The Rooster Crows – June 17, 2022

By Bill Anderon

Despite the wet Spring that had delayed field work until the end of May, this community was pleased to get the rain that fell on Friday night, June 10. As soon as it doesn’t rain for a few days, a true North Dakotan starts to worry that it will never rain again, or, that when it does rain it will be too much, too little or in the wrong place. It can’t be helped. It’s in the blood. Roger Pearson reported .3 of an inch in his rain gauge on Saturday morning, while his next-door neighbor, Norbert Kulzer, had .4 of an inch in his gauge a few feet away. Norbert’s reading was matched by the .4 in Lary Arneson’s gauge, 2 blocks to the west. Chuck Anderson reported .37 of an inch at his Weber Township farm6 miles southwest of town; Harvey Bergstrom reported .31 of an inch in the gauge at his farm 3 miles south of Cayuga; and, Kurt Breker had .3 of an inch in his gauge 1 mile south of Cayuga. Another .1 or .2 of an inch was scattered across the countryside on Sunday & Monday, helping to keep lawn mowers and mosquito swatters busy. Well, the old timers used to say that it always dries up after a wet spell. We’ll just have to find out if they knew what they were talking about.

The Annual Rutland Community Block Party opened up at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 8, with more than 100 community residents and over 3,000 water balloons on hand for the festivities. The Rutland Volunteer Fireman manned the grills, turning out burgers, bratwursts, and hot dogs for participants, and also provided water game facilities for the community’s youth. During the Block Party, Miss Abbie Erickson, daughter of Rodney & Andrea Erickson, and a Senior at Sargent Central High School, was crowned “Miss Rutland 2022; and, Corbin Carlson, son of Bryce & Casee (Hawkinson) Carlson, and Lilith Pavek, daughter of Corey & Sarah (McLaen) Pavek, were awarded the titles of Mr. & Miss Lefse for the coming year. All 3 of Rutland’s reigning royals will be in the 2022 Uff-Da Day Parade on Sunday, October 2, 2022. The Rutland Community Block Party is held each year to give the community’s present, former and future residents an opportunity to get acquainted and re-acquainted, to talk over old times and to make plans for future good times. Thanks to Rutland Community Club President Katie McLaen for the information in this report.

Katie McLaen also reports that the Rutland Community Club met at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, June 13, at the Rutland Town Hall. The meeting was short. It was reported that the stage curtains in the Town Hall had been repaired and cleaned; and, that lefse production for Uff-Da Day 2022 will commence with a morning and an evening session on Thursday, June 16. Check the community’s internet web site at www.rutlandnd.com and the Rutland Facebook page for more information about the dates and times for future sessions. Fourteen sessions have been scheduled between mid-June and mid-August, so far.

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The Rooster Crows – May 27, 2022

By Bill Anderson

Last Spring, it was too dry. This Spring, it’s too wet. On the average, though, it’s just right. This Spring, the weather has not been cooperating with the Spring planting plans of farmers in this area. Just when it seems that fields will get dry enough to allow the spring’s work to proceed, along comes another bolt of lightning, rumble of thunder and a quarter inch of rain to keep things at a standstill. With the market prices of wheat, corn and soybeans all in the high to higher range, this is the year to have a crop to sell. The fact that the weather is preventing that crop from getting planted is the cause of anxious impatience among local producers. About the only individuals more nervous about the situation than local farmers are local bankers. On the bright side, at least our farmers know that their bankers are concerned about their health, both physical and financial. The old timers used to say that whatever the weather was like on Memorial Day was a good indicator of what it would be like throughout the rest of the growing season, and every now and then the old timers were right.

Speaking of Memorial Day, Carolyn Christensen, an officer of the Rutland American Legion Auxiliary, says that the holiday will be back to normal in 2022, after 2 years of Covid-19 disruption. In Rutland, Memorial Day observances on the morning of Monday, May 30, will begin with military rites conducted by Bergman-Evenson Post #215 of the American Legion at the Nordland Cemetery, 1½ mile east and ½ mile south of town, followed by military rites at the Rutland Cemetery on the east edge of town at 10:30 a.m. A program produced by the American Legion Auxiliary will be presented at 11:00 a.m. in the Rutland Town Hall, followed by the traditional community pot-luck dinner, also in the Town Hall. Everyone is invited to participate in Memorial Day observances in Rutland on Monday, May 30.

