Archived Southwest Angle Columns

Incredulous RobAugust. The summer is passing rapidly and the threshing shows are coming fast. Another attempt to do a little farming with predictable results.

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First things first. In the last edition of the Pioneer, a story appeared under my by-line that shouldn’t have. The story titled Fish Fest 2008 was a story Sara Jean Thompson had written and sent to several local newspapers. As you probably know, she does this on a regular basis. For some reason, it was put in the newspaper as my story. While I did attend the Fish Fest and had intended writing a story about it, my 12.5 words per minute typing speed combined with several other articles to write prevented it. My apologies to Sara Jean Thompson for the mishap.

I expect that all of you will be heeding the Southwest Angle Rules of Theater Attendance from last week. Management and Alyssa are cast members for WST’s “Annie” production which is starting on Wednesday. Since you are all friends, at least one attendance is required.

I’ve noticed a phenomena here in Falun township. Periodically, neighbor Arne Erickson will cruise the neighborhood on a Monday morning in his van. He’ll stop over at Trapper’s place, leave for some time, then come back. When I asked him one morning what was going on, he muttered something like, “them wimmen still haven’t left!” and added some Swedish words I couldn’t understand.

paradeI somehow understood that there was period of time on some mornings that his presence wasn’t needed at home. I didn’t know just what that was until I was watching the Fair Parade. A huge trailer load of Falun women came through the parade and Arne’s wife Lou was on the trailer. The sign on the Ford Super Duty pulling the trailer said “Falun Coffee Club”. Good choice of tow vehicles.

Anyway, the sign on the back of the trailer noted that the group started meeting in 1970 and since then they’ve drank about 51,300 cups of coffee, and were still drinking. I was surprised that Lou could sit still long enough for a ride through the parade.

Lou said later that the group gives the Falun area a rest the first Monday of the month and meets at Café 89 in Wannaska. I’m wondering what preparations the town of Wannaska makes for the monthly invasion of the Falun (or is it fallen, I can’t quite remember) women… 

I biked over to Arne and Lou’s the other day with the Little Girls to give Lou a picture I’d taken of the parade float. Old timer Lawrence Klema happened to be visiting at the time and the three of them were set up under the open lean-to of the party barn, enjoying the Sunday afternoon. Lou got out the makings for Root Beer Floats to fuel us on the way home. 

I thought Duane Comstock was the king of put-downs, but I found out that Roseau County has another contender for the title.

As we devoured the floats and watched Lou flit around as is her habit, Lawrence said, “Lou, you need to adopt a set of twins!”

Lou said, “Huh?” She is of the age that this idea probably doesn’t appeal to her but I’m sure she could handle them.

 Lawrence smiled and said, “They’d certainly be less work than Arne here…”

dufner pullingI had a slight problem with my old SuperCab on the way home from the Roseau tractor pull. The pickup ran rather well pulling the trailer and Slant-dash A John Deere home, but as I pulled into Trapper’s yard, the engine sputtered, then emitted a loud boom from the exhaust and died. I tried to restart and was rewarded with a couple more loud booms.

Glad that the incident happened in the yard and not on the road, I left it there and went across the yard to home. I figured I’d have some music to face at morning coffee because any problem with a Ford is big news at Roseen’s Corner. I was right.

Not only did Ms Toyota, Trapper’s daughter LaRae, stick around for coffee that morning, neighbor Al (another Chevy Guy) stopped by. I had to recount the event because it had woken up the Missus, evidently Trapper had slept through the most of it. After the more or less friendly ribbing, Al hooked up his Chevy to the SuperCab and its load and pulled me across the yard. Never one to miss an opportunity, Ms Toyota recorded the event with her camera. 

