The Rooster Crows – July 23, 2021

By Bill Anderson

The brief rain shower that passed through Rutland and vicinity on the afternoon of Monday, July 19, was the equivalent of a bloop single that spoiled what would have been a perfect game for the Drought team this past week: no rain; no fog; and, no dew. Although the rain came down hard for a few minutes, it did not leave even a slight measurable trace in any of the local rain gauges. The haze that has been hanging in the sky for the past week is not any kind of moisture in the atmosphere, the weather gurus tell us, but is smoke from the fires in western Canada; eastern Canada; and, the northwestern U. S. The fires have already consumed hundreds of thousands of acres of timber and, with no rain in sight, are expected to continue until there is either significant rainfall, or all of the timber is consumed, whichever occurs first. In the meantime, the thought that, “Every day that it doesn’t rain is one day closer to the day that it will,” is keeping hope alive out here on the Great American Desert.

The harvest of Hard Red Spring Wheat commenced last week, and mixed results, ranging from poor to worse are being reported. Despite some reports of yields as low as 9 bushels to the acre, trucks filled with wheat are rolling down Main Street in Rutland, heading for the Wheaton-Dumont Co-op’s facility here, Rodney Erickson’s refurbished Rutland Elevator. The relative success of the harvest seems to be directly tied to when the crop was seeded. Cameron Gulleson reports that Gulleson Brothers have harvested some fields that were planted just before the one good rain this area received back in April, and those fields have yielded from 15 to 30 bushels to the acre. That is a long way from the 50 to 70 bushel wheat yields to which local producers have become accustomed, though. Old timers remember when 20 bushel wheat would have been a bumper crop, and a $2.00 price was boom times. This year, though, the only bright spot in the picture is that the reports of skimpy yields have pushed the price of wheat up to nearly $7.00 per bushel in some markets, so there’s always some good news, even if you have to look under the rocks to find it.

Eugene Erickson of Ithaca NY, accompanied by one of his sons, Jeff Erickson, visited in Rutland at Noon on Wednesday, July 14. The two were on a family history fact finding mission, and were in Rutland looking for information concerning Eugene’s mother, the late Ida (Helberg) Erickson. The original Helbergs were Swedish Immigrants who homesteaded on the Tewaukon-Ransom Township Line southeast of Rutland back in the 1890’s. The original farmhouse was in Tewaukon Township, and the barn was in Ransom. Their farmstead is now the site of Roger Nelson’s farm headquarters. Eugene’s mother was a daughter of these immigrants, and a younger sister of the late Theodore “Ted” Helberg of this community. Ida married Oscar Erickson of Dunbar Township, and they later settled at McLeod ND, in Ransom County. Eugene, now 92 years of age, grew up in McLeod ND and graduated from high school there. Oscar Erickson was a brother of Alvin Erickson, father of the famous “Uncle Ed” Erickson of Shuman Township who is noted as the inventor of the Eagle Ditcher and as one of the mastermind builders of the frying pan for Rutland’s “World’s Largest Hamburger” back in 1982. Eugene went to college at NDSU, at that time titled North Dakota College of Agriculture and Applied Science, in Fargo, graduating with a Degree in Agriculture in 1953. He then went on to graduate school at Michigan State University, and to a teaching career as a Professor of Rural Sociology at Cornell University in Ithaca NY, one of the most prestigious agricultural colleges in the world. Eugene has been retired for a quarter of a century, but he is still mentally & physically active, and, to look at him you would think that he is 62, not 92. While in Rutland, the Ericksons had dinner at the Rutland Seniors Center, and enjoyed visiting with many there, including Dick Meyers, who remembered the late Ted & Tina Helberg well. They had also stopped at the Sargent County Museum in Forman to do some research in the local newspapers from years ago. Jeff had found the obituary for his great grandmother, Karina Helberg, and from that had picked up some new trails to follow in their search for family history. When they departed Rutland, the Ericksons were headed for the Alan & Doreen Olstad farm, to check out their family’s connection to the Olstad family.