Bruce Burke of Seattle WA stopped in Rutland on the afternoon of Thursday, May 19, doing some research for a personal family history project. Mr. Burke grew up in Breckenridge MN, but the Burke family traces its history back to Rutland and the Great Northern Railway. Bruce’s parents were Harvey & Alice Burke; his grandparents were Rutland natives John & Anna (Spande) Burke; his great-aunt was the late Bertha (Spande) Penfield; and his great-grandparents were Knud & Alisa Spande. Knud & Alisa Spande owned & occupied the house at 309 Gay Street that is now owned by Paul Anderson, from 1918 until Alisa Spande’s death in 1958. The house had been built by Paul’s grandparents, Ole & Julia Anderson, back in 1909. Prior to moving to town, the Spandes had farmed south of Silver Lake. Bruce has a vivid memory of an event that occurred at the Spande house in Rutland back in the early 1950’s, when he was a small boy of about 4 or 5 years of age. It seems that there was an unused water well in the backyard that had been covered over with an old door. Being a boy of some energy, Bruce decided to take a run and jump on the center of that old door. When he did so, the deteriorated boards broke and down went Bruce. Fortunately, as he went through the door he stuck his elbows out and caught himself on the edges of the hole he had made, leaving his head sticking out, above the door, and his feet dangling just above the water in the well. He said that he can still remember looking down and seeing the cold water just beneath his feet. Bruce’s Dad, Harvey Burke, rushed to his assistance and pulled him to safety. Bruce said that he can’t remember just what his Dad said to his great-grandfather about the continued existence of that well, but he’s pretty sure that it was powerful. It had been Bruce’s intention to take a picture of the old well, if any evidence of it still existed. He could not find any trace of the well but was pleased to find that the house is in excellent condition and still looks much as it did back when his great-grandparents first bought it 104 years ago. Mr. Burke had taken the long way around to get to Rutland. He had driven through Washington, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and Minnesota to get here. He had stopped in New Mexico to take a look at the Air Force Base at which he had been stationed back in the late 60’s, and in Nebraska to visit some students he had taught there back in the 70’s. He was surprised to find that the teen-age students he remembered are now in their 60’s. Time marches on. Mr. Burke was visiting at the home of his cousin, the daughter of the late Jim & Nellie (Burke) McCulloch, at Ottertail Lake MN during his stay in this area. He planned to be heading back to Seattle on Saturday, May 21, and hoped to make it home in 3 or 4 days via I-94 & I-90.

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The Rooster Crows – April 1, 2022

By Bill Anderson

Geese by the millions … well, maybe by the hundreds of thousands, had congregated in the Rutland area on Monday & Tuesday, March 28 & 29, taking a pause in their northward migration. Some of the geese, primarily those of the Giant Canada variety, were busy selecting nesting sites in the local area, while the rest, the snows, blues, brant, speckle-bellies and lesser Canadians, were foraging in preparation for the next leg of their journey up to the Arctic Ocean. Predators such as American Bald Eagles and Red-tailed Hawks, shadowed the huge flocks of geese, picking off the weak and the crippled. The number of human predators tracking the flocks seemed to be down this year, but maybe they’re just better camouflaged than normal. Well, good luck to the hunters, and good luck to the geese. We’ll see you again this fall.

It started out as rain on the evening of Tuesday, March 29, but changed to slushy, mushy, sloppy snow sometime during the night. The forecasters had predicted 1 to 3 inches of snow from the event, and they could have been right, about halfway through the night. Chuck Anderson measured 5 inches of snow in his Weber Township farmyard, and Chuck Sundlie said that there was a good 6 inches of slush on his front yard on the southeast corner of town on Wednesday morning. According to Denny Pherson, the precipitation is welcome, as we don’t have to go too far west, south or north of Sargent County to find areas that are already suffering from the effects of drought. Custom harvesters are expecting a short crop of winter wheat this year, due to drought conditions all the way from Texas to North Dakota, says Denny.