Over the next week and a half, I repaired the electronic problem on the 19 year old truck. I discovered that every trip to the parts store costs an average of $50. Three trips to fix that problem and replace the power window motor so my manual air conditioner would work. Ms Toyota is keeping her camera handy so she can record the next breakdown event.

pullingIt is interesting how one sees the same people working at divers sorts of events. When I pulled into the Lake of the Woods threshing show and tractor pull, who did I see but Donna and Steve LaDuke manning the Button Booth. This couple really steps up to the plate when it comes to helping out. Good work! 

The threshing bee and tractor pull were fun events. I’d been having trouble with my pickup repair project and almost wasn’t able to make the trip but eventually did make it just in time to enter the Slant-dash in the Pull.

I have to mention one of the other entrants in the tractor pull. Cody Madoll has to be all of 10 or 11 years old and is driving a tractor similar to mine in the tractor pull. He does a good job and is one of the crowd favorites. 

tractor for saleWe couldn’t stay too long since I had more pressing repair work at home, but did sit down in the dining hall for popcorn and pop. The people there seemed to be enjoying the event. One of the several steamers on the grounds was being used to steam ear corn for the featured pig roast dinner while others powered the threshing machine and the sawmill complex. A great celebration of the past.

See you next week!


Last week, I made a trip to Warroad on Wednesday morning. Normally, Wednesday is a “kick back and rest” day after exhausting Mondays and Tuesdays, feverishly getting the news and views out for the “Pioneer” readership.

The trip was necessitated by the fact that Wednesday evening was opening night for “Annie” and I hadn’t ordered flowers for Management, who played a major part in the production. Well, maybe not a major part, but it is a major event for us since she hadn’t been in a play before.

Anyway, I loaded the little girls in the little Ranger SuperCab and we chugged into Warroad and parked in front of Lake Street Floral and Gift. I went in and, while the little girls played with the stuffed toys on display, bought a rose in a vase and arranged for it to be delivered to the Theatre for a very reasonable price.  

annie pictureI don’t think the little girls damaged the stuffed toys, at least the sales clerk didn’t follow us out the door and demand payment. We made it out the door and down the sidewalk to the Lake Street Barber Shop. Since my last haircut predated my daughter’s April wedding, I was looking pretty shaggy. 

Barber Mike didn’t have too many customers in front of me so the four of us filled the available seats. He had a good selection of kid’s books so the girls were pretty quiet as I waited.

I’ve been to some barbers where I was ready to leave the chair before they were done cutting. That wasn’t the case here, I got a good haircut and the price was doggone reasonable. Daughter Katelyn had to sweep the floor before we left. She inherited Management’s propensity for neatness, at least in public. Now, if only she would sweep the floor at home…

Saturday morning was that big sports event for Warroad – the Yellow Rose 5K. Local competitors were relieved that “Old Rocket” Lindnor sat this one out and gave the other guys a chance to win in his age bracket. He was there with wife Bridget and daughter Grace to dispense drinks and cookies. Sara (remember the) Jean Thompson again emceed the event, filling the air with her well known voice.

winning pairTyler Liverington of Roseau won the event. This young man is a runner for UND and puts on 70-80 miles a week in training. The girl’s winner was Saragh Fraser, a 14 year old from Rainy River. She also has a great future as a runner.

Management sat this one out, the summer has been too busy with her theatre career in full bloom. Maybe next year.

92 year old Ed Brandli did the race, walking with his two daughters. This man is a genuine athlete as well as a good dancer.

The weather was great and the money raised will help restore the Point. Well done.

Management’s folk came up to watch their daughter and granddaughter in the play. Since father-in-law Paul loves fishing, we all went over to the Warroad Estates marina to fish from the dock. I’d heard the fish were biting, but they didn’t for us.

I did get to see the trawler “Jackie” that was docked there. A fine looking boat even in its advanced age. My co-worker Gar tells me that this boat has a lot of history behind it so I’m looking forward to doing some research on it. It is powered by a 6-71 Detroit jackieDiesel, a day behind the captain’s wheel would be a noisy experience among other things.

