Select Summer and Fall 2009 Southwest Angle Articles and Columns 

Incredulous RobHere are the some of the articles from late summer and fall of 2009. The schedule didn't permit getting done all I wanted to, so these were the only ones that made it to the web.

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Southwest Angle  

by Rob Crowe

August 29, 2009

No summer is complete without a trip to Hayes Lake State Park. While almost any other State Park could fill the bill, Hayes is closest. On a recent Saturday afternoon, Management didn’t have anything else on the docket and we actually had enough gas in Dick’s Buick, the only vehicle with the valuable State Park sticker, to make the round trip, so we went.  

     A must for a Crowe family excursion to a State Park are bicycles so, using some leftover twine from the recent baling project, I tied four of them on the trunk luggage rack. As usual, it was a beautiful drive through the fields, forests and rolling terrain to Hayes...well, two out of three ain’t bad and there was a dip for the Roseau River and a slight hill as we drove east on County 4 to the park.

Management had recently received an e-mail from one of our Hill City friends, Pat Janssen, saying that her brother was a Park Ranger at Hayes. We drove up to the Park office and Management and I walked in. Seated at the desk was a dark haired fellow that looked like an older version of Pat’s son Daniel.

We asked, “Are you Pat’s brother?”

He said, “Are you the Crowes?”

Pat must have warned him we might be coming. Pat’s brother’s is Wes Johnson, and he works as a Ranger on summer weekends. His other job is working as an industrial arts instructor for Kittson County Central School. After a short conversation, we headed over to the beach and sent the two Little Girls we had along into the cold water for a swim and then had a picnic supper.

Wes rode his bike down and we had a nice talk. He’s an interesting guy.  After a good conversation, he moved on to other responsibilities and we cleaned up our stuff from the picnic table and eventually headed down the trail to the dam with our bikes.

It was a beautiful evening as seen by the sunset picture I was able to get. The mosquitoes may have been out,but weren’t a nuisance this time. We cycled across the dam and down to the woods, and turned back, re-crossing the dam and stopping at the information sign to re-acquaint ourselves with the bunch of information available there.

I was again impressed with the work that went into making the dam and lake. The thought and effort that went into extending the outflow pipe to the bottom of the lake to prevent winterkill is also impressive. I like to see things done right. It is a great facility to have so close; unfortunately we don’t use it often enough.

Good things all come to an end, so we pedaled back to the Buick, twined the bikes back on, loaded the Little Girls up and headed back to Roseen’s Corner.

The next morning we headed to church and then an auction at the fairgrounds. There was lots of stuff there. I was tempted to buy Management a new washing machine but couldn’t choose between the two pictured models. Management had the same problem, I’m sure, since she bought neither of the snowmobiles I was eying up. There were supposed to have been numerous vintage snowmobiles at the sale, but they didn’t show up. One of the pair seen in the photo could have been loosely termed as a vintage, but in stellar condition it was not.

The crusty old Norsk, Orlin Ostby,  was in attendance, but he didn’t buy much either. He was going to buy a motorized skateboard for son Christopher, but, as usual, got talking to someone and missed it. Better luck next time.

To cap off the weekend, I drug the propane grill out of the garage and fired it up to grill some lake trout. Trapper must have had felt sorry for me for missing Whitefish this year so had given me one of the lunkers he’d hauled in up on the Bay. It had been in the freezer most of the summer so Management dragged it out and thawed it for most of the afternoon. I filleted it out and managed to do a satisfactory job of grilling it, at least Management and the Little Girls liked it but they were about starving at 9:00 pm when I finally got the half ton or so of fillets done.

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


 Tractor Quiz:

It’s time. By popular demand. Time for another tractor quiz.  This time, I’ve decided to take the Scandahovian approach by usin a pair of popular characters. While the characters are almost entirely fictional, the tractors are not.Warning: this is not an easy quiz.

