The Rooster Crows – May 13, 2022

By Bill Anderson

Spring has finally arrived, and the blizzards of April have been replaced by the thunderstorms of May. Last weekend, from the evening of Friday, May 6, to the morning of Monday, May 9, Rutland and the surrounding area received more than 2 inches of rain, every drop accompanied by a bolt of lightning and the rumble of thunder. There is some nervous pacing going on, as most farmers in the community have not yet turned a wheel planting the 2022 crop, due to the excessive moisture. Shane Breker has managed to get some wheat planted in the hills south of town, where the fields are better drained, but even Shane has about run out of hilltops that are solid enough to carry a tractor and planter. More rain is forecast through the coming weekend, and some are predicting that the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation will be looking at a lot of “prevented Planting” acres this year. Well, experience tells us that the weather can turn on a dime around here, and we might be crying for rain by Memorial Day, but, for now, just a little bit of “normal” would be nice.

If you can’t farm, you might as well go fishing. The local lakes are now full of water, and some of them are even full of game fish. Walleyes, crappies and northern pike just waiting to grab a hook and jump into the boat. During the first week of May, good catches of walleyes were reported at Buffalo Lake, about 6 miles north of town. No reports about fishing success at other lakes in the area have been received, but, in keeping with the Fisherman’s Code of Silence, that most likely means that the catching is even better on those bodies of water. The guys who aren’t fishing say that the fish aren’t biting, but they usually don’t bite if you don’t have a line in the water.

Roger Pearson reports that there is a shortage of good fishing minnows in the area. The ones that are available are either too small or already dead, he says. One bait shop in the area has a coin operated minnow dispensing machine that is a lot like playing the one-armed bandits at the casino. You put in your money, and you take your chances. It has been reported that minnows of the appropriate size are available at the bait shop in Britton SD, but transporting minnows across State Lines is illegal, so don’t do it. The minnows might get smart and turn you in.

Hal Nelson drove out to Beulah ND, out in the coal country on the west side of the Missouri River, on Friday, May 6 to visit his sister and brother-in-law, Lori & Larry Hruby. Hal says that the 40” of snow that was dumped on the Beulah area back in mid-April was very welcome, but not enough to break the drought that has devastated agriculture in that region for the past 2 years. Hal said that there was some green grass, but not much. 

Continue reading “The Rooster Crows – May 13, 2022”

The Rooster Crows – June 25, 2021

By Bill Anderson

The Summer Solstice arrived at about 10:30 p.m. on Fathers’ Day, Sunday, June 20, starting off the official 2021 summer season with the coolest temperatures in a month. The day had begun with a much needed rain, the initial blast at about 2:30 in the morning being reinforced with a couple of showers during the day. Norbert Kulzer reported .75 of an inch in his rain gauge, while his next door neighbor, Roger Pearson, reported that his gauge held .6 of an inch when the rain ended. Jesse Brakke’s electronic rain gauge at his farmstead between Rutland & Cayuga recorded .65 of an inch from the event. The rain was timely and most definitely welcome. The only thing it could have used to make it better was another inch or two of water.

Speaking of water, those who have been practicing the piscatorial arts on local waters have been having scant, but occasional, luck since the ice melted. A pair of anglers from this community, however, Roger Pearson and Lary Arneson, have been taking their boat to South Dakota in recent weeks, and have returned home with several limits of walleyes and even a few northern pike. Roger said that the number of boats on the lake they have been fishing have increased dramatically in the past week, indicating that the word has leaked out despite the traditional Fisherman’s Code of Silence. Roger can’t ethically disclose the location of this fishing hot spot, but admits that it would be a Bitter Lake, indeed, that did not offer up a limit of walleyes to a worthy fisherman once in a while.