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

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 – June 11, 2021

By Bill Anderson

Hot! Hot! Hot! Hotter than the Hinges of Hades, with wind to boot. The temperature has been pushing, or pulling, the 100 mark every day since Memorial Day on Monday, May 31. The heat has roused up some thunderstorms with downpours and high winds, in some areas to our north, but nothing in Sargent County, so far. Here, it’s heat and wind, but no downpours. The corn, soybean and wheat crops appear to be tolerating these conditions pretty well as of Tuesday, June 8, but the sustained combination of high temperatures and high wind speeds is not conducive to a good harvest. Well, as the old-timers used to say, “Every day that it doesn’t rain is one day closer to the day that it will.” The rain will come. Will it be enough? Will it be in time? Just relax. Mother Nature will furnish the answers in her own good time, and nothing we can do will change her pace.

A crew from the Indigo Sign Co. of Fargo worked through the drizzly rain on Thursday, May 27, the last significant rain that has visited Rutland, to install the new Stock Growers Bank sign in front of the bank’s Rutland Station. The new sign replaced the Sargent County Bank sign that had been in front of the bank’s station here since it opened on November 1, 1976. The name changed on September 14, 2020, when the Sargent County Bank of Forman, Gwinner, Rutland, Milnor and Lisbon merged with the Stock Growers Bank of Napoleon ND. Signs at all of the Bank’s locations have been in the process of being changed since then. So long, Sargent County Bank, and a hearty “Welcome!” from the Rutland community to the Stock Growers Bank.

Bill Anderson, Bev & Norbert Kulzer, Joel Susag, Debbie Banish by the new sign

Family & friends of Orvis Pearson of Rutland gathered at the farm home of his granddaughter and grandson-in-law, Betsy & Tyler Speich of Delamere, on Monday, May 31, to celebrate Orvis’ 96th birthday with him. Orvis grew up on the family farm east of Rutland and took over the farming operation when his parents, Gottfried & Martha (Anderson) Pearson retired in the early 1950’s. Their son, Randy, took over the farm about 30 years ago, but Orvis & his wife, Alphie, continued to make the farm their home base until moving to Four Seasons Villa in Forman back in 2019. Alphie passed away later that year. Orvis & Alphie’s grandson, Chris Pearson, now makes his home on the farm east of Rutland. Orvis many friends in the Rutland community extend congratulations and best wishes to him on the occasion of his 96th birthday. May there be many more.

Continue reading “The Rooster Crows – June 11, 2021”

Hens Do Crow! Oct. 9, 2020

It was an unusually quiet weekend in Rutland being the first Sunday in October and it was a beautiful day as well. As everyone in Rutland knows, the first Sunday in October is not always sunshine and blue skies. We have had our share of a cold, rainy and blustery Uffda Day. Remember last year? It was great weather, and this would have been two years in a row. Let us hope that next October 3, 2021 is another bright, sunny day. Usually, come Monday, everyone is unwinding from all the work but this year everyone got a break thanks to COVID. At least there is still time to get your (non) 2020 Uffda Day T-shirts or sweatshirt ordered. The clothing has white lettering on black shirts and sweatshirts. You can order through the webstore at https://uffdaday2020.itemorder.com/sale or find the information on the Rutland Facebook page. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Rutland Community Club. Don’t hesitate because today, October 9, is the deadline!  If you are yearning for more reminiscing on Uffda Day, check out the video on the Facebook page.

