December 2008 Southwest Angle Columns

Incredulous RobHere are the columns from December, 2008. Snow is blowing but the Alberta Clippers coming across are more like Alberts Whimpers. Visions of Sno-Cat rides are a little closer to reality. Some of the beans are still in the fields, not much a change from november, the puddles are turned to ice. I still have to drag the Meyers plow out of the weeds and hook it up so the Ford 4x4 can rule Trapper's yard when the big one hits...but have fixed the miss on the big 351 so the big SuperCab is running pretty good.

If you don't understand all the terms, the lexicon is on the Home page.

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December 3, 2008

A couple of weeks back we visited the good folks over at the Zion Lutheran Church on a Sunday morning. I was going to mention it a bit sooner, but, for some reason, it didn't get happen. Sorry about that. I've enjoyed listening to Pastor Jeannie Dahl on the radio and wanted to connect a face with her clear, pleasant voice.

One of the first persons we saw when Alyssa and I entered the sanctuary was David Landby, busy at the sound booth getting connected up with the radio station. I don't think the guy ever stops. Julie Jones gave the service intro, another person that almost never stops...

Management and the other two trailed in later so we sat in the overflow area with them. I hope we didn't make too big a spectacle of ourselves with the little girls running in and out, keeping the bathrooms busy. Pastor Dahl gave a good message and we were able to introduce ourselves to her after the service.


Ladies of Warroad, beware. Harvey Corneliusen is testing out some new cologne. His technique goes like this: He'll enter a restaurant and make a beeline toward the table with the most attractive women seated at it. Next, he'll make the rounds of the table, bending low over the ladies and asking them if they can smell his new cologne. 

Ladies, if this happens to you, humor the poor fellow. I've heard that Harvey is harmless, however there is always the chance of a copycat crime with this one.

Harvey also happened to celebrate his birthday on Wednesday with the boys at the Dairy Queen, the same day he was testing out his cologne on the gals at the Black Bear. I'm not sure if there is a connection between the two... Anyhow, there were seven or eight of us in attendance and the rule is that the birthday boy has to buy a round of sundaes. The guys commented that Harvey was a little down from
the record number of 52 that Jake had to purchase one year. The sundaes were pretty good by all accounts.

I'm probably getting a well deserved record as a mooch. The last time I was at the Dairy Queen with that crew was on Bill's 90th birthday. Harvey got off easy, that time I had three hungry Little Girls with


During my Wednesday KQ95 morning appearance with Terry and Judy, Terry and I were comparing notes on how we keep the heater motors operating on our aging vehicles. Later at the Black Bear, Donna LaDuke reminded me that we needed to be careful about publicizing our vehicle problems, since every listener or reader in the region knows Terry and I drive Fords. I tried to convince her that since the Fords are pretty ancient, a 15 year old Taurus and a 22 year old Ranger, we should get a little slack. Predictably, the Chevy owner wasn't buying it.

Penny Kimble then related to us that she occasionally has to drive husband Michael's old pickup. She said that once, as she was driving down Main Avenue in Warroad, she heard a big clunk. Just hubby's old pickup, you know, no need to stop and check it out. She completed her errand and drove back towards home. There was a chunk of metal pipe lying in the street at the approximate location she had heard the clunk so she stopped, picked it up, and threw it into the back of the pickup. Donna would want you to know that the old pickup is a Ford...


We drove the round trip to Cambridge and back quite well, thank you Lord. The Little Girls love to visit Grandma's house. Gas prices ranged from $1.85.9 up here to $159.9 at a couple of stations in the north Metro. There seems to be no consistency, a mile from the stations selling at $1.59.9 were several selling at $1.75.9. I didn't think I would ever see gas under $2.00 again.

We don't regularly do much shopping on Black Friday but this year was a partial exception. I wanted to pick up some software for my newspaper writing job so Management and I visited a couple of Best Buys until we found what I needed. Lots of traffic and lots of shoppers. I'm glad I don't have to contend with that on a regular basis.