Last week it was reported here that longtime Rutland resident Gretchen Vann had departed this life, suddenly and unexpectedly, on Saturday, June 12. Additional information is now available on the Price Funeral Chapel internet web site. Gretchen had passed away at Sanford Hospital in Fargo on Saturday, June 12, 2021, after suffering a heart attack on Friday evening while at the home of her daughter and son-in-law, Margie & Zach Johnson, in Gwinner. She had attained the age of 67 years, 4 months and 5 days at the time of her death. Gretchen Wolterdina Vanderwolf was born on February 7, 1954, in Boskoop, The Netherlands, to Hein and Antonia “Toni” (DeHus) Vanderwolf. In 1956 the family, which then included Hein, Toni, Gretchen’s older brother Klaas, Gretchen, and, Toni’s mother, Klaas’ & Gretchen’s grandmother, Wolterdina DeHus, immigrated to America. They first made their home on the farm of Gretchen’s great-uncle & aunt, Harry & Lydia Hoffman, near Rutland, in Ransom Township. The Vanderwolfs were hard working and ambitious. Hein worked for several local farmers and eventually obtained a job on the Great Northern Railway’s steel gang, then rebuilding the track from Aberdeen to Breckenridge. Hein was readily identifiable, as he was the only member of the steel gang wearing the traditional Dutch wooden shoes. After 2 years in Rutland, opportunity called the Vanderwolf family to move to Beaverton OR, near Portland, but they always remembered Rutland as the community that gave them their start in America. They had made a number of good friends here, among them Arnold & Bee Banish and Jack & Karen Saunders, and most summers they spent their vacation in Rutland. Gretchen recalled that the Vanderwolf family did not go to Disneyland, Six Flags Over Texas or other vacation hot spots. They went to Rutland instead! Gretchen grew up in Beaverton and graduated from high school there in 1972. She always had a good relationship with her cousin, Kathy Brakke, in Rutland, and she came to stay with Kathy and her family after her graduation. She went to work at the Bobcat, then Melroe, Company in Gwinner. She met and married Kenwood Peterson of Milnor, and they made their home on the Peterson farm near Milnor. They had a daughter, Antonia. Gretchen and Kenwood later parted, and she moved back to Oregon where she went to work for the Stevens Company, owner of Leupold optics and Stevens gunsights. She met and married John Stevens, and they made their home on Sauvie’s Island, along the Willamette River, near Portland. They had a daughter, Margie. Gretchen was later briefly married to James Vann of Portland. In 2005, Gretchen, her parents, brother, and sister & brother-in-law, Debbie & Noel Liermark, moved back to North Dakota to be closer to her two daughters, both of whom resided in Sargent County. She had a dream of giving something back to the community that had given her family its start in America a half century earlier. She acquired the property on the corner of First & Gay Streets, took down the existing structures and, in 2007, opened The Rutland General Store which had groceries, hardware, fabric, and many other items in stock. The store also had cooking facilities and gourmet meals were prepared there. In 2009, the Rutland Café, which was next door to the General Store, was acquired, renovated and added to the General Store’s capabilities. Gretchen operated the business until the end of 2015 when she closed both the General Store and the Cafe. She subsequently worked at the North Dakota Veterans Home in Lisbon and at Four Seasons Villa in Forman where her outgoing personality and upbeat sense of humor made her popular with the residents. Gretchen is survived by her 2 daughters: Antonia Hajek of rural Havana; and, Margie Johnson of Gwinner; by 6 grandchildren: Nicolas Peterson; Josephine Hajek; Jayden Hajek; TJ Johnson; Easton Johnson; and, Cyprian Johnson; by a brother, Klaas Vanderwolf of Forman; by a sister, Deborah “Debbie” Liermark of Rutland; by numerous cousins in America and in The Netherlands; and, by many friends. She was preceded in death by her parents. Visitation was at 6:00 p.m. on Monday, June 21, at Nordland Lutheran Church in Rutland, followed by a prayer Service at 7:00 p.m. The funeral for Gretchen Vann was at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, June 22, 2021, at Nordland Lutheran Church in Rutland with the Rev. Julie Johnson officiating. A Noon lunch was served by the Nordland Lutheran Church Ladies at the Rutland Town Hall following the service. Interment was in the Rutland Cemetery, near the graves of her parents and grandmother. Terry Price of the Price Funeral chapel of Forman and Britton was in charge of arrangements. In her Last Will And Testament, Gretchen instructed her daughters, “I want to be remembered in death as I was in life, bold, brash and daring. (and possibly broke!)” The Rutland community extends condolences and sympathy to the family and friends of Gretchen Van, a woman who dared mighty things, and who never allowed adversity to hold her back.