The fish weren’t biting at the Point when we changed locations but it was a very nice afternoon of exploring and fishing with the extended family. After a Dairy Queen supper, I took in the Saturday evening performance of “Annie”. I handed off the review to Emily here at the “Pioneer” so I could enjoy the production. It is a good show.

 (To keep peace here at home, I must say that) Management and Alyssa gave outstanding performances.

I enjoyed the play. The small stage combined with no curtain make it challenging for Ron Anderson but he is up to it, as usual.

annie castI don’t know how Jeff Galle knows who he is playing when he hits the stage. He plays three parts, and does it pretty well.

Billie-Rae Henkemeyer really lights up the stage with her performance as Lily. Keep your eye on this gal.

For any other information on the play, see Emily’s review.


I had forgotten just how fun farming was. After selling much of my farm equipment back in Hill City, I hadn’t turned a wheel in the field for a couple of years. Unfortunately for me, I was visiting Dick Wahlstrom a while back and saw an old 9 ft haybine in his back lot. For some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to park this one in my yard. He was willing to part with it for a price I could afford so a deal was struck.

Hearing about the deal, Trapper suggested that I could cut one of his miniature fields with it for some reason or other.  The reason wasn’t important, I suddenly had a reason to blitz a field with my John Deere 3010 and a haybine. 

I brought it home the other day, hooked it up and checked all the fluid levels. I had to add some oil to one gear case and grease it. One of the tires looked sun-checked, no problem since I wasn’t racing, or so I thought. I aired both tires so they didn’t bulge too much, loaded tools, water and parts on the tractor and lifted my bike up on the haybine, then headed to the field with 2 of the little girls following on their bikes, a family outing so to speak.

The entourage eventually arrived at the field. I wrestled the rig across the ditch, took the bike off, put the tongue into the cutting position and started cutting the field. Since it was peat ground and canary grass, I was alert for soft ground. I did hit some soft spots, but it wasn’t too bad at first. Partway through the second round, the tractor wheels started slipping so I raised the cutter bar, expecting to drive through the soft spot. Instead, the tractor started digging down so I stopped, hopped off and walked around to the rear of the haybine. The suspect tire had flattened and, when I attempted to raise the cutterbar, the suspension arm had dug into the ground and stopped me. 

I had no equipment along for dealing with this so I shut the tractor down and walked over to where the little girls had set up operations. I let them know what had happened, there was not much I could do except start biking the 2 miles home. Exercise and fellowship with the daughters, how much better can life get? 

We made it home in pretty good order. Trapper arrived shortly thereafter from swathing canola. Ms Toyota came in from mowing with the discbine a few minutes later. Since Trapper had to take Ms Toyota home, I loaded a chain and a high lift jack in the F-250 and headed back over to the scene of my mini-disaster.

When I got to the stricken tractor and haybine, I unhooked the hydraulics and the PTO and lifted the haybine tongue off the drawbar with the high lift. I hopped on the tractor, started it up and, unburdened, the tractor walked right up out of the ruts. Once on higher ground, I hooked the chain between the tractor and the haybine. After some more difficulties, I was able to tow the haybine out of the muck and over to the edge of the field to change the tire. The high lift came in handy here also; I jacked the haybine up and was able to get the bolts loosened without breaking them and took off the tire and rim.

About this time, I was sweating profusely, more exercise. I loaded up the tire and headed toward the road with the F-250. Trapper was coming with his Chevy pickup to help out and met me as I drove through the ditch up onto the township road. He didn’t seem too disappointed to have missed out on all the fun.   

Like I said, I didn’t remember just how fun farming was. Anyway, We had to go into Warroad and help strike the set of “Annie” and go to the cast party with Management and Alyssa so I cleaned off the grease and sweat with a quick shower and directed our energies in that direction.