I did notice that the ratio of imported cars to American cars goes up exponentially in relation to how close one is to the center of the metro area. Dick's old Buick with a dented rear door didn't fit in real well in the parking lot in Maple Grove amongst all the shiny, nearly new Hondas and Toyotas.

December 10, 2008

I got back into the ranching mode for at least one day last week. Trapper was sending his calves to market and I happened to be at home last Wednesday. I got pressed into service herding calves, a job I almost regretted. The calves have been run through the chute a couple of times in the last month due to the TB situation so they weren't really wanting to do it again. I should have rummaged through the soccer equipment bin and found some shin pads since I got kicked three times over the course of the operation. Magnanimous like, Trapper offered to kick me somewhere else to even out the pain. Needless to say, I declined that offer! For some reason, Ms Toyota decided that trapping was more important than calf herding so she was AWOL for the second session. We loaded out 90 very nice Angus cross heifers and steers.

The trapping has been scant this year for both Trapper and Ms Toyota. Trapper says that the muskrat has disappeared from his undisclosed trapping area. He did trap some beaver, an otter and a mink. Ms Toyota trapped four fisher to his two, several coyote and fox as well as nearly half a hundred skunk. You can smell her old Toyota pickup coming at least a quarter mile away as a result.

 It's getting closer to winter here in Falun township. Trapper and the Missus went to Grand Forks over the weekend and Trapper bought his winter's worth of pancake mix at Sam's Club. For the un-initiated, Trapper calls his logging operation the Pancake Logging Co., named as such because he serves pancakes for lunch each day. More often than not, visitors will show up right at lunchtime. Trapper and sidekick Earl call the moochers ravens, but feed them anyway. Will keep you posted as to the exact day Trapper drives the 440 John Deere Skidder to the woods. The trip to rescue Kerby's Timberjack doesn't count.


I traveled to Grand Rapids over the weekend. I had two things on my agenda for the day trip. The first was to attend the DNR auction Saturday morning. Alyssa and I left early and arrived before the auction started at 9:30 am. The item I was looking at was a 2002 Astro AWD van. Yea, I know it's not a Ford, unfortunately they quit building the Aerostar AWD van in 1997. Management has worn out two of them since 1994. While there are still many around, the mileage on most of them is approaching or exceeding 200,000. I figure if one can procure one with about half that mileage, many years of use are left on the tough little rig.


Management had me on a pretty tight budget. If I had won the bid for the amount she allowed me, it would have been better defined as a steal. As it was, the van went for a very reasonable $2600 or so, but not to me. Now my son is scouring the Twin Cities area for a lower mileage Aerostar AWD. If he can't find one I might have to get a…well…a Chevy? Now, maybe if he finds me a Safari if no Aerostars abound, I might avoid the stigma… Alyssa did well in the cold, two cups of hot chocolate and a hot dog were the only bribes required to keep her happy for the time we were out in the cold watching the pickups, trucks and cars being sold. Lots of good deals, many of the well maintained vehicles sold for under or around $3,000. 


The other task on the docket was to remove the concrete from a floor drain of the house I'm trying to sell over there. It is a new house, and a prospective buyer would expect the drain to work properly. When we poured the floor, water came to the top of the concrete and we pushed the water to the drain. The water contained cement paste, and the paste hardened in the trap of the drain.


Over the last couple of months, I've been using acid to soften the concrete and various chisels and pointed rod to clear out the part of the trap that is easily reached. The hard to reach part has been a challenge since I don't have a flexible chisel, if one even exists. I took a pressure washer down with me last Saturday, thinking it might work to break up the concrete. It didn't. I finally had the inspiration to drill a hole in the concrete floor directly above the trap outlet and drive a long, star nosed chisel down through hole into the concrete plug. While this technique did eventually work, I broke the end off the brand new chisel. The pressure washer did work to blow the broken up debris out of the trap. Mission accomplished, home to Falun by 2 am Sunday morning. The hole needs to be patched, but that is an easy task, delegated out.