     Ole Hedlund and Sven Wensloff are neighbors, but, as you know, the Hedlunds and Wensloffs are always feuding. This isn’t quite the scale of the Hatfields and McCoys, but as close as it gets in Roseau county. Their sons and daughters regularly play against each other in the annual Hedlund vs Wensloff hockey bash to settle their differences for the year.

     Each of the farmers has four tractors. Ole has one brand of tractor, and Sven has another. The letter designations are the same. Each has a B, H, M and an A. Ole’s tractors share similar engine/ transmission configurations, but one of Sven’s has a different engine/trans configuration than the other three and the belt pulley on another turns in the opposite direction from the others of the same configuration. Ole’s tractors have exactly twice as many cylinders as Sven’s.

All the tractors have single letter designations, the model letters are not preceded by an S or  anteceded (followed) by a T or D. Where possible, the tractors are all gasoline models. This quiz uses for its reference the Nebraska Tractor Tests manual by C. H Wendell.

1. What color are Sven’s tractors?
A.  Red
B. Yellow
C. Orange
D. Green

2. Which of the tractors for sure have wide fronts?
A. Ole’s A and Sven’s M
B. Sven’s A and Ole’s M
C. Sven’s M and Ole’s M
D. Ole’s M and Sven’s H

3. Which of Sven’s tractors has a different engine/transmission configuration than his others?
A. The  A
B. The B
C. The M
D. The H

4. Which tractor is most probably, with an upgrade, able to pull a four bottom plow come fall plowing time?
A. Ole’s A
B. Ole’s M
C. Sven’s A
D. Sven’s M

5. Every once in a while, Sven and Ole get into an argument, and, to settle the argument, meet at their common fence line and hook their most equally powered and weighted tractors back to back and go at it. Which tractors will they be using?

A. Ole’s M and Sven’s A
B. Ole’s A and Sven’s A
C. Ole’s Hand Sven’s B
D. Ole’s B and Sven’s B

6. Which tractor has the engine and transmission mounted to the left side of the tractor?
A. Ole’s M
B. Ole’s A
C. Sven’s H
D. Sven’s M

7. Which Tractor has the operator seated on the right hand side of the tractor?
A. Ole’s B
B. Ole’s A
C. Sven’s H
D. Sven’s M

8. While most of these tractors had distillate versions, which of the tractors has a true diesel version available?
A. Ole’s A
B. Sven’s H
C. Ole’s M
D. Sven’s M

9. Whose group of tractors has the most cubic inch displacement?
A. Ole’s
B. Sven’s
C. They are equal

10. Whose group of tractors has the most stock horsepower according to the Nebraska tests for gasoline models, where applicable?
A. Ole’s
B. Sven’s
C. They are equal

11. Which of Sven’s tractors has a belt pulley turning the opposite direction than the others of similar configuration?
A. The  A
B. The B
C. The M
D. The H

12. Why does this belt pulley on Sven’s tractor turn in the opposite direction?
A. The engineers screwed up on designing the bevel gears, and, it being wartime, no improvements were allowed.
B. The engine turns in the opposite direction.
C. The belt pulley is installed under the seat in the back.
D. The belt pulley is installed on the camshaft instead of the crankshaft.

13. Which tractor was never tested at Nebraska with a gasoline only engine?
A. Ole’s A
B. Sven’s H
C. Ole’s M
D. Sven’s M

14. Which two tractors have identical engines?
A. Sven’s A and B
B. Sven’s M and H
C. Ole’s M and H
D. Ole’s A and B

15. Which tractor was never tested as a distillate or all- fuel version at the Nebraska tests?
A. Ole’s A
B. Sven’s H
C. Ole’s M
D. Sven’s M



Southwest Angle  

by Rob Crowe

August 22, 2009

girlsMy two previous trips to the Flawk to the Hawk have been solo affairs, but this year I had the pleasure of taking three of my beauties along. I’d have had four, but Katelyn had stayed in Breezy Point with the relatives. Valeri hadn’t broken her arm yet. It was a beautiful day and we loaded into the Chevy pickup for the trip since we had to pull the baler back home from the haying project.

