Archived Southwest Angle Columns

Incredulous RobJune was very interesting. Attending a couple of different kinds of races, visiting with a neighbor and his tame partridge, checking out a car show, hauling Dad's A John Deere to Roseen's Corner shows I had no lack of things to do.

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This reporter business is pretty tough. Imagine getting an assignment to cover the first running of the Redneck Yacht Club races. Yea, you get the picture.

There are some people in life that when you get their call, it is in your best interest to get on the horse and gallop, not walk, not trot, but gallop to the scene. For a Warroad Pioneer reporter, one of those people is PeggyAnn Anderholm from the Yellow Rose. When she e-mailed that I'd best come to cover the big Redneck Yacht Club Race that she had conspired with Jeremy Culleton to put on, I put it on my mental calendar. I did take the precaution to ask her to e-mail a couple of days before the event to reinforce the notion to go. She did and I aimed the little Ranger SuperCab towards Warroad on the day of the event. School security allowed me in and it was a blast, well, big splashes and lots of sinking, wet cardboard, laughing kids and red-faced engineers.

winnerThe rules were simple: build a boat with cardboard, duct tape and garbage bags and navigate the length of the pool. I'm wondering if Bill Marvin had that in mind when he donated the pool. Probably, knowing his penchant for doing the unimaginable. Anyway, the crafts carried into the pool area were of every imaginable shape. A group of engineers from Yellow Rose Research & Development had a nicely built craft there. Lots of guys and one gal from the school had built their own versions. They all tried to make the length of the pool and only one student made it.

Over at the Yellow Rose, engineer Jim Pelland has bragging rights over the engineers from R&D because his son, Britt, showed everyone how to build a boat and paddle across the pool. The R&D engineers sunk at the start like most of the rest. Three men in a cardboard tub that didn't float. Britt had done some buoyancy calculations before building his boat, perhaps he could give the R&D engineers a little review... Peggy says that Yellow Rose recruiters will be calling on Britt.

willie and partridgeTrapper hauled me down to Willie Krzoska's with the Missus' camera later in the week to see Willie's tame partridge. When we got there, Willie was sitting in his garage and the partridge was walking around his feet. He coaxed it into his lap, but it wouldn't go up on his shoulder like it usually did. A pretty bird, it was around for a while, then disappeared into the nearby thicket. Willie then started up his 4-wheeler and drove over by the brush and the bird reappeared, jumped up on the machine and, before long, up on Willie's shoulder. Predictably, when I went to click the picture, I got the "memory full" message and had to delete a picture and re-shoot before the bird changed its mind.

Mission accomplished, we went into the house for a cup of coffee. Willie's attractive wife Martha was on her way out of the house to her job at the Falk Dentist Farm so I got to meet her. Us three guys, all our Falun (or is it fallen, I can't remember) wives safely on the way to work or already there, relaxed over a cup of good Falun coffee and the store bought cookies Willie had labored over.   

hauling 250The little girls are out of school so I have company during the day. I have to thank my friend Clayton the Percheron Man for finding me a saddle. I mentioned that we needed one and he said he had just what I needed. He'd gone to an auction, seen a harness that he wanted so he bid on it and got it. He'd asked an Amish boy there to load his stuff for him, when he got home and opened the door of the tack room on the trailer, not only did he have the harness, he had an old saddle and bridle along with it. I could have it if I wanted it. I wanted it so Trapper and I made the voyage down to the Skoien ranch. Clayton settled up with Trapper over their mutual logging activities and we picked up the saddle. Friday was spent getting each of the girls up on Amber the horse and around the yard a couple of times.  

The weekend was spent going south to lower northern Minnesota for a nephew's grad party and other needed errands. I delivered an old parts rake to my Hill City neighbor and brought back my John Deere 250 Skid Steer. It's been awhile since I had it readily available and I'm looking for something to do with it. Falun, beware...


I know many of you are anxiously awaiting an update on how the Buick is working out for Management and me. Actually, it's been working out pretty well, but not without a problem or two.