Continue reading “The Rooster Crows – June 25, 2021”

The Rooster Crows – April 23, 2021

By Bill Anderson

April seems to be bucking the season. It opened with a beautiful weekend over Easter, with lots of sunshine and temperatures in the 70’s, but the farther it goes, the colder it gets. The low temperature in Rutland on Wednesday, April 21, was 25 degrees and snow flurries, while Fargo set a record for cold on this date with 18. That’s 82 degrees colder than the record high for the same date of 100 above, set back in 1980. Thursday, April 22, was the 42nd annual Earth Day, a day dedicated to contemplating what we have been doing to our planet, and how to correct our blunders. Not to worry, though. President Joe Biden has hosted a “Climate Summit” of world leaders to discuss the situation. In keeping with the spirit of the occasion, and in observance of worldwide covid-19 recommendations, the summit was a virtual one, held online via ZOOM or some other video conferencing program. Picture it, hundreds of elected presidents and prime ministers, hereditary monarchs and tyrannical dictators in bathrobes, sweat suits and bedroom slippers, wearing facemasks and sitting in front of their computers, sipping coffee and discussing the fate of the world. Should we be comforted? Ask the Assembled Wise Men 42 years from now and they’ll let you know.

Hal Nelson has been treating an injured leg for the past week, the injury sustained while fishing at Sprague Lake. The walleyes had been biting, so Hal was out there enjoying the sport when he noticed some action on his line. He jumped to get the line and set the hook, slipped on a rock and fell onto some willow stumps left by a foraging beaver. The willow stumps were sharpened like punji stakes and put some serious scratches on Hal’s leg. He is getting around, though, and hopes to be back up to full speed in the near future.

Kenneth Maly of Chinook MT was visiting old friends in Rutland on the evening of Wednesday, April 14. Kenny is one of the sons of the late Francis & Rozilla Maly, and he grew up on the Maly family farm in Weber Township, south of Rutland. He is now employed by the Blaine County highway department out of Chinook, and he states that the county there has more than 1,300 miles of county gravel roads to maintain. Gravel is difficult to obtain for parts of Blaine County, Kenny says, and some roads are posted warning drivers to stay off of them when it is wet. “They might be out there until it dries up again,” he says. Kenny was employed by the Sargent County Road Department back in the 1990’s, before he moved to Montana. He planned to drive to Minneapolis to visit his daughter and 5-year-old granddaughter on Friday, April 16, and to return to Rutland on April 22 for a few more days of visiting friends and family here before returning to Montana. Kenny says that he likes living in the Chinook community, but he still has plenty of good friends and good memories in Rutland, too.

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

The Rooster Crows – August 28, 2020

Captain Mike Harris USN and wife, Joy, arrived in Rutland on Wednesday, August 19, for a week of visiting with family and friends here. Mike recently completed a three-year tour of duty aboard the USS Green Bay, including 1½ years as the ship’s Executive Officer, and 1½ years as Commanding Officer. The USS Green Bay is an Amphibious Transport Ship, designated by the Navy as Landing Platform Dock (LPD) that, in addition to the crew of officers and sailors who operate the ship, carries a complement of several hundred U.S. Marines and their equipment, along with the helicopters, amphibious landing craft and fixed wing aircraft needed to project American power ashore to engage anyone, anywhere, any time, and win. Home base for the Green Bay was in Sasebo, Japan. Mike’s new duty station will be at the huge U.S. Navy Base at San Diego CA. Mike and Joy are residing at the home of his mother, Joanne Harris, during their visit here. They intend to depart for San Diego on Thursday, August 27. Mike says that he has now completed 33 years of service in the Navy, including duty aboard aircraft carriers, amphibious warfare ships, other surface warfare vessels, and shore duty with NATO at Naples, Italy and at other Navy bases in the U. S. and Asia. The Harris’s many friends in Rutland extend their thanks for Mike’s decades of service on the front line of America’s defense perimeter.