The girls seemed to enjoy the show, sticking with me for most of the time as I wandered through the  Chevys, other GM’s, Fords and Mopars with a sprinkling of imports lined along the drive. Management stopped to talk to Billie-Rae Henkemeyer, one of the stars of last year’s Annie production.  She was there taking in the show with her dad. The local law enforcement personnel were on the grounds for most of the duration of our visit, so the impromptu burnouts on Highway 11 were in remission, to start up again when all was clear.

I will eventually enter one of my projects in one of these shows, but I didn’t see a category for re-made riding mowers or homebuilt 4-wheelers.  The old F-150 is a ways from pristine and the Crown Vic is still screaming deer kill so it’ll be a while.

muralI loved the Model A pickup so it figured prominently in many of my pictures. The girls really liked the mural on the front of the front of Dave Manthey’s Dodge Ram. I’d have taken the Boss 429 home, but didn’t have room for it so it went back to The Shed. Alyssa stopped to examine the bullet holes on Scott Ostroski’s Model T Rod. The sunny weather enabled the taking of several good reflective pictures on motorcycle case covers and a hubcap.

As can be expected, I did pick a favorite car at the show. The competition was fierce but the yellow Plymouth Cranbrook ornamentconvertible owned by Glen Simpson caught my eye early and kept it. I did glance at the Model T pickup a couple of times, and the 455 powered Nash is certainly unique, but the Cranbrook is so well done, plus, the first car I really remember my Dad owning was a 1953 Plymouth. The Mayflower hood ornament brings back some memories. As usual, there is no trophy or monetary prize, but the winner can clip the article and post it, somewhere…

After chatting with Dave Bzdok and Bob Marvin a bit, I rounded up the girls and headed out to ClearRiver to tow the baler. After we arrived at Chad’s place and hooked up the baler, we looked up Chad. He was in the house, recuperating. He’d just changed the location of his pig pen, and it hadn’t gone quite as planned. The pigs got loose and he’d spent a couple of hours trying to re-pen them. On top of that, they were rooting up the ground in the new pen. We watched for a bit and it’s amazing to see the excavation power in a pig’s snout.

Always interesting things to see and do here.

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


Southwest Angle  

by Rob Crowe

August 15, 2009

     This issue of the Southwest Angle is a bit late to reach the readers, for a couple of different reasons. The first is that my printers all decided to quit printing, necessitating the repair of the laser printer and the scrapping of several inkjets due to their unreliability.

    valeri The second reason is that daughter Valeri fell off Amber the Horse on Tuesday, breaking her left arm just above the elbow. The local doctor sent us to Grand Forks since the break was in a very bad spot and surgery was needed. We ended up staying overnight with Valeri in her hospital room and coming back the next day. Scratch another two days off the writing schedule. Valeri is recuperating, but slowly.

On to other things. It’s been a rough time for the Warroad Dairy Queen Coffee Crew. I made a rare trip there recently to deliver some newspapers and hopefully get some free ice cream for the Little Girls, only to find a couple of empty chairs where some of the regulars usually sit. The crew there was pretty shell shocked. They told me that Blackie Lien had died the night before and Bill Marvin was absent for medical reasons.

I’d been planning on doing an article on Blackie since he’d just been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown. He’d showed me his plaque a couple of weeks ago, but I hadn’t had my camera along to take a picture.

His plaque named him as a Boston Red Sox, and the guys at the Dairy Queen would boast that Blackie was the pitcher that taught Roger Maris how to hit while both played on a Red Sox farm team, and thus was the reason Maris held the home run crown for so many years.

Blackie would smile when the guys kidded him, but didn’t say much.

Dick Roberts did buy sundaes for the assembled that day, in celebration of 62 years of marriage to his lovely wife Marty.

