RED RIVER VALLEY KERNELS

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Courtesy of Alf L. Elden, Oslo, Minnesota 16 Hp. Minnesota Giant Steamer, built about 1881.
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Courtesy of Alf L. Elden, Oslo, Minnesota This is the threshing machine described in Red River Valley Kernels.

Oslo, Minnesota

As I was mentioning in my previous column that we might have a
flood after that big snowstorm, and it did come, the third highest
in history according to the Grand Forks weather station. The next
higher was in the year 1882 and the very highest was 1897. The
water did not get into our buildings as we have a dyke built
encircling all the buildings. This was built in 1960. Our basement
was one of the few in this community that remained dry during the
flood, not even seepage. There was quite a little water in low
places inside the dike from the great amount of snow, so we pumped
a lot of that over the dike. We had to do some sand bagging in a
few low places on top of the dike or the water would have flowed
across. We also had to plug some pocket gopher holes as they had
tunneled thru, a distance of 20-30 feet.

Eight years ago this spring (1958) we, that is my wife Hulda and
three of our six children Irene, Karl and Ole and myself took a
trip to Norway and Sweden, driving our car to New York we went by
way of Enola, Pa., where we visited our good friends Elmer and Mrs.
Ritzman. After a delicious lunch, we headed for New York where we
arrived the next day, June 1st. On the 3rd., we left on the Liner
Oslofjord. Our car together with 20-30 others were loaded in the
hold of the same boat. Our first stop was Bergen, Norway June
10th., where we went ashore for a sightseeing trip of the city, and
out to the nearby Fana stave church and over to the home of the
famous music composer Edvard Greig, and also Greig and his
wife’s burial place in the side of a mountain. The next stop
was Stavanger, then Kristiansand, in both these towns we also were
a-shore looking around.

June 12th. our boat docked at Oslo, the end of our ocean trip,
so after getting our baggage and car unloaded and clearance papers
on the car we drove over to the Ansgar Mission Hotel, stayed there
3 days then started North on highway # 50 which leads from Oslo in
the South to the Northern part of the country – way North of the
Arctic Circle. After making several stops visiting with friends
a-long the road we arrived in Namsos, halfways North in Norway, 360
miles from Oslo. We made Namsos our headquarters as most of my
relatives in Norway are in that locality.

On July 1st., we filled the gas tank of our car with 46.3 liters
bensine which cost 50 crowns, and struck out for the Northern part
of Norway along Route # 50, scenery very beautiful and interesting,
passed thru Mosjoen, Moi Rana, crossed Salt Straumen and the
Saltfjel Mountains, came to the city of Bodo, drove to the top of a
mountain and saw the midnight sun. There was a parking area and a
restaurant where we had our supper after 12 o’clock in the
morning, the reason for our late supper was because we found no
eating place for a long ways before arriving in Bodo, and there we
first tried several hotels for lodging but no luck. Then we went to
a taxi office where they had a list of private homes who take in
tourists, so we got a place to stay in a nice new home. There were
many people from several countries on the mountain to see the
midnight sun, and as there is a lot of cloudy weather up North, we
were lucky to see at least part of the sun between clouds. While we
were on the Saltfiel Mountain, before coming to Bodo we crossed the
Polar Circle, (Pol Sirkel in Norwegian), there was snow patches
laying along the road, some places big drifts left of the
winter’s snow, and this was July 2nd. The sun was real warm but
cool in the shade.

After a day’s stay in Bodo we went North again. Along the
road we saw many farms where all the buildings had been burned down
by German soldiers in the second world war. When we came to Narvik
we saw the hulls of several boats and submarines in the shallow
water along the coast. There was heavy fighting at Narvik because
of it being an important seaport, and the Germans suffered heavy
losses. From Narvik we continued North to Sorreisa and over to the
home of Gotfred Gulbrandsen, who is a cousin to my wife’s
father.

Before leaving home I planned on trying to get hold of an
antique threshing machine, so here was one up in the hayloft of
Gulbrandsen’s barn, owned by four of his neighbors, so I went
over to one of the owners and asked if it might be for sale. He
said it was all right on his part and he would talk to the other 3
over the phone so I could come over the next day, so I went there
again he told me they all would sell the machine but they wanted
100 crowns for it which is $14, which I thought was very
reasonable. This machine was built about 1880 by Heinrich Lanz
Mannheim, Regensburg, Breslau Germany.

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