest of Roy & Helen’s 6 children, reports that children, grandchildren and great grandchildren representing all 6 branches of the family tree: the late Richard Anderson; Beverly (Anderson) Brezicka; Janice (Anderson) Lee; the late Larry Anderson; Diane (Anderson) Baker; and, Charles Anderson; were present at the reunion. According to Chuck, a good time was had by all.

Dianna Anderson returned to her apartment in Rutland on Thursday, July 22, after 2 months of recovery and therapy as the result of injuries sustained in a fall at a high school graduation party back in May. She reports that hospitals and nursing homes are OK places, when you need them, but, for a real feeling of recovery, there’s no place like home. Dianna’s many friends here extend a hearty “Welcome home!”

A message recently arrived from Montana carried the information that Rutland native Glenn Kulzer, eldest son of Dave & Pat Kulzer, set 4 world records in long distance shooting in competition at the International Benchrest Shooters (IBS) Match #8 at Deep Creek MT on Sunday, June 13, 2021. Glenn captured the 4 records in the heavy gun class: Best 10 Shot Group; Best 10 Shot Match; Best Group Score; and Best Match Score; by shooting a 2.695” ten shot group at 1,000 yards. The old record of 2.871” was set back in 2016. Glenn was shooting a custom made, heavy barreled 6 mm rifle when he set the records. When he’s not engaged in competition shooting, or hunting & fishing in the mountains of southwestern Montana, Glenn is employed as a pharmacist in the city of Dillon MT. The Rutland community extends congratulations to Glenn on his achievement. As one of his cousins, the late Arden Anderson, used to say, “The cream always rises to the top.” You bet it does!

The regular monthly meeting of the Rutland City Council was convened in the Rutland City Hall by Mayor Mike Mahrer at 5:15 p.m. on Monday, August 2, with City Auditor Deb Banish; and, Council members Lori McLaen and Delores Lysne present. Council members Rodney Erickson and Colton Corry were absent. Also present was Rutland resident Bill Anderson. During the Public Comment section of the meeting, Mr. Anderson urged the Council to take action to replace the badly deteriorated sidewalk on the east side of Main Street and to make provisions in the 2022 City Budget for a street and sidewalk repair fund. The Council considered the Petition to vacate the platted alley through the north half of Block #3 of Green’s Addition of 1907, and, there being no objections, approved vacating said platted alley. Although platted as an alley back in 1907, the property had never been improved, maintained or used as an alley. The Resolution to Vacate will take effect after it has been published in the City’s official newspaper and has been recorded in the County Recorder’s Office at the County Courthouse in Forman. Mayor Mahrer reported that Maguire Iron of Sioux Falls SD had repaired the leaks in the Rutland Municipal water tower on Sunday, July 25, by welding a patch on the outside of the tank and by welding the leaks shut on the inside of the tank. The workmen also cleaned the inside of the tank and performed other maintenance work on the tower and the tank. The Mayor also reported that he had arranged to have Dale Peplinski mow the grass and weeds on the dikes at the Municipal Sewage Lagoon west of town. He had also met with TEAM Labs about the condition of the water in the lagoon, and had been advised to plant microbes in the lagoon to take care of problems with sludge and other solids in the water. The microbes have been ordered and will be put to work as soon as they arrive. Some advantages to using microbes for this purpose are that they never complain about working conditions, and don’t mind working for less than the minimum wage. City Auditor Banish presented a Preliminary Budget for 2022 that provides for levying just under the City’s 105 mill limit for the coming year. The Preliminary Budget does include a designated sidewalk repair fund. After a brief discussion, the Council approved the Preliminary Budget as presented. Final passage of the 2022 Budget will be voted on at the Monday, October 4, Council meeting following a public hearing. Council members approved changing the date of the September meeting from Monday, September 13, to Tuesday, September 7. After reviewing the City’s bills, and authorizing payment, the Council adjourned. The next meeting of the Rutland City Council is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 7, in the Rutland Town Hall. All meetings of the Rutland City Council are open to the public, and Rutland residents are invited to stop in to observe their City Government in action.

