The Rooster Crows -March 19, 2021

By Bill Anderson

March! The month that was put on the calendar so people who don’t drink can know what a hangover feels like. From Winter to Spring to Winter and Spring and back again, slushy snow, mud, soft roads treacherous ice and the accumulated trash of Winter on full display in your front yard. How is it that a lawn that was so energetically raked and meticulously cleaned up last Fall and then gently covered by Winter’s first snowfall looks as if it has been abandoned for a decade when the snow disappears in March? Somebody buried broken branches, old bones, rocks, dog droppings, plastic bags and other debris under the snow when you weren’t looking. Well, nobody ever said that it was going to be easy.

The snow system that moved through eastern North Dakota last Wednesday, March 10, deposited 8 inches of snow on Rutland and vicinity. By Thursday, March 11, the snow had turned to 8 inches of slush, and by Friday it was, for the most part, gone with the wind. Sunday was sunny with a high of 53 degrees, followed by Monday with a high of 34 and a stiff southeast wind. More snow on Tuesday produced more slush that disappeared just about as fast as it accumulated, and temperatures were predicted to be up in the 50’s, possibly the 60’s, again by the weekend. The Vernal Equinox, the first day of Spring, occurs on Saturday, March 20, and after that Spring is here to stay, no matter how much snow and cold we have to put up with in subsequent days.

Mother Nature’s bird-brained meteorologists, the snow geese, are betting that Spring is here to stay. They have been moving into this area since the beginning of March, and Tewaukon Refuge Manager Pat Fitzmorris reports that approximately 500,000 of the birds were parked on Lake Tewaukon over the first weekend of the month. More are on the way, too, as millions of them are now reported to be in Nebraska and South Dakota, with the peak of the snow goose migration in this area expected to occur during the first week of April. Wildlife biologists have been studying the behaviors of migratory birds, such as snow geese, for many years, and have found some answers to some long-asked questions. For instance, migrating geese always fly in a “V” formation, with one side of the “V” always being longer than the other, and people have long wondered why that is. The answer, it turns out, can be figured out with basic mathematics – the longer side is longer because there are more geese on that side. It’s all pretty simple if you get down to basics.

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The Rooster Crows- March 12, 2021

By Bill Anderson

From below Zero on Monday, March 1 to 62 above Zero on Monday, March 8, a very welcome respite from Winter, but “respite” is the operative word. Monday’s high temperature broke a record that had stood since 1911, when the mercury soared to 54 above zero. Tuesday’s high of 65 degrees above Zero was also a record, eclipsing the 58-degree mark that had been set in 2015. Winter is not done, yet, however. On Wednesday, March 10, the weather gurus are predicting a high of 35 and possible snow. You can rest easy, though, as Winter’s days are definitely numbered.  Daylight Savings Time is scheduled to make its arrival at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, March 14, and the Vernal Equinox, the First Day of Spring, according to the timetable established by the Creator of the Universe, makes its arrival on Saturday, March 20. These two harbingers of better days ahead are more precise and dependable than the groundhog, the snow geese and the first robin, although not nearly as colorful, active and noisy. Once the Vernal Equinox arrives, spring has definitely sprung, regardless of what the thermometer says. So, just sit back and relax. Winter will make its exit and Spring will make its entrance in their own good time, and all of our questions, comments and complaints will not alter their pace one whit. Meanwhile, keep your snow shovel handy, just in case you have to shovel some of that Spring sunshine off your driveway.

Paul Anderson of this community reports that he is a grandpa, again. Miss Arlo Lake Elfering was born on Monday, March 1, 2021, in Seattle WA to Paul’s daughter & son-in-law, Katie & Josh Elfering. She weighed in at 7 pounds 7½ ounces, according to Grandpa, but he wasn’t sure how tall she was on arrival. Her Mom is 5’2” and her Dad is 6’8”, so she has possibilities in either direction. Arlo joins her big brother, Rhys, in the Elfering household. Congratulations to the Elferings, and to Arlo’s proud Grandpa Paul.

CORRECTION: In last week’s report of the Monday, March 1, Rutland City Council meeting, the last names of City Council member Colton Corry and City Engineer Mike Basingthwaite were misspelled. Apologies are extended to Mr. Corry and Mr. Basingthwaite for the errors, and thanks to City Auditor Debbie Banish for noticing the errors and providing the corrections.