I'd noticed early on that the vacuum hose coming out of the fuel pressure regulator on the venerable 3.8 V-6 was deteriorating so I replaced the hose. I did check on the price of a regulator at the parts store but it was nearly half of what I'd paid for the car. I figured that I'd use the Buick for awhile, maybe it would heal itself. When I asked, Dick Wahlstrom informed me that the 5-50 warranty (5 seconds or 50 feet, whichever comes first) had expired before I'd left his driveway the day I'd bought it. The Buick worked OK for a little while, however it developed the annoying habit of stalling as Management drove it around town. I figured I'd better bite the bullet and get the part, which I did. I figure the value of the car has increased by 50% since the part cost $143 at CarQuest and the car set me back $300, throw in a little labor for the 5 minute task of installing it and the car is now easily worth $450. It runs much better; gas mileage is about 27mpg so I think I'll keep it awhile longer. Still haven't found any of that dark tint window stuff...

I'm thinking that many of the readers of the Southwest Angle are master gardeners, however I haven't reached that level of green thumbery at this point in my life.  I do like to put in a garden if possible every year. Last year it wasn't possible, but here at Roseen's Corner there's a little garden plot in the yard. One day Trapper asked me if I'd like to have it plowed up. Of course I said yes so one morning he came by with the 4020 and a chisel plow. I figured he probably should have used the 7020 for the 20' by 50' plot, but the 4020 was what he brought. I think it took all of 4.5 minutes to get it done and most of that was turning it around. Trapper also brought over some well-rotted cow byproduct (more commonly called manure) a little later and spread it over the plot.

I still needed to smooth it out so when Trapper and I pulled a flexible drag section, broken but wired together in true Trapper fashion, out of the weeds one day, I figured that would work well for dragging the garden. I hauled it over by the garage, carefully unwired the masterpiece of a repair and welded it up to look like nearly new. The next day I pulled it across the plot with the skid steer. The weather and my spare time didn't coincide very well so the project stalled for a few days.

Most of the seeds were gone from the racks in the stores but I was able to get some turnip seeds one day. Management and the little girls found some Japanese hull-less popcorn and some decorative maize so we were a little closer to our dream garden. Trapper's Missus and another of Management's co-workers cleaned out their seed boxes so when we got ready to plant we had some year-old corn seed, 30 year-old rutabaga seed, divers other out-of-date garden seeds and some fresh bezel. Now that's my type of gardening.

My row marker hadn't made the trip north so I started to make a new one Saturday morning. I sneaked over to Trapper's shed to measure the tiller. He had it partially hidden under a pile of tires for some reason, probably so the renter wouldn't notice it and want to borrow it. I'd noticed the handle sticking out on an earlier expedition. I uncovered it, measured the width and estimated I'd have to have 30 inch rows if I wanted to borrow his tiller. Went back to my garage, gathered the materials and put together a nice row marker. About that time, David and Eleanor Johnson stopped by so we all went inside for some coffee and good conversation. Trapper stopped over a little later and joined in.

After the Johnsons left, I resumed work on the garden project. The patch was still a little rough so I decided to drag it a little more. Trapper had earlier told me I could use his ancient 4-wheeler so I figured I'd use that to pull the drag since the skid steer really wasn't made for that type of work. It wouldn't start so we pulled it over by my garage. After two carb rebuilds and 3 lost parts, I got it running, hooked it up to the drag and smoothed the dirt to my liking. About that time, I had to go to the Blue Star for a Saturday shift.

I got done early and home before 9 PM so went out and marked all the rows with my new row marker. Management started soaking some corn seed. No hoe around so I borrowed Trapper's and dug out some rows. The little girls helped plant some of the soaked corn and I planted a row of turnips before darkness ended the fun.

It was gorgeous the next morning so we were all out in the garden at about 7 AM and finished planting. We ended up with about 7 rows of divers varieties of corn, a row of peas, 3 rows of beans, a row of rutabagas, a row of turnips, 3 tomato plants, 2 rows of sunflowers mixed with pole beans, a row of lettuce, a hill each of squash, cantaloupe and cucumber, and a part row of bezel on the end. A real masterpiece.

After that early Sunday morning activity, it was over to visit the folks at the Spruce Church for a very nice service. The pastor spoke about the necessity of pursuing God's wisdom. I'm not sure how it applies to our garden, but I'm thinking I'll figure it out sometime...

Grilled some Lake of the Woods trout for lunch, Trapper came by and helped us eat it.  After the feast, we brought Amber the horse up to the garage and saddled her up. Management watched the girls ride her around the yard while Trapper and I worked on making a multiple use trail through the woods.   

