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.

Continue reading “The Rooster Crows – Sept. 16, 2022”

The Rooster Crows – Sept. 9, 2022

By Bill Anderson

The days are warm, the nights are cool, the lawns are getting brown, but the leaves have not yet begun to fall. It’s September, the most pleasant month of the year. Other States are flooding out or burning up, but up on the northern plains, out here on the prairie, residents are enjoying their reward for surviving December, January, February, and March. This little bit of Heaven called September doesn’t last very long, although it can occasionally stretch out and wrap itself around a substantial chunk of October, too, but it sure is nice while it’s here. Every silver lining has its cloud, though. Our old friend, the late Clayton McLaen, used to remind us that, “North Dakota has only two seasons: Winter; and getting ready for Winter.” It’s a sobering thought. Brace yourself, it’s coming. But, could we enjoy September half as much had we not experienced January?

Harvey Bergstrom, Mike Banish, Rick Banish, and Chuck Anderson took advantage of the pleasant weather for a trip up to the Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion at Rollag MN, on Friday, September 2, the first day of the 4-day event. Rumley Oil-Pull tractors were featured at the event this year. “Kerosene Annie,” the oldest Rumley tractor in existence, built during the first decade of the 20th Century, was the star of the show.  She is normally on exhibit in a glass case out in Idaho, but this year she broke loose and came out to Rollag to display her power and do some of the work she was built to handle more than a century ago. The four local men report a very good time observing steam power, horsepower and oil power in action.

The whitetail deer archery hunting season opened on Saturday, September 3, and two expert hunters in the hills of Tewaukon Township, Jim Huckell and his son, Bill, wasted no time in filling their tags. By sundown on opening day, they had each bagged a big buck, with its antlers still in velvet, and were getting ready to enjoy some venison.

Chuck Sundlie took advantage of the nice weather during the Labor Day weekend to apply a coat of paint to the south side of his house in the 400 Block of Cooper Street. Chuck’s house was originally built and occupied by the Osterberg family back in the early days of the 20th Century. Dick Meyers recalled that Grandma Osterberg was a very kind and generous person who was always willing to contribute her time or donate her resources to community and school causes back in the 1930’s & 40’s.

Continue reading “The Rooster Crows – Sept. 9, 2022”