September 2008 Southwest Angle Columns

Incredulous RobHere are the columns from September, 2008. The Little Girls are getting on the bus in the early mornings as the area farmers are figuring ways to get through the muddy fields and harvest the wheat and canola. 

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Summer has gone. I don’t know where it went. I’m still somewhere back in July, still planning on summer things I want to do but the Little Girls are getting on the bus in the mornings at 7:12 AM and heading off to school.

Management didn’t have a chance to get them into the hair salon for hair trims so they look like three little grizzly cubs, but they are cute grizzly cubs. I did celebrate the last day of summer vacation by taking them to the Trading Post for ice cream cones after playing on the Point Playground Friday last. A Big Spender, I just sprang for the single dip cones. We discovered that they have pieces of candy in the bottom of the cone, a nice touch.   

We also took time on Labor Day to trek over to the State Park at Zippel Bay. We went over there in Dick’s old Buick to save on gas. As expected, I had to get a park sticker on the car to gain entrance to the park. Since the family really enjoys going to State Parks, I decided to get the year sticker. It cost $25 so I’m adding that to the value of the car. You take everything you can get when the car is that old. I told Management she’d have to drive the Buick at least 13 more months since that’s how long the sticker is valid for.

rootsThe gals wanted to swim so we went to the beach first. It is nice. The Little Girls frolicked in the water for quite a while. Management joined them for some time. I set up a beach chair in the shade, cracked open a Mountain Dew and watched Abby the Dog while they swam. After they had enough of swimming, they walked the beach and picked up shells. I joined them and took some pictures of the girls and the interesting tree root systems exposed by the lake action.

After they’d had their fill of the beach, it was time to head over to the fishing pier. Valeri bought herself a Shimano spinning reel and pole a couple of days before at Streiffs so that needed to be tested out. The Fishing Pier at the park is nice little walk from the parking lot and well worth it.

It took some over a half hour to get the new pole set up, the rest of the poles baited and cast out and my pole set up. We had worms and bobbers for the girls so I decided to tie on a daredevil and check out the northern population. On my second cast, a small northern struck and I pulled it in. One of the girls netted it and Management took a picture. It wasn’t hooked too badly and looked like it needed to grow a little more so I threw it back.

Alyssa wanted to do some casting so I took over one of the bobber poles to be closer to the other fishing action.

Valeri did the best, she pulled in a little perch and then a miniscule sunny that got the same treatment as the northern. At some point, the deficiencies of the combination of a 7 year old with a spinning reel became apparent; Dad had to spend some time dismantling the reel and unwrapping the monofilament from around the spool holder.

About this time, Alyssa had a strike on the daredevil but the line broke. I put some new rigging on the broken line and set up Valeri with the closed face spinning reel and rod. Alyssa took over my pole and I was left playing with the Shimano and a weedless spoon. Aside from a couple of strikes, no fish.

girls at zippelThe clouds were rolling in and it was soon looking like rain so we pulled the lines in and trudged back to the car. We had the equipment along for a barbeque but the rainy conditions dictated that we head for home. Along the road north of William, we had to move off the road for 2 straight cut John Deere combines. As Trapper says, “they own the road!” A couple more were blitzing a nearby field, racing with the coming storm. We ran into the storm as we turned off County 5 onto County 2 South of Warroad. About 1.5 inches of rain, on Labor Day, right on schedule.

Labor Day weekend was very busy here at Roseen’s Corner. Even though he did get harvest finished up before the rain, Trapper was not in the best of moods since he’s been having problems with his star farm truck, Klema, a ’79 Chev 70 series, powered by a venerable 366. He calls it Klema since he bought it from his friend Lawrence Klema. We changed the plugs on it Saturday since it wasn’t running too well but to no avail. Since the combine was eating up the wheat at a prodigious rate, he headed to the field with Klema and his other truck, a GMC. On the way home with a load, Klema overheated. Then came a bigger problem for Trapper, he had to borrow Gerry Reed’s Ford (a very nice Y-block powered F-600) to take its place since he needed two trucks. For some reason, it’s a hard sell to convince Trapper that the Ford was the best truck in the field.