Another week in the Great North, see you next week!


As usual, it's been an interesting week, work and area culture in spades. I've been working on getting my skid steer to a state where it can be used in the swampy conditions we find ourselves in. June is like we used to have it: cold and wet.

Arne and Luella Erickson are entertaining their cousins from Sweden this week. Incidentally, Lou will be celebrating a birthday on the 18th so if you see her, say Happy Birthday for me. Her age is the 18th reversed if my sources are correct...

Since we have a horse now, there are certain things that need to be done. Here at Roseen's Corner, the barnyards still have a large amount of manure and hay needing removal. I took Skiddy, my John Deere 250 skid steer, back to the pen Amber the horse resides in to do some cleanup. It became rapidly apparent that I'd better get the tracks on it if I was going to complete the task sometime before snowfall. Skiddy works well on dry or frozen ground without the tracks but with rainfall every 20 minutes or so, it doesn't work, it spins.

Skiddy's tracks needed some new bolts and steel bushings so time between writing and welding at the Blue Star was spent cutting bushings out of 1 1/4" rolled steel and cutting off the old bolts and inserting new bushings and bolts. Trapper was off on his Trout Research /Food Procurement Project near Nestor Falls so he wasn't much help. Sometime Saturday afternoon I got the tracks back on, too late to re-start the corral cleanup since it was time for some Roseau County Culture.

Management, the three little girls and I headed into Roseau proper for a bit of Scandahovian culture late in the day. We stopped at the City Center for a very good supper by Maggie's Catering of Karlstad. We did get there late so they had run out of Swedish meatballs but the rest of the food was very good. It featured a wonderful salad mountain and every sort of Scandahovian food one could imagine. Kudos to Maggie.

Middle daughter Katelyn and I then headed over to Greenbush for another high class event: Racing Greenbush style. We happened to get there on Sprint Car night so it was a little pricey but Promoter Eugene had nearly full stands for the event anyway. The track crew had managed to get the track into a semblance of racing shape after the monsoons. The track was tacky, the more powerful of the Sprints could wheelie down the front stretch if they chose to, several of them did.

driftWhile the sprints were colorful and loud, the best race of the night was the Street Stock feature race. Two cars from the Pure Stock class joined the 4 Street Stock cars in attendance to raise the numbers racing. They had to start at the back and about three laps into the race, one of the lower-class cars knifed through the pack and took the lead. He was challenged by one of the other cars for some time but held the lead and won the race.  

The track crew spent much time on the track between races to keep the track smooth but it was tough. No dry slick that night. One of the Sprint cars flipped up on its side during hot laps and couldn't make the feature. The Sprint heat races were more or less parades, it was obvious that the drivers were not comfortable with the wet track.

On Sunday, the family headed west 3 miles over to visit the folks at Bethel Mission Covenant. Pastor Mark Winther gave a rousing message on harvesters.  It was nice to see some more of our neighbors. By the way, Roy and Margaret Pearson are celebrating 63 years together on the 28th.

castAfter lunch, we split up. I attended the matinee of "No Sex Please, We're British", alone, since it was likely not appropriate for the little girls. It wasn't. It was still a credible production by local talent. I'd recommend the comedy for more mature audiences.

Management took the little girls over to the packed Warroad Community Center for the Highway 11 Ramblers Jam. The little girls enjoyed the snacks provided and danced the afternoon away. When I got there after the play I escorted Management onto the dance floor for a two step and a Waltz; then taught Alyssa some of the basic moves for a Waltz on the next triple meter number.

The band was gracious enough to let the little girls debut their rendition of "Catch a Falling Star" in preparation for their appearance in the Grand Rapids Showboat later in the summer. Then it was off to Hill City overnight, pick up Alyssa's friend Cassydie Monday morning and trundle the two over to the Miracle Bible Camp in Longville for a week of Horse Camp.

Another week in the great north. See you next week!


We’ve finally been blessed with a streak of more seasonal weather. Well, maybe I should re-phrase that since I’ve experienced many rainy Junes in 50 some years. We’ve had nearly a week of mainly sunshine which has prompted me to start wearing short-sleeved shirts and even tee-shirts. They have to be pocket tee-shirts so I can keep my Dollar Saver reading glasses handy.