Rutland natives Art Fust (RHS Class of ’63) and Pete Fust (SCHS Class of ’73) stopped in their old home town on the afternoon of Sunday, August 1, for a visit with Art’s boyhood friend and RHS classmate, Bill Anderson. Both Art and Pete grew up on the Fust farm 1½ mile north of Rutland. The farm is now operated by their brother, Earl. Art has made his home at Billings MT for the past several decades, and Pete says that he migrates between New Mexico and California, still practicing his vocation as an arborist. On Monday morning, Art & Pete were joined by their brother, James, for a conference with the Assembled Wise Men during morning coffee at the Rutland Seniors Center. James makes his home at Park City MT, near Billings. The Fust brothers had all attended a reunion of the extended Fust family in Fargo on Saturday, July 31, except for James, who came to Rutland on Saturday to attend the memorial service for his old friend and high school classmate, Steve Preble. On Tuesday, August 3, they headed for the lakes country of Minnesota for a get-together of their immediate family: Kathleen (Fust) Mehus of Fargo; Arthur Fust of Billings MT; Earl Fust of Milnor & Rutland; James Fust of Park City MT; Linda (Fust) Young of Minneapolis; and, Norman Peter “Pete” Fust, on the road between NM and CA. Only sister Rosemary, who makes her home in England, is expected to be absent from the gathering.

Among those who travelled to Rutland to pay their respects to the memory of the late Steven Preble last week was the Rev. Liesebet Gravley of Newport KY. Rev. Gravley served as an intern pastor at Nordland Lutheran Church in Rutland and Trinity Lutheran Church in Havana during 2013 & 2014. She and Steve shared an interest in sports and developed a friendship that continued after her internship here had ended. She delivered a eulogy at the memorial service that stressed the importance of friendship and communication in our lives. Rev. Gravley currently serves as Pastor to a small, originally rural, congregation, about the same size as Nordland, in the community of Cold Spring KY, just across the Ohio River from the city of Cincinnati OH. She extends greetings to all of the friends here that she didn’t get a chance to greet during her visit. Her parents, who frequently visited in Rutland during Liesebet’s internship here, have recently moved from their longtime home in Fort Wayne, Indiana, to Oklahoma in order to be closer to grandchildren, she said.

This community was saddened once again when word was received here that Rutland native Perry Donaldson had passed away at his home in Moorhead MN on Friday, July 30, at the age of 62 years 5 months and 17 days. Perry Allen Donaldson was born on February 13, 1959 at Britton SD to Aldon & Lorraine (Askerooth) Donaldson, the 4th of their 5 sons. Perry attended elementary school in Rutland, and graduated from Sargent Central High School in 1977. Following high school, he enlisted in the U. S. Army for 2 years. He received his Honorable Discharge from the Army in 1979, and returned to Rutland where he was employed at a variety of jobs, including several years at the Bobcat factory in Gwinner. He later moved to the Fargo-Moorhead area where he was again employed at a variety of jobs, including a stint in the maintenance department of the Fargo VA Medical Center. Perry is survived by 2 brothers: Greg Donaldson of Rutland; and, James Donaldson of Fargo. He was preceded in death by his parents and by 2 brothers: Donald Donaldson; and, Scott Donaldson. Interment will be in the Rutland Cemetery at a date in the future to be determined by the family. Price Funeral Chapel of Britton and Forman is assisting the family with arrangements. Condolences may be sent to Greg Donaldson, PO Box 184, Rutland ND 58067. The Rutland community extends its condolences to the family and friends of Perry Donaldson, a man who struggled with life, and tried to do the right thing.

Dave Young of this community reports that he spent the last week of July at the home of his parents in Rochester MN. Dave’s father, John Young, passed away on Friday, July 30, 2 days short of his 88th birthday, after a long struggle with complications of diabetes. The Rutland community extends condolences to Dave on the death of his father.