As I write this, Bill Marvin is back in town, but Blackie will be sorely missed. (Note: Bill marvin passed away on Monday, August 31st, 2009,shortly after his 92nd birthday. He also will be sorely missed)turnip in bucket

I  completed the repair of the John Deere 3010 the week after the Lake of the Woods Tractor Pull, and, thank God, the hydraulic leaks stopped. With the 3010 back in service, it was time to put up a little hay. Chad Thompson had a little field over in Clear River that needed cutting, so I moved the equipment over there and started that job. As usual, things didn’t go quite as planned, but that’s a story for another issue.

The garden has  been producing pretty well. I picked a couple of turnips to take along on our recent trip south to see the relatives. I knew a couple of them were pretty big, but the accompanying picture shows one of them nearly filling a five quart ice cream pail. I peeled and sliced up the turnip; it filled a dinner plate.  Most of the family members in attendance tried eating the turnip and liked it. Healthy eating, I call it, and the plateful lasted about a day.

turnip on plateI missed taking the old A to the tractor pull at East Grand Forks, but sometimes one must do the best thing for the family. Management has promised that I can compete at Newfolden on September 12th, so I’m greatly anticipating that weekend.

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



Remembering Loren (Blackie) Lien


blackieHe could be seen most every morning at 10:00 am at the Dairy Queen in Warroad, sitting quietly by the post and occasionally taking in the conversation. The guys would kid him about his baseball career; “he was the pitcher who taught Roger Maris how to hit,” they’d say. Blackie would smile, enjoying the gentle ribbing. Recently, after his trip to Cooperstown, he brought in the plaque from his induction in the Baseball Hall of Fame for attending games at all of the Major League Baseball fields. The plaque was suitably admired by the day’s attendees.  

He would also often be seen driving around town with his little red S-10 or parking at the Point to watch the goings on. He obviously loved his town and being with his friends.

Blackie died on Tuesday, August 11, 2009 at the Merit Care in Fargo due to complications from a recent surgery. He died peacefully with his family by his side.

While not a Warroad native, Blackie was a long time area resident. He was born in Wahpeton, ND and grew up in Fargo, graduating from Central High School.

Blackie came to Warroad in 1951 and played with the Warroad Muskies in 1951-52. He was signed by the Boston Red Sox after the state amateur baseball tournament in 1952. He played for a Sox farm team for one year before being drafted by the U. S. Army. Following his Army service, he came back to Warroad and worked at Fish Electric.

Blackie married Nancy Zaizer on August 10, 1962 in Warroad. In 1963 he went to work for Dale Erickson and in 1964 became partners in E & L Electric. Blackie and Nancy made their home in Williams from 1963 to 1975. They moved back to Warroad in 1975 where they have resided since.

Blackie was a member of the American Legion, served on the Legion board, the Light and Power commission and the Arena Board. He was very active with American Legion Baseball, coaching for a few years and coordinating for the baseball team. 

Blackie was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, David.

Survivors include his wife, Nancy of Warroad; his children, Thomas (Heidi) Lien of Warroad, Roger Lien of Warroad, Debra Lien of Valley City, ND; Jack (Kristi) Lien of Warroad and Gregory (Missy) Lien of Warroad; his grandchildren, Giles, Tori, Olivia, Kyler, Kailey, Conner and Parker.ball player

pitcher(Much of this article and the pictures are courtesy of Nancy Lien)


Southwest Angle  

by Rob Crowe

August 8, 2009

I promised a full report on the Lake of the Woods Tractor Pull, and here it is. First, you may or may not want to know this, but the Chevy did a respectable job pulling the old John Deere over to the Lake of the Woods Steam and Gas Engine Show. I’d done some major improvements to the tractor, like adding some air to the rear tires, changing the oil and raising the hitch with a piece of scrap metal and an old chain. I even have my own clevis this year so I don’t have to borrow Pullmaster Dave’s. I was ready to do some major pulling.