Sargent Central students participating in League Trap Shooting this spring were selling raffle tickets in town this week, raising money to help defray expenses for clay pigeons, ammunition and other necessities. Among those working for the cause were: Tucker Wiederholt; Lucy Mahrer; and, Brody Mahrer. According to Tucker, the drawing for a cash prize of $500 will be held on Friday, April 1, and that’s not an April Fool’s Day joke, either.

Lou Ann Lee of Abercrombie ND, representing the Quilts Of Valor Foundation, presented handmade quilts to 9 local veterans of the Vietnam War in a ceremony at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 27, in the Nordland Lutheran Church Fellowship Hall. The quilts were made by a group of quilters from the Abercrombie area who are affiliated with the Quilts Of Valor Foundation. Each quilt had the veteran’s name and the date of presentation embroidered on it. Those presented with quilts were: Larry Christensen; Bill Anderson; Wallace Herman; John Hoflen; Andrew Hoflen; Boyd Jacobson, Jr.; Calvin Jacobson; Douglas Olstad; and, Douglas Spieker. The quilts were presented individually, and Ms. Lee read a brief summary of each veteran’s service as the quilt was draped over the veteran’s shoulders. Each veteran then had a chance to make a few remarks, and they all kept it short. Ms. Lee also presented emblems authorized by Congress to commemorate Vietnam War Veterans Memorial Day, March 29, to all those veterans present who had served in the U. S. Armed Forces during the Vietnam War, from November of 1955 to May of 1975, regardless of where their service was. March 29, 1973, forty-nine years ago, was the date when the last U. S. combat unit left Vietnam. Following the ceremony the Rutland American Legion Auxiliary served coffee and bars for those in attendance.

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The Rooster Crows – Mar. 25, 2022

By Bill Anderson

“Follow me,” cry the wild geese, as northward they fly; Follow me to the Arctic’s cold and the midnight sun, our journey’s end for centuries gone by. Their cries move on, and soon they’re gone, ‘til Autumn’s migrants fly, and once more their calls of “follow me” echo through the sky. This Fall, I just might heed the call, to see what I might find, and keep company with the wild geese, I’m sure that they won’t mind.

The joyous Spring song of the wild geese is one of our rewards for enduring Winter on the prairie. The annual migration of snow & blue geese began moving into Sargent County last week, with the first large flocks flying over town on Monday, March 14. The Spring conservation hunting season is underway, too, so the birds have run a gauntlet all the way from Texas to North Dakota.  Despite the liberal rules of the hunt, the population of these prolific birds seems to be holding its own. Perhaps that means that the management plan is working.

Scott Haan of this community joined a cousin, Rick Kuhn of Grand Forks, to make a 4-wheel flight to Sun City West AZ a few days back. The 2 men departed Rutland at 7:00 a.m. on Thursday, March 10, and arrived at the home of Rick’s father, Bob Kuhn, in Sun City West on the morning of Friday, March 11. The occasion for the trip was to help the elder Mr. Kuhn celebrate his birthday, as well as to soak up some Arizona sunshine and warm weather. Scott & Rick reversed course on Monday, March 14, and were back in Rutland on Tuesday, March 15, the Ides of March. Scott brought back a big box of tree ripened Arizona lemons that he shared with friends here. Arizona sunshine juice, wrapped in a lemon peel.

A follow-up to the story about the wild palomino stallion, Golden Sovereign, that was in last week’s column. According to Gary Thornberg, his friend, Neil Herman, had told him that his Dad, Meredith Herman, had taught his favorite riding horse to jump fences in an attempt to keep up with the rampaging Golden Sovereign when the wild stallion was running free across the prairie and through the hills south of Rutland. Meredith taught the horse so well that, even after Golden Sovereign was caught, his horse still remembered how to jump a fence, and kept practicing the skill on his own. Finally, Meredith had to sell his horse to someone with taller fences, and more time to chase a fence jumping horse. As the Old Timers used to say, “Be careful what you want. You just might get it.” 

The sun has been shining, the wind has been blowing, the snow has been melting and the water has been flowing. Finally, the One who put it there is taking it away. Rutland’s maintenance man, Scott Haan, was opening culverts on Monday, March 21, helping the water find its way to Hudson’s Bay. The 6-foot snowbanks are down to 2 feet now, and some lawns are bare. The transition from Winter to Spring is moving fast. Winter may yet attempt a comeback, but the handwriting is on the wall as far as Winter’s future is concerned. Local farmers are beginning to move equipment around, so it won’t be long until reports of the first outfit stuck in the mud are received. Then, Spring will really be here.

