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Horses Working in the Field at the Skoien Ranch
Clayton Skoien is one of the few. He has a passion for Percheron draft horses and he faithfully uses his horses every year to prepare ground and plant about 16-20 acres of oats as cover for the alfalfa he seeds. This year he is planting a field just north of his homestead. I was able to get some pictures of his operation and ride a round with him.
Clayton was using a four horse hitch to pull a little cart and field cultivator. The homemade cart lets him ride in comfort in old car bucket seats high above the horses. On the day I was there, he had used one set of horses in the morning and hooked up a second set of four for the afternoon session.
“I like to work the horses in the mornings and the evenings,” says the horseman, “I have other things to do in the middle of the day. As the horses get work-toughened, I can use them longer.”
Working with horses is a bit different than using a tractor. “I usually rest them when I get to the end of the field,” he said as we rested the horses during the round of the field. The horses were breathing heavily from their exertions. He’d made a short circle for pictures before picking me up so this rest stop was about two-thirds of the way across the field.
Most of the neighbor’s tractors are still parked, but the horses are able to work much sooner than tractors.
Clayton plowed up the piece last summer after he cut the first crop of hay off. He plowed much of it with the horses, but ended up plowing some of it with a tractor when he ran out of time. He did disc up the field with the horses last fall and this is his first pass with the field cultivator.
“I have seven plots and I plant one each year. I don’t use any fertilizer except manure most years,” says Clayton, “I sell some oats to other horsemen around here and sometimes sell a truck load to the elevator. I like to get about a hundred bushels to the acre, but last year it was about eighty.”
He continued, “I feed oats to the horses because it cuts down on the hay I have to feed. I did pick up some corn this spring because the price was $2.50 a bushel. That’s why the horses are in such good shape.” He motioned at the well fleshed horses as they pulled the rig down the field.
Clayton speaks quietly and easily to the horses as they do his bidding. It is plain that he loves working the land with horses, and will continue doing so for a long time.
by Rob Crowe
First, I’m happy to introduce Bob Ludwig’s first column which appears in this issue.
I haven’t been out in the world much this week. An old Michigan loader that’s been sitting around for about five years has taken up a good share of my time; you can read the story about my epic repair in the Michigan story..
On Wednesday, I visited Rich Coffman’s place. Rich is one of my co-workers at the Blue Star. He lives north of Roseau in the middle of the lake that exists there during the spring. He’s had to bring in quite a bit of fill to keep his yard above the spring time water level. The road has been raised quite a bit also. “We had to use boat into the house every spring until they did that,” said Rich, “That was a pain!”
I felt quite at home there, the yard was filled with Fords and he had a loader tractor that needed a clutch and hydraulic pump sitting there waiting for him to find time to work on it. For those that want to know, the tractor was green, but not a John Deere.
This week, the vet came out to the Roseen farm and the neighborhood horses received their shots and Coggins tests. Amber the horse did very well, standing mostly quiet as the vet poked needles in her. One of the other horses didn’t do so well. I had to pick myself up off the ground when nearly a ton of Percheron decided that he needed to move away from a needle and I was in the way. Fortunately, only my pride was hurt.
The crusty old Norsk, Orlin Ostby, isn’t very happy with me. Orlin is a Chevy guy, and he thinks they steer so well that they drive themselves down the road. Trapper does too, so things get a little touchy for a Ford guy sometimes. I happened to mention at work to Orlin that my new/old Chev didn’t steer too well on the rare occasions that it was running well enough to drive. “I don’t know why you bought that thing,” Orlin sputtered, “You’ve been complaining about it constantly since you bought it.” Nothing like a good old Norsk to bluntly put things into perspective. I guess I better not tell him I bought it so I did have a Chev to complain about...plus it was a good deal even if I have to sink a couple of hundred or so in it before I trade it off on a Ford...
I was able to limp the white Chev pickup over into the garage so I could work on it. I replaced the fuel pump relay but that didn’t correct the stalling problem. Next step is to replace the PMD, an electronic control on the side of the injection pump. In the interests of frugality, I’ve ordered out a used one. If that works, I’ll invest in a new one since research indicates these are likely one of the GM financial wizards’ planned obsolescence parts. It wouldn’t be so bad if it was an easy to reach item, but the intake manifold has to be removed for replacement. Thanks, GM.