Meanwhile, on the national scene, areas of the redneck South are aflame with the Delta variant of the covid-19 virus. The rising infection rate is primarily, 99%, among those who have not yet received a vaccination that would have protected them against the worst effects of the virus. So, if you are among those who have not yet obtained a vaccination against covid-19, what are you waiting for? The handwriting is on the wall. Pull your head out of wherever you have it stuck and get your vaccination. The vaccination costs nothing. Failing to get it could cost you your health, and possibly your life. To make arrangements to obtain a vaccination, call: Sargent County Public Health at 724-3725; Forman Drug at 724-6222; or, Sanford clinic at 742-3267. Do yourself, your family, your friends and your community a favor and a great service. . Get your covid-19 vaccination today!

Well, that’s the news from rutland for this week. For additional information about what’s going on in the little city that can, check out the community’s internet web site at http://www.rutlandnd.com, and take a look at the Rutland Facebook page while you’re at it, too. Don’t forget to patronize your local Post Office, and remember to keep the pressure on the U. S. Postal Service and the North Dakota Congressional delegation to SAVE OUR POST OFFICE! Later.

The Rooster Crows – July 30, 2021

By Bill Anderson

“Good things come to those who wait,” the old saying goes, and those who were waiting for a good rain got what they were waiting for last weekend. A brief shower, accompanied by a few rumbles of thunder, passed over Rutland and vicinity at about 8:30 on the morning of Friday, July 23, leaving anywhere from .1 to .15 of an inch of rain in its wake, not much, but enough to prime the pump. Mother Nature let loose with a real rip snorter, though, early on Saturday morning, about bar closing time. Dick Meyers reported that the lightning and thunder shook him right out of bed at about 1:30 a.m., just before the lights went out. Otter Tail Power customers in Rutland were without electricity for 3 hours, until 4:30 a.m., when the juice started flowing through the wires, again. When all the excitement had subsided, local rain gauges, as usual, recorded various amounts of rainfall. Roger Pearson’s gauge held .7 of an inch; while the gauge of his next door neighbor, Norbert Kulzer, held .8; and, Chuck Sundlie’s gauge, only 2 blocks south, held .9.  Duane Lock reported that both rainfall events totaled 1.15 inch at his farm 3 miles west of Rutland; Nick McLaen reported the highest amount, 1.2 inch, 2 miles northwest of town; Mark Wyum had an even 1 inch in his gauge about 1½ mile northeast of town; Jesse Brakke’s gauge between Rutland & Cayuga showed .85 of an inch; Ted Lee reportedl.6 of an inch at his farm in Tewaukon Township, with no rain at all on Friday; and, Harvey Bergstrom reported .74 of an inch of rain at his farm 2 miles south of Cayuga. It was a timely rain, some might call it a “lifesaver” for the corn and soybean crops that are now in critical stages of development. It didn’t do pastures, hay meadows, lawns, gardens and tree belts any harm, either.  We’re willing to take more.

Rodney Erickson has Had his spray plane down at 2 fair communities to our south, Fairmount NE and Fairberry NE, for the past few weeks, applying fungicide on fields of irrigated corn in that region. Fairmount and Fairberry are located southwest of Lincoln, the home of the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers football team. Those cornhuskers don’t want to find any fungus among us. Rodney reported that he expected to be done there by August 1, unless additional opportunities to apply fungicides, herbicides or pesticides present themselves.

The title of “Best Ribs In Rutland” will be up for grabs during the annual Rutland Rib Fest on Saturday, August 7.  The event was not held in 2020 due to the covid-19 pandemic, but is coming back in 2021, better than ever. The Lariat Bar, Pete & Michelle Denault, owners, is the sponsor of the event. According to Alex Rohrbach, bartender & waitress at The Lariat, there will be rib vendors, sweet corn vendors and other vendors and live music on Main Street, and lots of fun for all.  Don’t miss it.  Rib Fest in Rutland on Saturday, August 7.