     We pulled into the grounds at the show and Steve LaDuke checked us in, just like last year. Some things don’t change. After parking in the pit area, Katelyn and I  walked over to the exhibit building to register. Pullmaster Dave Tucker registered us in the 5500 lb Improved class. I qualify for the Out of Field class, but no one else was entered so I had to pull with the regular tractor pullers.  

About that time the parade started so we watched the old tractors and trucks wheel by. As the steam whistle demonstration started, we headed back to the pulling track to prepare for battle. I unloaded the tractor and drove across the scale, a bit underweight but OK, so I left things as they were. We could see a rainstorm coming, but the Pullmaster assured us that this was a rain or shine event so the pulling commenced.

I unhooked the Chevy from the trailer and parked it by the track so we could watch and take pictures in the dry.  It rained for the first couple of contestants, but then the rain stopped. Soon it was my turn to pull, so I backed up to the weight transfer machine, picturewas hooked up and given the green flag. I headed down the track with the old Deere.  

The old A pulled pretty well, but at 150 feet or so, started heading to the right a bit and lifted the front wheels. The flagman didn’t like how close the nose of the Deere was to the stratosphere so waved the red flag when I was at 170.5 ft. My run was over, about 20 ft short of winning the pull. Maybe next time; at least I was quite a bit more in contention this year.  

Though the crowd was sparse, it was a good pull. One contestant, Shawn Heller from Grandin, ND, put on quite a show. He first made a solo run in the 6500 lb Improved class, then spent about a half hour bolting and hanging a ton of weight on his Minneapolis Moline U before heading down the trackpicture to clean house with a win in the 8500 lb Improved class. He’d have gone a bit farther, but hit a rut that one of the other competitors made and stopped, three feet to the good, to win.

After the pull, Katelyn and I walked around and enjoyed looking at the exhibits and displays. Katelyn bought an old watch and I bought popcorn and pop. The pig roast wasn’t until later, so we loaded up and headed home, with a pit stop at the Warroad Dairy Queen for supper.

The next near Tractor Pull is at Newfolden in the middle of September, so, hopefully, I’ll have time to fabricate a weight holder for the front of the tractor. A bit more weight out there should help keep the nose down to avoid another premature stop. 

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


Lake of the Woods Antique Tractor Pull 2009




Dave Tucker            East Grand Forks              AllisWC            149.19

Mark Engen             Warroad                            AllisWC            128


Dave Tucker            East Grand Forks              AllisWC            153.97

Craig Gunderson       Bathgate                            J D B              150.81


Carson Martin             Hamilton                    Oliver 88            194.43

Craig Gunderson         Bathgate                       J D B               148.81


Dane Wiskow             Greenbush                    J D A                 167.92

Carson Martin             Hamilton                     Oliver 88             160.83

Dennis Wiskow         Greenbush                     AR J D             160.43

Craig Gunderson         Bathgate                     J D B                 145.03


Dane Wiskow             Greenbush                     J D A               190.26

Carson Martin             Hamilton                     Oliver 88             188.65

Dennis Wiskow         Greenbush                     J D AR                188.26

Rob Crowe                 Roseau                         J D A                 170.46


Shawn Heller             Grandin, ND                 MMU                 200.21


Shawn Heller             Grandin, ND                 MMU                 221.63

Carson Martin             Hamilton                     G705 MM           217.39

Darren Wetzel             Argusville                     820 J D              201.82

Len Vonasek         East Grand Forks             G-6 MM             198.43


Len Vonasek         East Grand Forks             G-6 MM             275.34

Carson Martin             Hamilton                    G 705 MM           271.1

Darren Wetzel            Argusville                    820 J D                265.86


Len Vonasek           East Grand Forks            MM G-6             270.18

Results courtesy of the Northern Pullers



Southwest Angle  

by Rob Crowe

August 1, 2009

Ever since hearing about the Grygla elk herd, I’ve always wanted to at least get a glimpse of them. I didn’t imagine I’d be involved in a bit of drama like I was in the story on the story below, but, as my card shark friends say, sometimes you just have to play the hand that’s dealt to you. 