Gerry was combining for Trapper with his Gleaner. He finished straight cutting the wheat on Saturday night. Gerry was back in the field combining the canola on Sunday with the pickup head. They beat the rain on Monday by a few hours.   

I’ll have to let you know that we have the strongest woman in the world living right here in the Southwest Angle. I was talking to my co-worker Claude at the Blue Star the other night and he was giving me a running commentary on the vehicles and equipment Ms Toyota has broken over the years she’s been with Claude’s dad, Gerry Reed. He finished with the statement: “That Ms Toyota could break an anvil!” The statement appeared to be a pretty apt description of the situation. Word is that Gerry is keeping Ms Toyota away from his shop anvil. It’d behoove the rest of you to do likewise.

See you next week!



It’s pretty embarrassing. After being a township clerk, election judge and a party activist before that, to have to admit that I just missed voting in an election is just that, embarrassing.

There are some exonerating circumstances here. I had to work a 12 hour shift (until 3 am) at the Blue Star the day before and was working on newspaper stuff after I got up later in the morning. It was still quite a little disconcerting to realize on my way to work Tuesday afternoon, about the time I passed the Malung Town Hall, that it was election day. There was no way that I could turn around, drive back to the Falun Town Hall, register, vote and then make it back to work on time. 

I’m hoping to reverse this trend in November. I’m sure the rest of you made better use of my research on the candidates than I did.

Some old business to cover: a couple of weeks back we went over to visit the Evangelical Covenant Church in Roseau for a Sunday morning service. As we pulled up, I could see a shiny Trike sitting in pastor’s parking space. It wasn’t a kid’s trike, it was one of those constructed using a motorcycle, in this case a Honda Goldwing. I’d heard that Pastor Joe Elick was a motorcycle aficionado and now I saw the proof. Trapper would say it isn’t a motorcycle if it isn’t a Harley, but what does he know anyway? It was a beauty.


We went inside and the first people we saw were Pastor Elick and his wife Julie. After introductions, we found out that they had just returned from a trip to the west coast on the trike. They’d covered 4600 miles and experienced temperatures as warm as 114o F in Walla-Walla Washington.

The pastor delivered a good message on guilt and its effect on a person. Always on the job, he’d encountered a situation on the trip that provided the story for his sermon. It was a nice service and the Little Girls loved singing “Shout to the North and the South”; big emphasis on the “Shout”.

Last weekend, I took the Little Girls over to experience Streiff Kid’s Day. What a great event! Thanks to Conway and Mary for putting it on and to the legions of people and businesses who donated and helped out.

The Little Girls were pretty satisfied with their day even though they didn’t win any prizes. They seemed to like the 4-Wheeler course the best. I guess Katelyn took out about half the straw bales on the course. The only thing I can say: “That’s my Girl!”

Dana Klos ended up being a trap thrower for some time at the Lost River part of the Kid’s Day when the mechanical trap quitdana klos throwing working. He was huffing and puffing a little bit but did pretty good. I have to give him some style points even though he was a little short on distance.

This weekend is pretty loaded up on things to do. The Northland Threshing Bee held near Strathcona on the Wiskow Farm will be in full swing. Along with all the antique tractors, Clayton Skoien is planning on having 12 Percherons hitched up and working the field a couple of times during the weekend. Should be very entertaining.

Those that work at Polaris have the annual picnic on Saturday at the Pioneer Village. Also, the annual Penturan service is on Sunday. I’m not exactly sure what this one entails, but expect a full report next week.

See you next week!


We had a good time last weekend. On Saturday, We made it over to the Polaris picnic at the Pioneer Farm near Roseau. Good food and they had some great blow-up games for the Little Girls. For once I wasn’t worried that they’d destroy something, at least on the blow up games.

Some of my co-workers had set up a couple of 4-wheeler courses, one for the kids and the other for the bigger kids. The action there was continuous. The littler kids used 50’s and 90’s to blitz the straw bale enclosed course.  Naturally, one of mine had to displace several of the bales when she missed the exit. That’s my girl!