Trapper took me to see his friend Ralph at Countryside Tire the next morning and Ralph put a tube in the old tire and aired it up. Still looks like pretty bad but it holds air and I got most of that little field cut without further incident. Besides, Ralph said that the tubes he sells are so tough I could probably just put the tube on, air it up and it would last the rest of the summer. Well, Ralph didn’t say that, but probably only because he didn’t think of it.

 Between welding at the Blue Star, writing stories and getting stuck, the other little field shouldn’t take me more that a couple more days to cut… Like I said, this farming is really fun.

 See you next week!   


Trapper has found the perfect place to park a broken wagon. He was pulling a load of round bales home from over at Lou and Arne’s place and the wagon’s tie rod broke off. If you’ve ever seen Trapper’s welds, it wouldn’t be a surprise, but I digress. He was just pulling out onto County 2 at the time so limped the wagon over into neighbor Ruby Dahlgren’s yard and parked it.

It being nice weather and there was hay to cut, rake and bale, the wagon just sat there until a rainy day, or so we thought. The first rainy day, Trapper decided to go and get the wagon, figuring he’d have to lift the front of it up and back all the way home, not an easy feat. I agreed to follow with flashing lights. He left the yard with the 3020 and I gave him a few minutes to get it chained up before I headed west to Dahlgren’s.

I drove out of Trapper’s driveway and down the road and was surprised to see Trapper, driving home in road gear with the wagon in tow. I U-turned around and followed him back into the yard and stopped beside the tractor and wagon. Trapper was in a state of surprised shock. At some point in the intervening week, the wagon had been repaired and put back in its spot for Trapper. A sign stapled in the bed of the wagon said: “The toe-(in) is out of Race Spec - you may have to adjust for maximum tire life.”

One could see several very neat welds on the top of the broken bracket. Trapper probably won’t worry about the toe-in on a wagon that spends it life going less than 20 mph. Trapper figured that Ruby’s son Lyle had repaired the wagon for him and put it back. A little later, Lyle called Trapper up and admitted to the deed. It’s good to have neighbors that care…

A and haybineMy hay cutting project is finally done, not without more problems. It only took a week, and a change in tractors since the PTO on the 3010 quit working. I had to finish the job pulling the haybine with the old slant dash John Deere A. For the record, the old A pulled the haybine better than I thought it would, given the lack of a live PTO.

About halfway through the job, I started realizing that I was not only cutting hay, I was leveling the field. Trapper had disced up the field one day in the recent past, but I figure he must have had a hot date with his Missus that night and hadn’t gone back to drag the field smooth. Half the time I was mowing through clumps of peat with my new/old haybine and had about a half yard of the stuff on the panel behind the cutter bars by the time I finished. I’d also worn off several of the sickle hold downs.

After Trapper baled the field, he said he’d have to till it up again. Evidently he had a hard time staying in the seat of the JD 2555 as he blitzed the field with the Vermeer in tow. I think he’ll drag it this time no matter what the Missus has planned. 

Just about every summer, the Little Girls go to several Vacation Bible Schools. Back in Hill City, they’d hit a couple in Hill City and some in Grand Rapids. The folks must have thought they were real vagabonds. Last year, they went to one at the Roseau Community Church and a couple back in Hill City. This year, Katelyn and Valeri went to the Warroad Community Church VBS while Management and Alyssa were doing “Annie”.  The Little Girls also took the opportunity to attend the VBS at the Bethel Church just west of Roseen’s Corner. I’d like to thank all the folks at the Warroad Community Church and Bethel, and also the folks at other area churches who graciously gave of their time to teach at a VBS. Your efforts are appreciated.

A few weeks back, we were able to attend the Woodland Bible Church. A young fellow named Nate Myrick was leading the singing for the praise worship. After Pastor Wayne’s message, there was a blessing ceremony to send Nate off on a year tour with Carpenter’s Tools International. He will be with a 7 person group that will tour the United States and some foreign countries with a music ministry. The church is supporting Nate in this ministry. If you want to help support Nate, contact the Woodland Bible Church.

See you next week!