     This edition of the Southwest Angle News and Views is devoted to mostly finishing out the Roseau County Fair Coverage. There are still many 4-H winners to be listed, however, I’m running out of room in this little newspaper so will scrunch them into later editions as I have room.

     I know you are all breathlessly waiting for an update on the garden, so here goes. The weeds are doing very well, thank you. I also have plenty of bulk in my diet since thinning the turnips and picking the broccoli is a daily task. Sometimes the turnips do make it to the table for the rest of the eaters, but not often. The corn is tall, but losing its rich green color so another dose of fertilizer is in order. The peas are ripening and a couple of watermelon are visible. Unfortunately, the rest of the hill plants don’t look as productive as the zucchini that I planted in a weak moment. It looks like I’ll be looking for places to stash them, so lock your cars if you don’t want any… Only one cucumber so far but we have lots of green tomatoes and the potatoes look pretty good. We dug some hills for the girls’ fair projects and they were good eating after we brought them home. It’s a chore to keep the Little Girls from picking the meager row or so of carrots so they can grow into something worth putting on the table. The garden may not look like much to the experienced gardener, but it is the best I’ve had in a long time for variety and yield, which speaks volumes about my lack of gardening ability.

pictureSpeaking of potatoes, the other night Danny Dybedahl brought me a bag of potatoes and the accompanying picture of the potatoes from his potato wagon. He harvested several meals from the wagon and the last harvest was about two ice cream buckets of the reds. He was pretty pleased with the results of his experiment. We’ll verify that they were also pretty tasty when Management cooked them up over here.

Back at Roseen’s Corner, the repair projects are piling up, as usual. I went to use the 3010 John Deere and started it up but it was leaking oil from the hydraulic pump at a great rate. Ipicture pulled it over to the garage and cut out some of the metal enclosing the top of the pump. With that removed, I could see that the leak was in the top front of the pump. Replacing  the O-rings in the relief valves on the top of the pump made no difference. Removal of the pump requires removing the front axle, so...I had to clean out the garage stall so I could work on the  3010 protected from the rain squalls. 

I eventually finished the cleaning task and backed the tractor in, jacked it up, slid in two jackstands and removed the front axle. I removed the front plate off the pump and saw there were eleven old, squished o-rings, any one which could have been the leak. I called my friends over at Holte Implement in Baudette and was assured that they do, in fact, stock o-ring kits for the 47 year old tractor. Friday morning saw me parked in their lot and $70.00+ later, I had enough o-rings and then some to fix my tractor. 

Finishing the repairs had to wait, the Lake of the Woods Steam and Gas Show and Tractor Pull was Saturday, so...the Chevy was hooked up to the trailer and the old John Deere A loaded up for another attempt at tractor pulling. Katelyn was my helper for the day; expect a full report in the next issue.

Another week in the Great North, see you next weekpicture

Grygla Elk Sighting


On a recent trip to Longville on a Monday morning to deliver a child to Bible Camp, I happened to see a couple of large animals running across a field north of Grygla. I quickly braked the car and made a u-turn, figuring I finally had a chance to see the Grygla elk herd. I also hit the switch on  the camera since I’d always wanted a picture of the elk. As I neared the spot I’d seen the elk, they crossed the road in full flight. I took a couple of pictures and then looked to the east to see what caused the elk to be in such a hurry.

I was somewhat surprised to see two timber wolves loping down the field through the second crop alfalfa. Seeing the car, they stopped and split up, one meandered north and the other one south. I took some pictures of them, however at the distance, the six power zoom couldn’t get me a clear picture.


So much for the hype by the timber wolf protagonists that they only prey on the weak and diseased. These elk showed no sign of being weak or lame. They stopped in the field on the west side of the road and turned to watch the car and, I assume, see if the wolves were still in pursuit.

I soon turned around and resumed my trip south. I saw the rest of the elk herd about a mile or so south of this place, on the west side of the road south of the S curve.

  It was quite an experience for my  first look at the Grygla elk herd.