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.

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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.

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The Rooster Crows – Sept. 10, 2021

By Bill Anderson

Rain all the time! Can’t get a thing done! The most recent rain event, on Thursday, September 2, brought the total precipitation since August 20 up to 5” for Rutland and vicinity, give or take a tenth or two, and depending on whose rain gauge you choose to read. For Thursday’s rain, Roger Pearson’s gauge at 409 Gay Street showed 1.5”, while the gauge of his next door neighbor, Norbert Kulzer, showed 1.6” and that of Chuck Sundlie, just 2 blocks south,  read 1.7”. Two miles south of Cayuga, Harvey Bergstrom had 1.15” of rain in his gauge, and Kurt Breker’s rain gauge, just 1 mile south of Cayuga held 1.5”. In Shuman Township, between Rutland and Milnor, Randy Pearson’s rain gauge showed  1¼”, and Shawn Klein topped the list with more than 2” at her home in Havana. The rainfall amounts may vary, but one thing is the same all over the area, the moisture and cooler weather have resurrected and rejuvenated lawns that had been written off as dead or dormant for the remainder of the year, keeping law mowers busy trying to stay ahead of the fast growing grass. With the boys and girls who had been mowing lawns earlier in the Summer now back in school, that’s one more labor shortage the economy has to deal with. Harvey Dawson, who owns a considerable chunk of real estate in the townsite of Brampton, has a flock of sheep on retainer to keep the grass and weeds down on his holdings, an alternative we may have to consider here. Well, when the world is green and growing, we can deal with anything.

Mike Kulzer was in Rutland on Monday, August 30, and stopped in at the Rutland Seniors’ Center for morning coffee and a consultation with The Assembled Wise Men. Mike was in town to assist with some maintenance work at the home of his mother-in-law, Phyllis Erickson, and to do some work on the deer stands he plans to use during the whitetail deer rifle season this coming November. This prompted Mike’s cousin, Norbert Kulzer, to reminisce about his first deer hunt with his brother, Kurt, and father, Romey, back in the early 1950’s. The whitetail deer population in this area at that time was slim to none, so Romey had arranged to take his boys hunting in the sandhills near McLeod, where the whitetails were plentiful. Norbert and Kurt were equipped with shotguns firing slugs, and Romey had the deer hunter’s special, a 30-30 Winchester. Romey positioned the boys in likely spots and told them to keep a sharp eye open for any deer that might come by. It was cold, Norbert recalled, but he had a spot in the sun and out of the wind and he soon dozed off. He suddenly awoke to find a whitetail doe staring at him from just a few feet away. Norbert wanted a buck, so he didn’t shoot. He dozed off, again, and awoke to find himself face to face with a whitetail buck. It wasn’t “The Turty Point Buck,” but it was close. Norbert fumbled with his shotgun and the deer took off. He fired, and the 12 gauge slug hit the deer in the front quarter, rolling him over, but he rolled right back onto his feet and took off running, again. Norbert shot again, hit the deer again, but it kept on going, over the top of a dune and temporarily out of sight. Romey came running over to Norbert’s position to see what all the shooting was about, and the two of them took off after the buck, running for all they were worth. Norbert said that they must have run 2 miles, first one way and then another, until they finally caught up with the deer. “It turned around and charged us!” Norbert said. Romey yelled, “Step aside!  Get out of his way!” and Norbert jumped out of the big buck’s path. As the deer went by, Romey put a 30-30 bullet into him, and he went down for good. “I’ll dress this deer out. You go back and get the pickup,” Romey told Norbert. Norbert started walking, and soon realized that he had no idea where he was, where the pickup was or even where Romey and the deer were at.  Everything looked the same. He just kept walking, figuring that he must eventually find something familiar, but having some doubts. He finally came upon another deer hunter, and asked him if he had seen a newer green & black Dodge pickup. The hunter said that he had seen a beat up old pickup over the next hill, not too far away. Norbert thought that it was probably not their pickup, but it was worth a look. It was the right pickup. It wasn’t beat up, but it was dirty and mud covered from the trip over gravel and dirt roads from Rutland to the sandhills. Norbert said that he still didn’t know where he was, or where Romey or Kurt were, but he drove around until he eventually spotted his Dad and knew that the day was a success. The next year, Romey bought brand new Marlin .35 caliber lever action rifles for Kurt and Norbert. Norbert still has his Marlin, and still uses it during deer season, if he gets a license, a reminder of good days and simpler times.

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