Continue reading “The Rooster Crows – July 30, 2021”

The Rooster Crows – July 23, 2021

By Bill Anderson

The brief rain shower that passed through Rutland and vicinity on the afternoon of Monday, July 19, was the equivalent of a bloop single that spoiled what would have been a perfect game for the Drought team this past week: no rain; no fog; and, no dew. Although the rain came down hard for a few minutes, it did not leave even a slight measurable trace in any of the local rain gauges. The haze that has been hanging in the sky for the past week is not any kind of moisture in the atmosphere, the weather gurus tell us, but is smoke from the fires in western Canada; eastern Canada; and, the northwestern U. S. The fires have already consumed hundreds of thousands of acres of timber and, with no rain in sight, are expected to continue until there is either significant rainfall, or all of the timber is consumed, whichever occurs first. In the meantime, the thought that, “Every day that it doesn’t rain is one day closer to the day that it will,” is keeping hope alive out here on the Great American Desert.

The harvest of Hard Red Spring Wheat commenced last week, and mixed results, ranging from poor to worse are being reported. Despite some reports of yields as low as 9 bushels to the acre, trucks filled with wheat are rolling down Main Street in Rutland, heading for the Wheaton-Dumont Co-op’s facility here, Rodney Erickson’s refurbished Rutland Elevator. The relative success of the harvest seems to be directly tied to when the crop was seeded. Cameron Gulleson reports that Gulleson Brothers have harvested some fields that were planted just before the one good rain this area received back in April, and those fields have yielded from 15 to 30 bushels to the acre. That is a long way from the 50 to 70 bushel wheat yields to which local producers have become accustomed, though. Old timers remember when 20 bushel wheat would have been a bumper crop, and a $2.00 price was boom times. This year, though, the only bright spot in the picture is that the reports of skimpy yields have pushed the price of wheat up to nearly $7.00 per bushel in some markets, so there’s always some good news, even if you have to look under the rocks to find it.

Eugene Erickson of Ithaca NY, accompanied by one of his sons, Jeff Erickson, visited in Rutland at Noon on Wednesday, July 14. The two were on a family history fact finding mission, and were in Rutland looking for information concerning Eugene’s mother, the late Ida (Helberg) Erickson. The original Helbergs were Swedish Immigrants who homesteaded on the Tewaukon-Ransom Township Line southeast of Rutland back in the 1890’s. The original farmhouse was in Tewaukon Township, and the barn was in Ransom. Their farmstead is now the site of Roger Nelson’s farm headquarters. Eugene’s mother was a daughter of these immigrants, and a younger sister of the late Theodore “Ted” Helberg of this community. Ida married Oscar Erickson of Dunbar Township, and they later settled at McLeod ND, in Ransom County. Eugene, now 92 years of age, grew up in McLeod ND and graduated from high school there. Oscar Erickson was a brother of Alvin Erickson, father of the famous “Uncle Ed” Erickson of Shuman Township who is noted as the inventor of the Eagle Ditcher and as one of the mastermind builders of the frying pan for Rutland’s “World’s Largest Hamburger” back in 1982. Eugene went to college at NDSU, at that time titled North Dakota College of Agriculture and Applied Science, in Fargo, graduating with a Degree in Agriculture in 1953. He then went on to graduate school at Michigan State University, and to a teaching career as a Professor of Rural Sociology at Cornell University in Ithaca NY, one of the most prestigious agricultural colleges in the world. Eugene has been retired for a quarter of a century, but he is still mentally & physically active, and, to look at him you would think that he is 62, not 92. While in Rutland, the Ericksons had dinner at the Rutland Seniors Center, and enjoyed visiting with many there, including Dick Meyers, who remembered the late Ted & Tina Helberg well. They had also stopped at the Sargent County Museum in Forman to do some research in the local newspapers from years ago. Jeff had found the obituary for his great grandmother, Karina Helberg, and from that had picked up some new trails to follow in their search for family history. When they departed Rutland, the Ericksons were headed for the Alan & Doreen Olstad farm, to check out their family’s connection to the Olstad family.

Continue reading “The Rooster Crows – July 23, 2021”