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The Rooster Crows – March 5, 2021

The weather roller coaster continues. From a high of 48 above on Friday, February 26 to below zero on the morning of Monday, March 1, then back up to a high of 57 above on Tuesday, March 2. Well, the old timers used to say, “If you don’t like the weather in North Dakota, just wait a minute. It’ll change.” In a land in which there always has to be something to be concerned about, though, the extreme swings in temperature, along with the lack of moisture in the topsoil and in the atmosphere, has some local farmers worried. Sargent County has not experienced a severe drought, a drought that completely eliminated the year’s crop, since 1988, but, right now, 2021 appears to be putting the conditions in place for a repeat of that performance. Of course, if you don’t like that forecast, just wait a minute. It’ll change!

Rutland native Judie Seavert reported from the Texas Gulf Coast on Thursday, February 25, that the weather inn Port Aransas TX had returned to normal, with clear blue skies and temperatures in the 70’s. Judy also reported that the severely cold weather that hit Texas 3 weeks ago wreaked havoc with fish populations that inhabit the shallow waters near the shore, in addition to inflicting terrible damage to vegetation in the area. According to Judie, crews were busy cleaning up huge piles of odoriferous dead fish from the beach this past week, and big sea turtles that had been rescued from the cold by commercial fishermen were being returned to the sea after getting a warmup at local rescue centers. The weather fluctuation also seemed to pique the appetite of the area’s premier game fish, the red snapper, and Judie’s husband, Steve Grohs, had been out on the Gulf on several occasions, bringing in his limit. There is nothing that is so bad that somebody can’t get some good out of it, and if it takes a weather disaster to get some good fishing, well, so be it.

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The Rooster Crows – Feb. 26, 2021

The Sun always shines on Rutland, even when it’s raining, or snowing, too. The weather gods gave up on hard-core winter weather this past week. From Monday, February 15, to Monday, February 22, the mercury climbed more than 70 degrees. The high on the 22nd was still only 47 degrees above, but it felt nearly tropical after the below zero siege of the previous week. The thermometer reading had slid below the freezing mark on Tuesday, January 19, with the below zero stuff clobbering us from Feb. 9th to the 16th, and didn’t get back above freezing until Saturday, February 20. It wasn’t a record, but it was beginning to feel like one. The nice thing about winter is that, like hitting your thumb with a hammer, it feels so good when it stops. Don’t worry, though, it’s not over, yet. Like the 45th President of the United States, until it’s melted down into a puddle in the middle of the street, it’ll be back!

The recent spell of very cold weather thickened the ice on local bodies of water, allowing more anglers to get out on the ice to go fishing. Mark Breker of this community reports that he has been fishing recently, and has caught some fish, but, in adherence to the Fisherman’s Code, he is unable to reveal when he was fishing, where he was fishing and what kind of fish he has been catching. If you want to find out, watch for Mark’s Snowbear out on the ice somewhere within 20 miles of Rutland.

Meanwhile, in the Lone Star State, where everything is bigger than life, including winter storms, excuses, lies and cringing politicians, it took a small group of North Dakotans to give Texans an example of how to behave in a disaster. Once the power, heat and water had been restored to the winter home of Rutland native Judie Seavert and her husband, Steve Grohs, they reached out to others who were not so fortunate and provided a warm respite from the ice, snow and cold, complete with Judie’s home cooking, to other Sargent County folks, including: Mike & Cheryl Zirnhelt; Harris & Carol Hoistad; and Bill & Denise Huckell. While the Governor of Texas tried to blame others for his failure to prepare his State’s power grid for the disaster, and one of Texas’ U. S. Senators tried to blame his 2 little daughters for his cowardly decision to skedaddle to Mexico when the lights went out in Texas, North Dakotans in Texas did what North Dakotans do, and shared the comfort of their home, the warmth of their friendship and the products of their kitchen with those who were temporarily not so fortunate. Texas may be bigger and better in a lot of ways, but, when it comes to character, compassion and cookin’, North Dakotans take the prize, hands down. Thanks to Judie & Steve, Mike& Cheryl, Harris & Carol and Bill & Denise for being North Dakota’s ambassadors in Texas.