Speaking of the Dollar Saver store, have you been in there lately? As you all know, Management is pretty tight with what she allows me to spend money so it is nice to go to a store where I can get a lot of stuff for those few dollars. They have some really good cookies there and also some great wheat crackers. The wheat crackers have a half life of about 3 minutes once we open them up around here. Oops, shouldn’t have mentioned the good deals, they’ll all probably disappear before I get back there…

mayor bobWhere was I? Oh, nice weather. Great weather for the car show in Warroad on Saturday. Everybody there seemed to be having a great time. Drove in about noon and found some shade to park in since I had Abby the dog along. I was only able to spend a couple of hours at the show before heading to lower northern Minnesota; had to go back to our former home for several Grad Open Houses.

There was a great selection of cars. As could be expected, Mayor Bob was there with a car or three. Loralee and Uff-Da were Relaying for Life next to the Food Booth. The Hard Driving Editor here at the Pioneer Office, Mark Marvin, says Uff-Da has to be near food… or maybe it was LoraLee, I don’t quite remember… Anyhow, I really like it when I go to an event and the food is actually reasonably priced. They were serving up plates of sauerkraut covered brats, beans and chips for $3, a big cup of pop for $.50. Kudos to Dan Ostlund and the rest of the Cruisers.

The show was just the thing for this Gearhead. They called it the Motorhead Classic, close enough. I circled the grounds several times trying to pick a favorite. There was this A-bodied Buick from the ‘80’s, a 455 gracing the engine bay, that caught my eye. The alternator on the monster motor was so high it looked like they’d have to put a bulge in the hood for it. Other than that and the fact that it is a Buick, it ranks right up there. There was a flat fendered Jeep that’s definitely in contention. Another possible contender is the Ford powered Porsche. Not sure whether to call it a PorFord or a Forsche.   

I wondered about asking the Mayor if I could take a spin in the Boss 429, but thought the better of it. I figured that Matt Anderson’s Land Cruiser should be pretty good for winter driving, another contender. Scott Ostroski’s ’40 Ford pickup looked pretty hi-tech to me so I gave that one some consideration.

belvedereAfter parsing through all the vehicles I saw, I’ll name the brown bare bones Belvedere the Southwest Angle Car of the Show. It reminds me of the Plymouths that Dad used to drive when I was a kid. He’d usually have a Plymouth car and a Ford pickup. Incidentally, this prize comes with no trophy or prize money, see paragraph 2. I will make up a certificate on my computer if the owner is interested…

While I was eating my reasonably priced meal at the car show, there were no empty tables so I sat at one already occupied by a fellow wearing a BMW vest. I struck up a conversation by asking about his Bimmer. He said he’d had a BMW motorcycle, but the vest was better than the bike. He said his name was Josef and he was just riding through Warroad on his motorcycle, a 650 Suzuki V-Strom, and stopped at the car show. He’s from North Carolina and is planning on making it to Alaska this summer. He is retired and now likes to travel around on his motorcycle. He’s on his 4th V-Strom.

I had to leave the show and drive the SuperCab and trailer down to lower northern Minnesota as I mentioned previously. Since time was at a premium, I didn’t have a chance to stop over at the Warroad Care Center and see how Sarah (remember the) Jean Thompson and Operation Smile were doing. I did catch up to her with a Monday telephone call and found that they are nearly done painting the interior and the exterior of the Center. She is still looking for volunteers to work on Friday, June 27th, starting at 9:00 AM.

Sarah has to be commended for her resourcefulness and diligent work on this project. It is always good to see someone take a great idea to completion, involving much of the rest of the community to benefit the seniors. She is the first entry for the 2008 Citizen of the Year for this column, COTY for short. As with the other award, there will be no trophy or prize, but maybe a certificate?    

hauling aMade it to all the Grad parties, then loaded the old John Deere A on the trailer and brought it back here to Roseen’s Corner. I unloaded it on Monday and was tempted to unhook LaRae’s discbine from her Case-IH  Maxxum 140 and hook it up to my old two banger. After thinking it over, I figured the discbine wouldn’t be able to take the torque; or at least that’s what I told myself, so I just parked the A by the shed…

See you next week!