Sorry to say, the Rolling Playhouse, our old Econoline van, will roll no more under its own power. The reason I could get the Chev in the garage is because I moved a Ford out that had been there over a year. I had acquired the ‘89 F-150 4x4 for a cheap price since a fire had burnt the wiring and controls on the top of the motor. It had a 302 just like the van. My son Travis came up one week and dismantled the parts off the Rolling Playhouse that would fit on the pickup and I finished up the job early last week.
For some miraculous reason, the pickup started up on almost the first try. I’ll have to do some tuning on it, but it drives nice. Orlin doesn’t appreciate it much when I tell him it steers better than the Chev.
I really do plan on getting out into civilization once I get this spate of mechanical work done. The loader and F-150 projects have been in progress for well over a year so it is gratifying to see some success. Travis will be getting the Ford since I need a Club Cab to squire my four ladies around. Hopefully I’ll be able to report success on the Chev effort, but no promises.
Another week in the Great North, see you next week!
Pictorial tour of the Southwest Angle
Pictures from the Roseau School elementary choir concert on Thursday, May 7th.
Wanted—Single Row Potato planter. Contact Danny Dybedahl -424-7230
For Sale—Big Round Bales Second, Crop Alfalfa. Contact Ms Toyota -689-4841
Area High School Box Scores
5/2/2009 Warroad 0 Esko 7
5/5/2009 Warroad 11 Red Lake Falls 0
4/30/2009 Roseau 5 Red Lake Falls 4
5/1/2009 Roseau 15 KC-L 4
5/4/2009 Roseau 5 TRF 7
5/5/2009 Roseau 8 Crookston 6
5/8/2009 Roseau 10 KC-L 3
5/4/2009 Warrroad 1 Roseau 0
5/5/2009 Roseau 16 EGF 3
5/5/2009 Warroad 10 BGMR 13
5/5/2009 Warroad 3 BGMR 10
5/7/2009 Warroad 11 International Falls 1
Greenbush Race Park Schedule
May 9, 2009 Test & Tune (Weather Permitting)
May 16, 2009 Season Opener Shootout (All Classes)
May 23, 2009 Ed's North Country Meats Pure Stock Special (No 4)
May 30, 2009 Races Plus King of the Ring Full Size Car Demo(No S)
June 13, 2009 Central Boiler NLRA Late Model Special ( No M,4)
June 27, 2009 Budweiser NOSA Outlaw Sprint Special (No M)
July 5, 2009 Rain Date 3:00PM
July 11, 2009 Agassiz Insurance Midseason Championships(All Classes)
July 18, 2009 Wikstrom's Baker Cup Modified Special (No 4)
July 25, 2009 Border State Bank NOSA Outlaw Sprint Special (No MM)
August 1, 2009 Life Care Medical Center Regular Race (No PS)
August 15, 2009 Races Plus King of The Ring Car Demo(No 4, MS)
August 29, 2009 Regular Races (All Classes)
September 5, 2009 Midwest Modified Special $500 to win $100 to start(All Classes)
September 6, 2009 Track Championships Plus Powder Puffs & Mechanic Races(All Classes)
September 7, 2009 Rain Date 3:00PM
By Pastor Bob Ludwig
Someone once asked Joan of Arc why God spoke only to her. She responded, “Sir, you are wrong. God speaks to everyone. I just listen.”
When God spoke to Samuel, it was as he lay down quietly in the middle of the night. Even then, Samuel did not at first recognize that the voice belonged to God. He needed the wisdom of his experienced mentor, Eli, to understand who was communicating with him. But based on how often Samuel heard God’s voice as an adult, it’s clear that he did learn to identify, listen to and obey God’s voice.
We are often busy people and we can easily get caught up in the activity of our obligations. That’s why it’s important to set aside times to quiet ourselves and listen for God’s direction. We need to ask God to give us Samuel’s ear.
Breakfast with the Birds at Hayes Lake State Park
Submitted by Tammi Jaloweic
The public is invited to Hayes Lake State Park on Saturday, May 16, for "breakfast with the birds." Visitors are encouraged to come for breakfast and stay for a morning of bird watching.
The Friends of Hayes Lake will serve the campfire breakfast at the beach picnic shelter beginning at 8 a.m. The cost is $8, with proceeds going to future Friends of Hayes Lake group projects.
After breakfast, park staff will lead a guided birding tour, looking for a variety of species that have returned to the park for the season.
