Archived Southwest Angle Columns

Incredulous RobMay is when we're supposed to be moving into summer, but old man winter sent some blasts our way. Lots of changes for the family this month...

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I'm looking for some of that dark tint window stuff to put on the windows of the "new" car I bought for Management last week.

 It all started so innocently. Most of these things do. Trapper invited me along over to Dick Wahlstrom's the other morning since I hadn't been over there yet. The two had some serious planning to do, the spring trout season is fast approaching so Big Plans must be firmed up, dates set, boats prepared, you know the drill. We got over there and Dick and son Randy were having morning coffee, Dick put on another pot so Trapper and I could indulge also. After the coffee conference, Dick took Trapper 'n me on a tour of his homestead. He's got some really interesting stuff; old tractors, cars and such tucked in different buildings on the place. Some of the farm buildings are really old, his father had a sawmill and the garage and house are constructed of square timbers. Dick pointed out a small log house the family lived in while building the newer house.

 We were in one building and as we walked past a silver colored car, Dick asked, "Do you want to buy a cheap Buick?"

You know me, always looking for a deal on my newspaperman's budget, I said, "Sure!" I'm thinking, "it isn't a Ford, but with Management's luck with vehicles, sometimes it doesn't pay to be fussy." 

 "How much?" I said.

 Dick said, "I'm not sure Eileen will let me sell it, but I want $300 for it. I've spent $800 trying to find the overnight electrical drain on the battery and the folks at the shop can't find it. I just want to get rid of it."

It sounded like a good deal to me. It looked in pretty good shape and had the venerable 3.8 V-6. We kinda left it at that, I had to get permission from Management and he had to get the OK from his management type person.

 Management said yes when I told her about the car. It would get much better mileage than the Rolling Playhouse and had a lot less rust so it was an easy sell. Trapper took me back over to Dick's the next morning to see how he was faring with his management type person.

 He had an interesting story to relate. He'd had, as Trapper describes it, one of those reminders that he was still married. It seems that he got in spring cleanup mode after we left the day before and cleaned out the garage and little log house, now used for storage. He'd hauled a couple of bucket loads to his refuse pile down the road with the old Oliver 88 loader tractor. A couple of the items he'd hauled out were old wooden chairs, one a broken rocking chair. They'd been in the storage house for about 20 years. When Dick's parents passed away, wife Eileen had taken the chairs and stored them in the shed for future restoration? As Dick says, "they were in pretty tough shape. The rocker was folded over on the one. I was hoping she'd forgotten about them."

 Eileen works at the Yellow Rose so when she got home from work, Dick proudly showed her the cleanup he'd done.

 "I showed her the garage and then we went over to the log house. We walked in and she didn't look at anything else, she just looked in the corner where the chairs had been and said, 'Where are my chairs?' I'm lucky I took the time to set them aside before I dumped the bucket load on the junk pile! Now I'm going to have to go down and bring them back."

 buickHe also must have done some fast talking to amend for his little escapade, he'd gotten her to agree to sell the Buick. We trekked out to the shed to see if it would run. He put the battery cable back on and it started right up. We backed it out and I looked it over in the sunlight. It was a Park Avenue, had a couple of dings and rust on the rocker panels but the interior and the rest of it looked pretty good. Underhood it was clean and there was little engine noise.

 We went in the house, I wrote out the check and he signed the title. We got it home and I went to work on finding the electrical drain. After some time, I think I got it figured out, at least the battery holds up fine over a 24 hour period so that's good enough.

 Anyway, my GM friends assure me that a 3.8 V-6 is just barely broken in at 206,345 miles so it should last a long time, or at least until the next deer decides to run out in front of Management. The Big Kids are already taking bets. Hopefully the bovine TB deer kill efforts are successful in cutting the odds there. At least it should give me time to find some parts and cherry out the Crown Victoria.

As you can see, if you've got some of that dark tint window stuff, I need it. It isn't right for a Ford guy to be seen driving around in a Buick.

snowing at rangeSunday was a pretty good day. It started out sunshiny so it was not a surprise to see a big Tractor blitzing a field just south of Roseau on the way to church in the afore mentioned Buick. After church, it was a trip to the Roseau Diner where I partook of the famous buffet while Management had a burger and a miniature mountain of hash browns. The little girls made short order of several Mickey Mouse pancakes. 