I took Management down to the Point the other day over lunchtime. It looks like the Big Lake finally sheeted over and fish houses are already dotting the ice. I'm not sure how thick the ice is, but more than one someone is willing to risk it in search of some fresh Lake of the Woods walleye…

December 17, 2008

Winter is officially here in Falun township. Trapper and Earl drove the 440 John Deere Skidder to the woods. They are thinning a plantation of Norway down near the Farmer’s Union Hall on County 9. The two shared driving duties in the sub-zero cold. It took all night for Trapper to warm up enough to talk, giving the Missus a little peace and quiet for the evening.

Things are picking back up at the Black Bear. Waitress Dolly was suffering from laryngitis for a week or so, giving the patrons a little peace and quiet while they were dining at that premier establishment. The situation has righted itself, her voice is back so now the regulars are getting the usual dosages of advice and put-downs along with their coffee and meals.


It seems that the Fords are not the only vehicles affected with the heater motor problem. Coffee table regular at Roseen’s Corner, Wormy Voll, related that he often has to stop his Chevy S-10 mid-flight to pound on the heater motor to get it operating again. Also, DJ Judy Olson, yes, the one who was giving partner Terry grief about his Taurus’ heater woes, is driving around in a Pontiac with an inoperative heater. When it is too cold, she gets a ride. It was too cold Monday morning last.


With the recent almost-blizzard, I've been thinking a little bit about Christmas and of the task of picking out gifts. This can be difficult at times, but, sometimes a little help makes it much easier. I’m hoping I can help out some of you who are looking around for the perfect gift this year.


A little background here. Most of the time, Management and I have a good relationship, but there are times when it could be best said that what I think is best for her is not necessarily what she likewise thinks is best for her.


Case in point: sleepwear.


Periodically, over the time that we have been married and sharing the ... well ... anyway ... over the time that we have been married, I would purchase an item of sleepwear that I thought would look good on her on some appropriate occasion, let's say, maybe Valentines Day. This seemed to work well from my point of view, but one day I was informed that my choices were not enough, let's say they were lacking in the coverage department for the weather here in northern Minnesota.


I was made aware that I had lost the job of picking out these types of garments for her When she bought a couple of items for herself on a special occasion without my input, . Needless to say, it was not only mystifying to me but caused some consternation on my part.


To avoid the pitfall I'D ve apparently fallen into and make the job of picking out gifts for the guys in their lives a little easier, I've come up with some ideas for the gals here in the Southwest Angle. These are generally for the gals with mates of the country boy gearhead types, so if your guy is of a different type, you’ll need to find a different advice columnist.


First, tool choice. Usually things like flashlights with a battery supply are good stocking stuffers. Mag lights are thought of as top shelf. Moving up the scale, an Iowa socket set is generally a good choice.



For the city folk, an Iowa socket set is a 12" crescent wrench and a vice grip. Trapper would call it a Roseau County Socket Set, but anyway, either half will be a good stocking stuffer - make sure it is a heavy-duty stocking. Only buy Vice Grip brand vice grips. You are wasting your money if you buy anything else. No one else even comes close (I'm waiting for the endorsement check). Wrap 'em both up together for an under-the-tree gift. Even if he has a set he can always use another; various sizes are also appreciated.


Avoid specialty tools unless you have researched out what he really needs or wants. Be aware that he will tell you he really needs something he actually only wants but, this is acceptable if the price is right. A good 3/8" socket set is usually a safe choice, even if he already has one he can throw the spare in a portable tool box or the truck for use in the field.


For clothing, I'd opt for a couple pair of his favorite brand of jeans.

If your guy is active he goes through several pair a year; after about four wearings and washings they all look alike. You could also buy him a Columbia or Wrangler long sleeved shirt with a shooter’s pad. They wear like iron and Management says she loves the way I look in them. If choosing under garments, you are on your own, see above incident.