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The Rooster Crows – Feb. 19, 2021

Below zero at dawn; Below zero at dusk; It’s getting old; should all be told; we’re tired of this incessant cold. Burma Shave! It’s not a record, but some communities in eastern North Dakota have just experienced 10, or more, consecutive days during which the thermometer has failed to claw its way above the zero mark. In Rutland, the mercury dropped below zero on the evening of Wednesday, February 10, and did not get into positive territory until the afternoon of Tuesday, February 16, and then not by much. The cold weather is not just local, either. Rutland native Judie (Anderson-Seavert) Grohs reported on Monday, February 15, from her winter haven at Port Aransas TX, that the temperature there was at the 21-degree mark and that the entire Texas Gulf Coast community was without electricity and covered in ice. The only folks moving around, Judie said, were the winter refugees from North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota, who were the only people down there with the know how to walk or drive on the ice. Judie also reported that the ice had taken down power lines all over Texas, leaving more than a million Texans without electricity. So, spending the winter in North Dakota, where ice, snow, wind and cold are part of the daily winter routine, isn’t all that bad. The residents here prepare for winter, and, as a result, the plumbing isn’t frozen, the electricity works, and central heat keeps folks comfortable. As the late Clayton McLaen of this community often observed, “There are two seasons in North Dakota: winter; and getting ready for winter.” We’re ready! We’re ready to be done with it for a while, too, now that bragging rights have been established. The TV weather gurus are predicting temperatures in the 30’s and 40’s above zero for the upcoming weekend. Bring it on!

Mr. Alex Marcovich of Madison WI and Mr. Joe Diaz of Chicago IL were visitors at the Jesse Brakke residence in Ransom Township last week. The two have been visitors to the Rutland Community several times in the past, most frequently for community events such as Uff-Da Day and Memorial Day, but this year they wanted to experience something different, ice-fishing on the prairie. They arrived on Wednesday, February 10, as the mercury slid below the zero mark, and headed back east on Saturday, February 13, having caught their limit of ice, as well as some nice perch, walleyes, and northern pike. Their best catch of the trip, though, was on the evening of Friday, February 12, when they stopped at The Lariat Bar and ordered the walleye special. Alex had the pan-fried walleye and Joe ordered the deep-fried walleye. They agreed that both were outstanding. Alex is a commercial pilot flying charter flights for SC Airlines of Madison, and Joe is an IT Specialist employed by the Home Chef division of Kroeger Foods in Chicago. Alex was first introduced to Rutland by Jesse’s daughter, Claire, when they were students at UND in Grand Forks. Alex and Joe have been friends since boyhood days in Chicago. Claire, the real fisherman of the bunch, wasn’t able to take time off from her duties as an Occupational Therapist in the Madison area to show the boys how to catch the big ones. Maybe next time. They are hoping to be back in Rutland for Uff-Da Day on the first Sunday in October, if not sooner.

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The Rooster Crows – February 12, 2021

By Bill Anderson

The month of February has brought with it the coldest weather of the year, making January, the usual cold weather champ, seem like a semi-tropical memory by comparison. Starting on Wednesday, February 3, the day after Ground Hog’s Day, the mercury began to drop and has only risen above the zero mark on a couple of occasions since then. But, while frigid temperatures are torture for some, they are opportunity for others. Mr. Sawyer Toepke, an elementary student at Sargent Central, reports that he is organizing a hockey team, and that he already has 20 prospective players lined up, if they can find 20 pairs of skates and 20 hockey sticks. Sawyer should probably be thinking of lining up a team dentist, as well. The optimism of youth sees opportunity where others see only misery and discomfort. Hang in there, Sawyer, and bring the NHL’s Stanley Cup back to Sargent County some cold winter day. That ought to make the sun shine! As the old timers used to say, “Nobody ever succeeded beyond their wildest expectations, unless they had some wild expectations to begin with.”

Ice fishing! The cold weather now has the ice on local water holes thick enough for reasonably sane anglers to get out there and go after the ever elusive walleye. Some reports have been received of a few fishermen having some success on a local body of water that bears the name of three former Sargent County Commissioners. If you know your county’s history, you might be able to figure out where that hot spot might be, but by then the fish will have quit biting. Have faith.

Rutland native Mavis (Hoflen) Wold called friends here on Friday, Feb. 5, reporting that she is still in the hospital recovering from the broken leg she suffered a month ago. Mavis said that she had been working in the kitchen of her Minneapolis home when she lost her footing, fell and sustained the broken leg. She is currently undergoing therapy, and hopes to be back in her home in the near future. Mavis is the eldest daughter of the late Oscar & Alma (Anderson) Hoflen of this community. She is a member of the RHS Class of ’47. Her many friends here wish her a speedy recovery and return home.

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