We left there for an event at the Warroad Lost River Sportsman Club range northwest of Warroad. On the way, it started snowing. Snow in May, another sign Al Gore simply doesn't know what he's talking about. Anyway, we got there to find a whole lot of activities going on even with a little snowstorm. The Old Rocket's dad, Doug Lindner, escorted the family around a neat little shooting course bobcatted out of the forest. He lent me a .22 and some ammo and I tried with marginal success to hit silhouettes of animals and birds at different levels and distances. It was fun and educational. 

 aspen on dynoAfter that, we took the little girls over to the BB and air rifle range where they spent the next hour or so with Kim Krueger the patient, shooting at balloons and targets. I was able to borrow a pistol and ammo from Management's boss, Rick Corneliusen, and spent an equivalent amount of time blasting away at targets and playing cards assisted by Paul King.

The trap range was busy for part of the time and across the way I could hear shooters banging away at the rifle range. It was a good family event. We stayed until Management got wet and cold, then headed towards home.

 On the way back home, we stopped at Hasso Rothenbacher's Red Line Dyno where he had a customer's neat little Dodge Aspen on his Dyno. We got there at just the right time to watch him do a dyno run. The Aspen is powered by a punched out 360 displacing 423 cubic inches; it was putting well over 450 horses to the rollers. Pretty impressive. Expect to see an article on this enterprise in the near future.


As usual, it was an interesting week here at Roseen's Corner. Trapper had to do his whole herd TB test so they've been busy with that. I got involved a little, pushing cows into the pens and on one day, working with the Lady Trapper LaRae to cajole a bunch of cows that definitely wanted no part of being penned up again back into the corral. I'm still not certain how we did it, but it got done. I'm sure everyone that's worked with cattle has had a moment, or probably several, like that.

 The upshot of the testing is that the herd is under quarantine until some suspect cows are tested. Unfortunately, they have to be killed for the post-mortem testing as it is called. Being a beef farmer in this area has become very complicated due to the bovine TB situation.

 It's been a little difficult doing things because every time I get close to Trapper he grabs my arm and twists it up behind my back. He wants me to go with him over near Nestor Falls for some trout fishing on the east end of the big lake. I suppose I'll have to go with him, food procurement, you know. I've put in for Saturday off at the Blue Star so expect to see the Canadian side of the lake for a couple of days. Hopefully some trout, too. Management is researching trout recipes so I'd better bring some back.

I don't remember having snow on fishing opener like last Saturday in my 50+ years although I've seen some cold ones. Trapper says we'll have to dress for the trip like we did for the snowmobile trip to the Angle. I believe him. The coldest I ever was in my life was in 1969 when some friends convinced Dad we should go to Kabetogama for fishing opener. At 5:00 AM on a clear, cold morning in May wearing my winter coat, I thought I was going to freeze to death. Fortunately, one of our friends brought a Honda Trail 55 along. Us kids had more fun driving that around the campground than we did fishing on the lake since fishing was cold and slow.

Last Saturday night, Management and I had a treat along with many of the other area people. Trapper and the Missus were going to the last performance of the Northern Lights series and Trapper mentioned to me that he thought I'd like it. I'd visited David and Eleanor Johnson earlier in the day and they talked about going, too. By the way, Eleanor is recuperating well from knee replacement surgery, still using the cane but she looks ready to chase David around the garden again.

Anyway, after we took the little girls on a bike ride, stopping at the creek where they tried to fill the waterway with rocks, Management decided we could go to the concert. We fed them and got into the Buick where Management found out Valeri had run the passenger's seat full ahead and the back button didn't work. She rode into Roseau with her forehead nearly resting on the windshield. Guess I'll have to see if Dick'll warranty that...but we did make it to town OK.  

The group was "Riders in the Sky." It was a great concert. They have their own genre. Lots of comedy and singing, yodeling and instrumental. It was billed as a quartet although seldom were all 4 singing at one time. There was a fiddler, an accordion player (Belly Steinway), a Rhythm guitar, and a Bass fiddle. The rhythm guitar was really rhythm, seldom did one hear any sound except rhythm from it. The comedy was great, at one point, Management laughed so hard she almost cried.