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The Rooster Crows – Jan. 7, 2022

By Bill Anderson

The New Year, pure, pristine and untouched, was dropped on the front porch like a block of ice precisely at the instant that the clock and the calendar changed from December 31 to January 1. Poor old 2021, all beat up, bruised, broken and scarred, departed at the same instant, giving the New Year a clean slate to work with, at least for a couple of minutes. So far, in its first week, 2022 is doing all right: the stock market is up; unemployment is down; and, wages are up. Coronavirus infections; the crime rate; and, inflation; are all up, too, but decrepit old 2021, even though he is now long gone, still gets the blame for that disagreeable trio. The temperature on the morning of Saturday, January 1, was 22 degrees below Zero in Rutland, the perfect temperature for cooling a Bloody Mary at The Lariat on the morning after the night before. The snow total for the current winter, 2021-2022, already exceeds the 28” snow total for the entire winter of 2020-2021, and we’re not even one-third of the way through it, yet. Well, the old-timers always told us that everything evens out – too little one year and too much the next – but, on the average, it’s about where it has been. So, enjoy the New Year! It’s unlike any we have ever experienced, but, on the average, it’s just like everyone we’ve ever lived through.

As far as the Rutland Post Office is concerned, as of Wednesday, January 5, the New Year is exactly like the Old Year: no action; no service; no information; and, no Post Office. The Postal Service is consistent, though. It doesn’t just keep the public in the dark. It doesn’t even tell itself what’s going on! At the current time, one department of the USPS is preparing to renew its lease on the building, while another USPS department has the building locked up and won’t allow it to be used as a Post Office. Situations similar to that in Rutland are also occurring at other small town Post Offices across North Dakota and throughout the Nation. So, what is happening? Don’t bother to ask the management of the Postal Service. They don’t know, and wouldn’t tell you if they did.

Norbert & Beverly Kulzer drove down to Brandon SD on Friday, December 24, to spend Christmas at the home of their son & daughter-in-law, Stephen & Ann Kulzer, and 3 of their grandchildren: Lauren; Brooke; and, Will Kulzer. They drove home on Sunday, December 26. Norbert reports that there wasn’t much snow south of Brookings, and that the driving conditions were good, even at Summitt where the wind is always blowing.

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Hens Do Crow! Aug. 7, 2020

Neither wind nor heat nor dark of night nor the coronavirus can stay a farmer from cutting wheat when it’s ready to harvest. Rodney Erickson reports that the 2020 harvest of Spring Wheat in the Rutland area began on Tuesday, July 28, when Nick McLaen hauled the first load to the Wheaton-Dumont Co-op Rutland Elevator. Both the yield and the quality of the crop were very good, Rodney said. The first wheat came in from one of Nick’s fields approximately two miles north of town. Rodney said that he expects more combines to be in the field, and more wheat to be coming in, during the first week of August. Spring wheat is not as big a crop as it once was out here on the northern plains, but it is still an important element in many crop rotation plans, and, if you want to eat good bread, you can’t beat bread made with flour that started out as North Dakota Hard Red Spring Wheat. If you don’t believe it, just ask Dennis or Nick. In addition to taking delivery of grain at the Rutland Elevator, Owner/Manager Rodney Erickson has been busy with aerial application of herbicides, fungicides and pesticides on crops throughout the region. Matt Smith is in charge at the Elevator when Rodney is absent.

Last month Darwin Brakke passed away at his home in Havana. Darwin attended Rutland high school, graduating in 1957, and he married Kathleen Bauman the same year. Together they had four children – Darby, Julie, Jesse, and Janelle. He married Pearl Parrow in 1990. Darwin was one of the original founding members of the Rutland Sportsman’s Club. Over the years, Darwin worked for Ronald Donaldson at Rutland Plumbing & Heating as a plumber and backhoe operation, he owned and operated the Lariat Bar, was a partner in J&B Excavating and was a loader operator for Bernard Mahrer Construction. A private burial for immediate family was held in Rutland and a celebration of his life will be held at a later date.

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