Roger Pearson, Greg Donaldson, Hal Nelson and Kyle Mahrer of Rutland, along with Harvey Dawson of Brampton, headed northeast early on the morning of Thursday, August 20, bound for Ballard’s Resort on Lake Of The Woods, along the U.S.-Canadian border, for a few days of fishing for the elusive walleye. The five local men were part of a fishing excursion sponsored by radio station KFGO AM790, and hosted by Bonnie Amistadi, one of the station’s news personalities. They returned home on the evening of Sunday, August 23, with a full complement of fish and fishing stories.  Roger reports that they caught a lot of fish, but not many real big ones. The walleyes were “eating size,” which is OK with Roger. The anglers report that a good time was had by all, and justifiably so.

The streets of Rutland are a bit quieter these days as Sargent Central School District resumed full-time classes on Wednesday, August 26. Students and teachers are looking forward to seeing each other again. Everyone is hoping for a good year and keeping fingers crossed that COVID steers clear of the school.

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 www.rutlandnd.com, and stop by the Rutland blog and Facebook page while you’re out there in cyberspace, too.

Hens Do Crow! July 17, 2020

The Rutland City Council met on Monday, July 6, with Mayor Mahrer presiding. The City Council discussed the Public Works vacancy and the difficulty in obtaining applicants for the position. The job description will be reviewed and modified for further discussion at the August meeting. Three Rutland residents applied for the Council vacancy as a result of the recent City election. The Council selected Colton Corry to fill the vacant two-year term. The City Auditor provided a summary of the 2021 anticipated expenditures and revenue projections and asked for input from the Council. The information will be used to develop budget scenarios for consideration at the next meeting on August 10th when the Council will need to approve the 2021 preliminary budget. The Council discussed the need for street repairs, water line improvements, and sidewalk replacement along First Street as soon as possible. Further discussion on those items and the budget will be held at the August 10 Council meeting.

Roger Pearson and Lary Arneson went fishing at Dry Lake near Ashley ND on Sunday, July 12. They returned on Sunday evening with 2 limits of walleyes. Roger and Lary had been fishing, without much success, in local wet lakes and at a couple of past hotspots in South Dakota for the past several weeks. Well, if they’re not biting in wet lakes, try a Dry Lake. The creative fisherman thinks outside the box.

Over 100 individuals stopped by the Rutland Veterans Memorial Park to attend the first Farmers Market event on Sunday, July 12. Sellers brought their garden produce, baked, and canned goods, eggs, beef and more. The event was sponsored by the Rutland Community Club. Two additional dates for the Rutland Farmers Market have been scheduled for Sunday, August 9, and Sunday, September 13, from 5 to 6 p.m.  The goal is to have food vendors and picnic tables available at the next Market dates for more socializing and to allow social distancing.

Continue reading “Hens Do Crow! July 17, 2020”

Youth Day

Yesterday, my family and I attended the 11th Annual Youth Day held at the John Narum Memorial Trap & Rifle Range near Silver Lake.  The event drew about 190 youth and their families from throughout the area.  Activities included trap shooting, archery, BB gun, 22 rifles and casting with rod & reel (into small swimming pools) and a coin scramble.  This was the first time we attended and we were all extremely impressed with the event and the size of the crowd.  The three hours flew by quickly and wrapped up with an impressive raffle of about 45 door prizes of hunting vests, decoys, bow sets, rifles, shotguns and BB guns and other items.  All the winners were full of smiles.  That included my son who won a 12 gauge shotgun that weighs considerably more than he does.  He is now looking forward to growing up so he can use that gun.  This annual event is sponsored by the Rutland Sportsman’s Club, Sargent County Pheasants Forever, and the Windy Mound Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation.  Many “thank you’s” are in order from my son and I’m sure from all the other proud winners.  Congratulations to all the winners and a Big Thank You to everyone involved in helping with this event — which I understand is the largest youth event of its kind in the Upper Midwest.