 The group has been together for 30 years and did many of the old, familiar cowboy songs. They integrated Roseau into the act at many points and were rewarded with a standing ovation at the end.

Mitchell Johnson and the whole board of the Northern Lights Concert Association are to be commended for giving the community such an opportunity to experience good entertainment. Mitchell gave special mention to Jim Provance for his work in setting up the performances each time they have a group come in. Jim handled lights and sound for this performance as well.  Good work on the part of all.

 Fixed the Buick's seat adjustment button the next morning by manually bumping the innards of the switch so the seat is permanently in the full back position and removed the guts so Valeri can't run it ahead. No warranty needed.

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


I'm sure you're all breathlessly waiting to hear about the fishing trip to the east end of the Big Lake. It did happen as Trapper promised. It was an eye opener for me in many ways.

 I didn't realize how close knit this whole area is. It is a big area. For years, there's been a tradition that Trapper and buddy Dick Wahlstrom will go together to Whitefish Bay for the trout opener. This year was an exception, for some reason Dick will be going up a little later. Everyone in the Big Lake Community proper noticed this glaring discrepancy. As we came through the door of the Ranch House restaurant in Baudette, the first person Trapper greeted asked, "Where's Dick?" It was a common theme of any conversation, repeated often throughout the trip. The waitress, the resort owner, always the same, "Where's Dick?" The only ones who didn't ask, "Where's Dick?" were the Customs officers, and they looked like they were only a couple of years out of high school so I guess they can be excused.

Del and Neil Santos were just a couple of minutes behind us at the Ranch House, headed for the same destination. We saw them often throughout the trip, they are Whitefish Bay regulars. Fishing was good. The weather didn't always cooperate, on Saturday we had to wait out a couple of fast moving rain showers, running for protection in protected coves or sheltered docks. Like a good guide, Trapper let me catch the most fish. The biggest we caught was a 30 inch, 12 pound trout. I did find out you can't believe Trapper when he estimates fish weight, he told me my first fish was just a little 4 pounder, it scaled 7 pounds back at the landing.

I can't reveal the setup we used, "Top secret!" Trapper tells me. We did lots of "catch and release" on Sunday since we could only keep one trout per person per day, possession limit is 2.

lyle and troutWe stayed at Nestor Falls. Since it was the Canadian Walleye opener, one would expect lots of activity. There wasn't much, the thought is that high fuel prices on both sides of the border are keeping fishermen closer to home. The biggest activity in town was watching the Pelicans taking advantage of the walleye spawn to feed in a little pool amongst the fast running water at the foot of the falls.

The trip helped me understand a little more of how inclusive the Lake of the Woods community is. The proprietor of the Motel was a young guy, he guides as well as manages the motel, boat landing and campground. When he found out we were from Roseau, he said, "You're just locals from the other side of the Lake!" The friendly feeling was amplified by every person we met, they all took the time to talk a little bit and get acquainted.

Back home Sunday night, my mother and sister came up for a day-nighter. My sister is a Historical Society Director in the home area and had a meeting in Warren. She brought Mom up to see Roseen's Corner and Mom wasn't disappointed even though Trapper and the Missus didn't have any long milk handy to feed her. Ah, well, there's always next time. To make up for that disappointment, I barbecued some of the trout for lunch on Monday and she really liked that.

Unfortunately, I found out that we have another entry in SOTY, the "Slob of the Year" Contest. It seems that someone took a chain, wrapped it around one of the spruce trees in the median of the parking lot at the Point about 7 feet up and yanked on it with a pickup or an SUV. Predictably, it broke off. Chief Cudaback would like anyone having information about the misdeed to contact him.

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


They say if you hang around the wrong bunch too long, it's going to wear off on you. That might be a partial explanation for what happened this last week. We acquired a horse. I guess I have to thank all my horse friends for that one.

 It isn't just any horse. Management's niece Amy is one of those horse people. She talked her parents into buying a horse for her years ago and spent her teen years training, mucking after, riding and showing a pretty Appaloosa named Amber. Along the line, through an unusual set of circumstances, she gained another horse. Now in college, she can't afford 2 horses so, over the course of several months, a deal was made for the three little girls to assume the responsibility for Amber's care and training. As you might figure, Management and myself figure prominently in the situation.