"Hayes Lake State Park is located on the western edge of Beltrami Island State Forest, which is a vast area of wilderness woodlands and boreal bog," explained Dean Holm, assistant park manager. "The park provides a transition from the forested area on the east to tall grass aspen parkland on the west, and thus includes a variety of bird habitats with excellent birding opportunities."
According to Holm, up to 16 breeding species of neotropical warblers can be found in the park. He said it is especially interesting to see the presence of nesting Connecticut warblers. Birders may also encounter boreal species, such as the spruce grouse, black-backed woodpecker, evening grosbeak and gray jay.
Reservations, which are required for this breakfast event, may be made by contacting Hayes Lake State Park at 218-425-7504.
A vehicle permit is required to enter the park. Daily permits are available for $5. An annual permit good for year-long access to all 72 of Minnesota's state parks and recreational areas is just $25. Permits are available at the park office.
The entrance to Hayes Lake State Park is located 15 miles south of Roseau on State Highway 89, then nine miles east on Roseau County Road 4.
For more information about the park or to download a bird checklist, visit www.mnstateparks.info.
For those who are wondering, I stopped by Danny Dybedahl’s place and snapped a couple of pictures of his potato wagon. As you can see, the potatoes are coming up nicely. He opened one of the doors to show me the root system. Will keep you posted...
Old Iron Section—Michigan loader resurrected
I sort-of convinced Trapper that removing the head was the next step. By this time he was certain that the thing would never emit its traditional Detroit scream again so he let me take it off. The offending cylinder was easy to find, it was half full of crud. I cleaned it up somewhat while Trapper used his trusty Stihl chainsaw to fashion a block of wood for me to pound on.
I put the block on top of the piston and started pounding. The first couple of blows with the sledgehammer gained nothing but I continued pounding and slowly the piston moved down into the bore, then started moving easier. The engine was unstuck. I cleaned up everything as best I could and Trapper ordered a head gasket set.
The head set came in but it was nearly winter so the project got shelved until the next spring. When I got back to it in early summer, the gasket set appeared to be minus some o-rings. I ordered another set and that one was short too, but by combining the parts I was able to put the head back on. It was fall with winter looming so the project was again shelved. The only thing I can figure about the missing parts is that this aluminum block 3-53 is different than a cast iron block model.
We started on the project again this spring. Trapper ordered the blower gaskets and I installed the blower after they arrived. Deciding the process had gone on long enough, I started working on it one morning with the intention of not stopping until it was making noise.
Everything in sight got bolted back on in the appropriate place but the battery wouldn’t take a charge. I hooked up a couple of other batteries but the solenoid wouldn’t work properly. By using a couple of screwdrivers, I could get the starter to engage and turn the three cylinder brute over.
Trapper was still less than confident in the endeavor, especially when the engine would fire but not start. The throttle didn’t seem to be working properly so I removed the valve cover and found that one of the injector metering rods was stuck. By removing the injector holder, I could tap the rod back and forth and it loosened up, but other duties called. I had to leave the project to go watch Valeri perform at a the spring choir concert.
I returned back home after the program, put everything back together and did my dual screwdriver trick on the solenoid. This time, it started up and filled the yard with its Detroit warble. Trapper was over at the neighbors so he didn’t get to hear it until he returned. It ran clean with no smoke so the engine is still in good shape.
The hydraulics and transmission worked and with Trapper’s 3020 helping, we got it moved out of the deep tire depressions it had formed over the years.
Trapper bought a new battery and ordered a solenoid for the starter so we should be scooping manure with it when the lot dries out. If you hear a Detroit screaming when driving by Roseen’s Corner, it’ll probably be the Michigan in action.
Heading to the Fields
The weather hasn’t been cooperating particularly well but there has been some activity in the fields. In Falun township, the Millers have started planting a field on the ridge. Most of the rest of the farmers are just waiting it out, aside from the occasional horse farmer. North of Roseau, water still covers a good share of the tillable ground since the river is over the banks. The weather is forecast to be cool, snow flurries are even being predicted. Pastures and the bluegrass fields are greening as well as the lawns, so one assumes summer actually is on the way..
Hopefully, none of the visiting anglers will mistake the expanse of water north of Roseau for a lake and start their 2009 fishing season on a field this weekend.
Picture of the Week
Where are the skull and horse collars located? If you like flat Italian food, you’ve probably been here.
Last week’s little prayer chapel is located at 220th Street and 430th Ave on County 21. Locals say that it is the steeple of the church that once stood there.