If buying something for his vehicle, make sure it is something he really wants or you will find it sitting on the pile in the house that never makes it to the garage. If you really want to appear informed, find out his favorite choice in oil and filter and put a case of oil and the proper filter for his truck under the tree. You will probably have to be a little discreet in finding this out. He'll probably know something is afoot if the gal in his life starts asking, "Do you like to use Mobile1 or Trop-Arctic 5W-30 in the truck?" While there are exceptions, wrapping up the oil filter for your car with the package will probably not work.


There are volumes of other things I could advise you gals on, but space is a little limited. In the meantime, have a blessed Christmas and a happy New Year.

This column contains parts of a Christmas column by Rob Crowe that was pubished in the Aitkin Independent Age in 2006...

December 24, 2008

       Things happen rather quickly sometimes. The new owners of the Warroad Pioneer didn’t want my Southwest Angle column, and, since I have so much fun writing it, I chose to continue the tradition. I figured you all wanted to continue hearing about Trapper, Ms Toyota, Pum the Ox and Management’s exploits so here it goes.
        Trapper’s buddy Dick is trying to justify his purchase of a 115 HP, 4 stroke Mercury outboard motor for his boat. His latest plan is to buy it for wife Eileen’s upcoming birthday. He thinks that since she occasionally accompanies him up to Whitefish Bay it might work, but the rest of us are a bit skeptical. Will keep you posted...

MOVING INTO PLACETrapper moved the logging shack to its familiar location northeast of Bemis Hill in the Tamarac swamp. If you are in the area at noon and hungry, the pancakes are on the griddle. While he won’t turn a raven away, he’s much happier if you bring along some sausages to fry up...

Gene Knutson’s buddy Blackie think he needs to upgrade his wheels. Blackie reports that the old Norwegian ran into someone with his S-10 on one of his trapping expeditions so it looks a little worse than usual, which was pretty bad. 

aerostaRI’m saved the indignity of purchasing a Chevy Van. After scouring the Midwest online in search of a 
Ford Aerostar AWD van, I found one in the Trading Post. It was at DeWayne’s west of Roseau, another ‘94, reasonable, low mileage and in good shape. Now Management can work on putting on another 100,000 miles in a ‘94 Aerostar AWD. Rest assured, GM lovers, we’ll keep Dick’s old Buick since  it still has a current State Park sticker.

Have a great Christmas, See you next week!

December 31, 2008

Christmas is nearly over for this year. I’ve only one or two things on the list to make it complete.  The major item left is to finish the yearly newsletter for the household. Usually the household cats (the authors) and I (publisher) have it done before Christmas, but during a couple of years in recent history, the task has been left until after Christmas. This is one of those years.

MENAGERIEAfter spending Christmas Eve with the Tapper , Ms Toyota and the rest of theRoseens, we had a leisurely Christmas morning at home before heading south on Christmas day.  It was like a rolling postcard, convoying through the snow covered countryside. The wind hadn’t yet blown the snow from the tree limbs; it was simply gorgeous.

The only mar on Christmas was to find that the furnace had quit on our house in Hill City. Fortunately, no water damage and we were able to repair the pipes over the weekend. Back to the Great North on Sunday night.

Monday morning I was assigned to take the Little 4H Girls to Thief River Falls to the Water Park. After sending Management off to work, I took the back seat out of the Aerostar. In the midst of the task, I received a call from the crusty old Norwegian, Orlin Ostby. He demanded to know what I was doing. I told him and he said I was cruel to have sent Management to work while I was playing. I reminded him that I also was charged with the important task of picking up the organ Management was purchasing from him on our way back from the Water Park. After a couple more insults, he let me go.

We drove down to the Water Park and the Little Girls enjoyed their time there. Dadsplash relaxed and took some pictures. On the way back, as promised, we stopped at the Ostbys’ to pick up the organ. Orlin had the important job, telling sons Eric and Christopher what to do as they hauled the organ from the patio and carefully slid it into the back of the Aerostar. Plenty of room. We went out and looked at the horses in the barn and then he showed me a neat covered sleigh he had in the yard. It was too dark for pictures so that will wait for another day.

