The Rooster Crows – Sept. 16, 2022

By Bill Anderson

The long, hot days of Summer ended, and Autumn’s more moderate temperament, took over on the morning of Friday, September 9, with the mercury in the 40’s as day dawned and the high temperature for the day only hitting the 70 mark, replacing the high 80’s and low 90’s of the preceding week. The soybean and corn crops are beginning to show the effects of fewer hours of sunlight, cooler weather and dry conditions, as many fields are turning color, from green to gold, at a rapid pace. No combines are rolling, yet, but, with soybean and corn prices at astronomical levels, local farmers are not going to want to leave those golden crops in the field any longer than they absolutely have to. The cloud currently hanging over harvest plans is not a rain cloud but an impending rail strike. Most of North Dakota’s grain crops, including wheat; soybeans; and corn; are exported to other parts of the country, and other parts of the world, and dependable rail service is essential to that process. If the crops can’t move, they will just be big piles of grain on the ground. Sometimes, even with railroads moving the crops, local grain elevators end up with piles of grain on the ground. That’s likely to be a lot worse if the trains are not moving at all. Back in the 1940’s, when a rail strike endangered national security, President Harry Truman nationalized the railroads and called out the Army to operate them. Truman’s action was later declared to be illegal by the Supreme Court, but it did shock the rail unions and management into action to settle their problems and get back to work. North Dakotans can hope that the current President will follow the example of “Give ‘Em Hell” Harry, by taking firm, quick, no-nonsense action to keep the railroads moving.

Rick Bosse stopped in at the Rutland Seniors’ Center for coffee & conversation on the morning of Monday, September 12. He reported that he was one of a party of hunters from the Britton SD & Brampton ND area who were on a guided black bear hunt near Big Falls, in northern Minnesota, during the week of September 5 through the 8th. Rick has been hunting in this area before, and his guide this time out was Jeff Larson of Big Falls. Rick said that he had a couple of opportunities early in the week but turned down the first one because it was too small and turned down the second because it was a sow black bear with 2 cubs at her side. On Friday, the last day of his hunt, Rick was in a tree stand when a big boar showed up and went for the bait. The bait, a combination of stale bread, candy and other edible items that bears like because it tastes good to them, even though it smells bad to us, was covered up by a pile of logs so raccoons and skunks wouldn’t get into it. The big black bear flipped the logs out of the way with one of its huge front paws. It was about 50 yards away, said Rick, and quartering away from him. He was armed with a rifle that fired the .300 Remington Ultra-Mag, a new type of ammunition that is quite powerful. Rick fired one well aimed shot, and the bear went down. After it was field dressed, the bear tipped the scales at 405 pounds, a real trophy by northern Minnesota standards. Rick received a lot of advice about what to do with his black bear from the Wise Men at the Round Table: have a full body mount; make a bear rug; or serve it up for Thanksgiving dinner. 

Harvey Bergstrom was in Andover SD last Saturday, September 10, to take in the steam power exhibition there. Harvey reports that the centerpiece of the show was a 150 horsepower J. I. Case steam tractor that was old and new at the same time. Back in 1909 the Case company manufactured fewer than ten of the mammoth tractors before scaling back to build a steam tractor that had less power and more demand. Over the years that followed, the 150 horsepower tractors all made their way to the scrap iron pile, and there have been none in existence for many decades. A few years ago, though, a young man from Andover, Corey Anderson, went to the head office of the J. I. Case company in Racine WI, found the original engineer’s specifications and drawings for the big steam tractor, copied them, then transcribed them into a computer assisted design (CAD) program, bought a foundry and used the information he had retrieved from Racine to make all of the parts needed to build a brand new 113 year old 150 horsepower steam powered tractor. Harvey said that a plowing demonstration was presented last weekend in which the big tractor pulled a plow with fifty 14” bottoms. The plow had 25 gangs of two bottoms each. A crew of men rode on the plow to manipulate the levers to put the bottoms into the soil at one end of the field and to withdraw them at the other end. There was no hydraulic or steam assist to operate the plow, only muscle power. Actually, Harvey said that one of the plow operators was a woman who did a good job of handling the plow’s levers.

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