The bigger kids had their choice of almost any 4-wheeler built by the company to run the short woods course. The Sportsmen models didn’t get ridden much, probably because most of the people had something similar at home. The 2 RZR’s were pretty busy but the one that had a long waiting line was the Ranger Crew. This big bad boy will seat 6, is surprisingly peppy and handles well.

The party lasted until the two kid’s 4-wheelers were given away. Since you needed to be present to win, two non-attendees lost out when their names were drawn. The drawing was held 10 minutes into a rainstorm and the only visible activity thereafter was people running for the shelter of their vehicles and leaving.

 making a ropeSunday at the Wiskow’s near Strathcona was interesting as well as enjoyable. As usual, we didn’t make it on time to the church service. We did get to hear the last half of Pastor Gilbert Loe’s message about being Saved by Grace. The pastor drew laughs when he mentioned he’d been married for 67 years and knew his wife’s back well. He said it could be best described as intimate to liniment. 

The Little Girls loved the rope making demonstration put on by James Dostal. He was making ropes and giving them to the kids. Actually, he would thread twine through his rope making setup and let the kids turn the handles and make their own ropes. Very neat. He learned the process from a dictionary 45 years ago and has been doing it at Wiskow’s for the last 10 years.

The parades were good, many old tractors. My favorites were the pair of wide front John Deere 70 diesels running together in the parade. My first “big” tractor with live power was a 70 diesel narrow front.

 pair of 70sClayton Skoien with the help of the North Border Harness Club demonstrated a 12 horse hitch of Percherons a little bit after the second parade. See the pictures for this elsewhere in the paper.  

I actually took a little time after I got back from the Threshing Bee to work in the garden. I’ve been meaning to soliloquize a bit about this project but usually seem to run into more interesting things to write about. I still do enjoy working about 12.5 minutes every second or third day in the garden. It’s not really enough time to keep ahead of the weeds and harvest as you green thumbers know, but, surprisingly, Management, the Little Girls and I have been able to enjoy some of the vegetables of our labors. 

Over the course of the summer, I’ve concluded that if you really want to raise something that makes it look like you know what you’re doing, try basil. This leafy plant outgrew the weeds here at Roseen’s Corner, no mean feat. We’ve had many a salad from the basil row.

The green beans produced well, so well that we couldn’t keep up when it came time to harvest them. I had planted lots of them because for some reason we had lots of bean seed. Trapper and the Missus even got a meal or two from the bumper crop. Management felt bad about seeing so many go unpicked, but I assured her that we would let them mature, pick them and dry them. We’d then separate the beans from the pods and end up with dried beans. The goal is to eventually try baking up some baked beans like grandma Agnes used to make, her being the Baked Bean Champion of Splithand Township back home. I’m not sure Management is quite on board on this one. I’ll keep you posted.

We’ve actually had one meal of corn on the cob. The corn didn’t germinate too well so I ended up with one full row of an indeterminate variety of sweet corn and a partial row of Indian corn. The silk on the Indian corn is a pretty red, but the ears are not quite mature. The corn grew to almost a Jack and the Beanstalk height. We have a lilac hedge to the east and I think they were trying to grow high enough to get a little of the morning sun.

The sunflowers also grew to monster height and faced south as a consequence of the lilacs. We have several sunflower heads in the vicinity of 12 inches. I hope sunflower prices are good this fall, I might have a half bushel or so of them.

I double planted pole beans in the sunflowers. That experiment worked surprisingly well. The broccoli and cauliflower didn’t fare so well. We harvested a little of the broccoli but it seemed to flower too quickly. I ended up using it for something to munch on when I was tending the garden. Most of the cauliflower didn’t produce and those that did weren’t tasty. The insects devastated most of the cabbage, but they need to eat too, Right? Management salvaged some of it for a meal of coleslaw.

Didn’t ever see any watermelons but did manage to produce 2 cantaloupe. The pumpkin plant slept for most of the summer, then suddenly one week decided to take over the north end of the yard. The stem looks like a small horizontal oak tree and it has about 1000 blossoms and a couple very tiny pumpkins. I figure if I keep it alive until deer season, I might get something worth keeping.