Once we got inside, it was business time. Orlin demanded that I pay him three dollars for the organ since he’d paid two fifty for it at an auction. I reluctantly shelled out the three dollars as he complained that it should have been more since he’d had to store the organ for a couple of weeks since Management said she’d take it. I told him I figured he should have delivered it for the three dollars, but I’d already lost that argument.

Orlin’s wife Mandy took pity on us and fed us all some potato and dumpling stew before sending us on home.

Another week in the great north, see you next week!


LindaIt looks like winter is here to stay. We've finally got our snow coverage so the snowmobiles can come out of their garages. Robert Carlson has been moving his fish houses out onto the lake and is up for business, so that means the ice is safe enough for those of us who are always leery of thin ice. I guess there is over a foot of ice out there. Walleyes always taste exceptionally good in the winter.

Tom Kastl was sharing with us a few days ago that on one of his last trips to bring Linda to teach at the school by boat breaking thin ice all the way that on the way home after dropping her off he had seen a strange site. Something was coming up under the ice and breaking through then diving down again. They looked like seals or a sea monster he said, but turned out to be a family of seven otters. He said he slowed down and watched them for quite a ways. He said they looked like they were having so much fun. He commented that he never got tired of watching the wildlife up here.

The silver fox has been back several times. My dad and husband both think he's a cross fox but I'll still refer to him as the silver fox. I've started leaving him our leftovers. I can't seem to be able to make only enough meals for two after all these years, so what better way to use up the surplus. Everything is usually gone by morning. Lately we see only his tracks, he's still a little leery of us. We could see he had been digging in the straw that covers our septic tank probably catching the many mice that take winter abode there. We have to fence the straw in with a snow fence to keep the deer from bedding down in it but the fox skirts right under it.    

' *-

The North Point Bar and Grill are now open again for the winter fishing season, their weekend specials sound so good. Jerry's is also open after being closed for the Thanksgiving week.   Jerry's Christmas party was on the 13th. The gift exchange and potluck was a huge success.    

.                            .         '     -       '    ' .                   :    "  '.     ' '   ' •'

My brother Tim and I are looking forward to the Polaris layoff. The long drive becomes longer with the road conditions changing daily, and there is always the worry of breakdown at night when driving through Canada with the lack of cell phone reception. We sometimes see wild life but not as often as we did when we started working there over ten years ago. I think it is probably because of all the traffic on the roads scaring the critters away. So far though I've only needed help twice. Once I drove off the shoulder of the road in blizzard like conditions in Canada on the way home and my husband Bill came looking for me when I didn't show up, and another time when I hit an ice patch and slid in the ditch and hit a tree on the way to work. Tim was with me and we walked a couple miles to a farm house in Canada and the lady let us use her phone to call Bill for help. The pickup was totaled but we were lucky and didn't get hurt. Although the roads sometimes get rough, muddy or heavy with snow I wouldn't trade living here for anywhere else. It is a very special place.


December 24, 2008

The fishing has been really good so far for the winter season just starting.  Four of our eight kids made it home for our traditional White Elephant party on the 20th and they went out fishing the next day and got their limits.  I guess they had a lot of fun.  They have a wooden trophy they made a few years ago of a fish and they write on the base of it the year and who won .  So far the girls are ahead, which is no small feat since seven grandsons are also included with the adults. 

The Angle School kids had their Christmas party on the 23th.  Exchanging their secret Santa gifts and sharing Christmas goodies.  They are all looking forward to the holiday break.

We have a new UPS driver, Tony Butler.  He took over when Don Palmquist  retired.  He said he is in the process of buying Charles McKeever's windsled so he can travel back and forth across the lake to the islands during the freeze-up and break-up each year of the ice.

Lisa Carlson Goulet is planning an ice skating party and bon fire on the 27th.  Everyone is invited.
Living at the Angle is always an adventure