By Bill Anderson
January, which has been content to let December claim the credit for most of this Winter’s ferocious weather, has decided to lower the hammer on the final weekend of the month. Predicted highs for this coming weekend, beginning on Saturday, January 28, are all below Zero, and the predicted lows, of course, are even lower. This siege of arctic cold is expected to last until Ground Hog’s Day on Thursday, February 2, maybe longer, depending on the mood of the Ground Hog, Rutland Roscoe, a cousin of Punxsutawney Phil. Anyway, we live in North Dakota, and we cannot expect to escape Winter’s wrath indefinitely. We can consider ourselves fortunate that it has held off as long as it has. We are lucky that we have not had to endure some of the winter weather encountered by our pioneer ancestors back in the 1880’s and 1890’s. John Bloomdale, one of Rutland’s original residents, recounted that in the terrible Winter of 1895-96, or maybe it was 1896-97, he was living in a small, tarpaper covered shack located toward the east end of the rail yard, near the old Great Northern stockyard which stood on the south side of the siding, just north of where Calvin & Wendy Jacobson’s home is now situated. According to Mr. Bloomdale, the cold that winter was intense. He said that on one occasion he had made a kettle of soup and set it just outside the door to cool. The soup froze instantaneously, he said, so fast, in fact, that when he pulled the frozen kettle of soup back into his shack, the ice was still hot to the touch. There was a tremendous amount of snow that Winter, and by Christmas it had completely covered his tiny home, threatening to cover the chimney and cut off the draft for his stove. Bloomdale said that he went to the hardware store and bought another 3 foot length of stovepipe to extend the height of his chimney. The snow kept coming, though, and he had to extend his chimney several more times. When the snow finally melted that Spring, he discovered that he had 18 three foot lengths of stovepipe towering above his shack. Another phenomenon Mr. Bloomdale described was the effect of the extreme cold on the railroad locomotives’ steam whistles. When the locomotives approached the yard limit, on arrival and on departure, they blew their whistles, but the cold was so extreme that the steam froze before it could do anything, even make a squeak, and the frozen lump of steam would fall silently to the ground. When all those frozen steam whistles thawed out simultaneously on the first warm day, Bloomdale stated, the racket was deafening. Some of the steam whistles, he said, were buried under big snowbanks on the shady side of the track, and they kept on thawing out, surprising folks with a whistle blast from a long departed locomotive until early Summer. Well, it was Mr. Bloomdale’s story, and, as the late Ray Erickson often pointed out, he could tell it the way he wanted. If anyone who was around back then wants to dispute his account, let them step forward and be heard. He was there, and we weren’t.
Sonja (Anderson) Christensen, one of the organizers of the 27th Annual Rudy Anderson Memorial Pinochle Tournament, recently posted the information that, as of Monday, January 23, 43 teams have now pre-registered for the event. The tournament will be held on Saturday, February 4, in the Rutland Town Hall. The Rutland Community Club will be serving morning and afternoon lunch to tournament participants, as well as a Noon repast featuring Rutland’s scalloped potatoes with ham, made with real potatoes, real ham and real cream. Any pinochle enthusiast interested in signing up to participate in the best run pinochle tournament in the region, or in obtaining more information about the tourney, should contact Sonja at email@example.com, or call her at 701-899-1463 or 701-642-6793.Continue reading “The Rooster Crows – Jan. 27, 2023”