The time was set for picking up the horse. Since my customary towing vehicle ended its life in Management's short flight across a ditch last November, I had to resurrect one of my older SuperCab Fords. I'd gotten the ancient F-250 4x4 running to plow Trapper's yard as mentioned in a previous Angle column, but it needed some work before doing the 600 mile trip. The Y-pipe was hanging on one side and the muffler had fallen off so my week's mornings were spent cutting out some plates to clamp the pipe back to the manifold and welding up a new pipe between the catalytic converter and the muffler. Fixed a leak in the rear differential and filled all the needed fluid levels. I also used some builder's foam to fill some rust holes above the rear wheels, but had no time to do an application of Bondo. Management insured it and I purchased the license for it. It ran a little rough but I figured it'd smooth out with a good workout. The only thing left was to find a trailer to use.

A trip down to my see friend Clayton the Percheron Man did the trick. He had no pull behind horse trailers but a friend did so he called him up and I was in business. The trailer was in Ross so it would be a good shakedown run from Roseen's Corner for the resurrected rig.  

loaded upI've always wondered why, since I've seen that riding horses are pretty much a girl thing, the guys will get involved. I think I have it pretty much figured out now. It goes like this: she says she needs a horse, her guy translates that into, "I need to get a new truck to pull the trailer she needs to get to haul the horse around." As you can see, they then have a win-win situation.

 While I didn't buy a new truck, it was an excellent excuse to get the F-250 roadworthy. I made the trip to Ross and picked up the trailer. The trailer was old and pretty much matched the tow vehicle but it was sound. Had the wrong light hookup so took the back roads home. As expected, the workout caused the truck to be running pretty good by the time I got back home. I re-tightened my Y-pipe clamp and started work on getting trailer lights. That didn't go quite so well. Too many problems so decided to do a complete re-wire on the borrowed trailer.

Over the years, I've done many a "midnight re-wire of the trailer lights" job and this was no exception. I picked up the required parts before I went to work at 3 PM, got off early and was working on the project by 10 PM. Finished up about 1 AM and packed up. We got on the road before 6:30 AM the next morning, pretty much a record for this family.

 The trip went well. Gas mileage, as expected, was under 8 mpg for the heavy rig. We made it to the riding stable near Isanti sometime after 1 PM. The next few hours were spent with Amy showing the little girls everything they needed to know about handling the horse, cramming all she'd learned over her years of working with Amber into a few hours. Fortunately, Management's sister Ann was recording the session on video so we can review it. Amber the Appaloosa was very well behaved considering 4 girls were swarming over her almost constantly for the 4 hours we were there. Everyone including Management and me were up on the horse at one time or another.

While at the barn, I noticed an older couple spending time at one of the horse stalls. I walked over there to see what was going on and was treated to the sight of a new foal. In talking with the lady of the couple, Betty, I heard a neat story.

Betty had always wanted to work with horses, but it was a little tough for her since she resided in St. Louis Park. Now 76, she has an Arabian mare at the stable that was given to her by her daughter-in-law. While she says her husband isn't totally sold on the idea, he none-the-less acquiesces. The white mare was bred by one of the Appaloosa stallions on the farm and foaled the day before we arrived. The little colt turned out a solid brown. Betty has been staying at the stable all week and will be there a couple of more days. She's had some riding lessons, interrupted by knee replacement surgery, but is having the time of her life. A good example that it's never too late to live your dream.  

The trip home went well. We loaded up Amber the Appaloosa and came back to Hill City on Sunday, stayed the night and went to a Memorial Day service at the family cemetery near Grand Rapids on Monday morning. While short, the ceremony put on by the Veteran's organizations was very touching. It impresses on one the debt we have to those who've lost their lives in service for our United States.

amber and girls

Back home to Roseen's Corner. Trapper has a spare corral that Amber is staying in for the present, longer term arrangements are yet to be firmed up. In the meantime, the little girls have a hard time falling asleep at night since they are living a dream.


See you next week!