As for the cucumber plant, every few days I’ll pick one or two that suddenly appear. We eat them raw since no one has time to can.  A couple of gourds on the squash plant, nothing of note yet.

The worms are ahead of me on the turnips. We can get some edible tidbits by cutting out the worm tunnels but it takes time.

I’ve been using Trapper’s tiller periodically to extend the tilled portion of the garden westward since the plants on the extreme east were in the shade of the lilacs for most of the day.

We’ve had a frost here already but it was a light frost and didn’t touch the garden. I’m sure a killer frost will be here soon to wrap it up for garden ‘08. Plans are now being crafted for garden ‘09. Will keep you posted.

See you next week!


Recently, an aching back and neck caused me to ask Management to schedule an appointment with the Chiropractor for me. That’s Management’s job, you know.

Anyway, she did it and I showed up on Doc Verworn’s doorstep on a Monday morning. It was a busy place. I was third in line and chatted briefly with Myrna Cratty about coming over to ride in Jim’s Model T before approaching the receptionist’s window. I had been tempted to get my chain saw and lower the window opening for Myrna, but she was able to conduct her business without that type of assistance. Soon it was my turn to talk to the attractive receptionist.

I told her who I was and that I had an appointment. She fixed her steely gaze on me and said, “You forgot to vote!”

The good Doc has a very perceptive receptionist. The newspaper had been late the week before so she had a very limited time frame to read my “Embarrassed” column. I acknowledged my errant ways and meekly filled out the voluminous forms she handed me.

When the time came for me to see the Doc, The receptionist took me down the hallway and shut me in a little room with a couple of chairs and a chiropractor’s table. After a little while, Doc Verworn came in, asked me a few questions, then went to work on my old body.

He worked on my hip to loosen it up, then started his “adjustment”. For those who’ve never experienced an “adjustment”, it’s something like being put in one of those “no holts barred” wrasslin’ holds like my Kentuckian Dad used to use on me and cranking the affected area back into place.

Evidently my body didn’t cooperate too well and it took three of the wrasslin’ holds to get the desired pop and expression of satisfaction from the Doc. He then turned his attention to my neck and made some noise there also.

The hip seems to be markedly better but the neck, well, wearing a welding helmet and holding my head in peculiar positions for 8 or more hours a day isn’t conducive to good neck health. Another session may be in order.

ferrariHasso Rothenbacher had some visitors from Bemidji to his Dyno over the weekend. The Red Line car club brought up 4 vehicles to test on the Red Line Dyno. The most notable was a bright red 348 Ferrari, a rare sight in the northland. Also run on the Dyno were a 280Z Datsun, a ’72 Chevelle SS and a Dodge diesel pickup. Looking at the quartet, one might think the Dodge pickup was just a tow vehicle except for the twin 8” stacks sticking out of the bed of the truck. Hasso says that the Cummins powered truck has registered the highest torque figures ever on his Dyno, 1030 ft-lbs. It also registered over 500 Rear Wheel Horsepower. The Ferrari did pretty well, but at 250 RHP was about half of the pickup.


Management, the Little Girls and I went to Wannaska for a wedding last Saturday night. Shannon Foss and Jeremy Skoien were thehorse and buggy happy couple. The ceremony was nice and simple. They know how to do these things in Wannaska. After the ceremony, they had the guests thread their way through the receiving line and right into the food line. The supper included potatoes, ham and several other dishes and meatballs. I figure they had to be Swedish meatballs because Trapper said they were good.

After the wedding dinner, the bride and groom were tucked into a buggy pulled by a pretty Palimino. They drove south on 89 out of for a mile or so, then used a more modern mode of transportation to the dance at the Hall over on County 9.   

The groom’s uncle had several monster pumpkins in the back of his Chevy half ton at the wedding. I took some pictures so I know what mine should look like next year. 

On Sunday was a visit to the Westside Baptist Church.. We enjoyed singing many old-time Gospel hymns and Pastor Aaron gave a good message on the precepts of the Lord’s Supper.