The Rutland City Council met on Monday, October 5 at City Hall for its regular monthly meeting. The Council received an update on the vacant Public Works position. There has been an inquiry and the information on hours and wages was sent. Mike Bassingthwaite with Interstate Engineering, the City’s Engineer, was present to discuss some projects including new sidewalk along main street and future water tower replacement and water looping projects. The Council approved a fund transfer and the September financials as presented by the City Auditor. The main topic of discussion was the approval of the liquor license for The Lariat Bar which has been closed since early in the year. Peter and Michelle Denault of Abercrombie will be leasing the bar and hope to open it soon. The Council welcomed the opportunity to issue the Denault’s a liquor license for the bar and a special permit to provide alcoholic beverages at the wedding reception at City Hall on Saturday, October 17. The goal is to open the Bar in October, but the exact date has not yet been determined. The Auditor reported that there is only one delinquent water/utility account at this time; if the account is not paid prior to the end of October, the full amount will be a special assessment on the property. The meeting adjourned just before 6 p.m. The next meeting will be November 2, 2020 at 5 p.m. in City Hall.

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Hens Do Crow! June 12, 2020

On Wednesday, May 27, 2020, Vernon Leist of this community was injured when the motorcycle he was driving was struck by a wild turkey. The accident occurred on ND Highway #11, near the Southeast Water Users water plant about one mile east of the Rutland corner. The impact of the 10-12-pound bird in flight was enough to cause Mr. Leist to lose control of the motorcycle which tipped over and slid along the pavement. He suffered numerous cuts, abrasions, and several broken ribs because of the collision and contact with the road surface. Vern was taken to the new Sanford Hospital in Fargo by the Sargent County Ambulance Service, Forman squad, and received medical treatment there for more than a week. He is now undergoing rehabilitation treatment at Cobalt Rehabilitation Hospital, 4671 38th Street South, Fargo ND 58104. Mr. Leist said on Saturday, June 6, that he still has no clear memory of the accident and does not remember if he was going to Lidgerwood, or coming home from Lidgerwood, at the time it occurred. His many friends in the Rutland community wish him a speedy recovery and a quick return to his home here.

The Nordland Lutheran Church Council met on the evening of Tuesday, June 2, to establish a schedule and procedures for resuming worship services and other activities in the congregation’s Sanctuary and Fellowship Hall in Rutland. According to Nordland Council Chairman Hal Nelson, Sunday worship services will resume at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday, June 14, with Pastor Nicholas Rohde officiating. Hal said that face masks and social distancing will be required of all in the sanctuary, except those who are excepted by CDC guidelines. “The coronavirus pandemic is still on the move,” he said, “and we don’t want anyone to become infected, or to infect others, while attending worship services.” He urged anyone who has questions to check the Nordland Lutheran Church Facebook page.

Continue reading “Hens Do Crow! June 12, 2020”

Hens Do Crow! March 6, 2020

The Rutland City Council held a public hearing on Monday, March 2, on a petition to amend the City Zoning Ordinance to include the Kathleen Brakke Addition to the City of Rutland and to approve the plat as presented. The property, currently zoned agricultural, is within the legal limits of the City. The water/sewer lines are adjacent to the area; if the lines are extended to the Addition in the future, the cost would be assessed to those specific property owners as a special assessment district. The Zoning change was approved as submitted. Following the public hearing, the Council convened the regular meeting and adopted the Arbor Day resolution required to apply for tree removal and planting grant funding and approved the Auditor’s bond. A City-wide clean-up day was scheduled for Saturday, May 2. The City’s municipal waste site will be open from 1-4 p.m. Council Member Erickson reported that the City is losing about 12,00 gallons of water daily based on the tower fill needs and the daily readings. The source of the leak was found on Tuesday evening near the City Shop and repairs are in process.

On Saturday, March 7th, the Rutland community will have a Celebration of Life for Jerry Sapa who passed away on February 26 in Fargo. The event will be held at the Rutland City Hall from 2-4 p.m. with a short service at 4 p.m. followed by a light meal. Another Celebration of Life will be held on Sunday, March 8th from 2-4 pm. With a short service at 4 p.m. at the Boulger Funeral Home in Fargo.

Continue reading “Hens Do Crow! March 6, 2020”