RED RIVER VALLEY KERNELS

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Norwegian sawmill at the Elden Museum near Oslo, Minnesota. Courtesy of Alf Elden Oslo, Minnesota 56744
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Norwegian sawmill at the Elden Museum near Oslo, Minnesota. Courtesy of Alf Elden Oslo, Minnesota 56744
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At the second annual Red River Steam Threshing Bee near Oslo, Minnesota in 1956.Courtesy of Alf Elden Oslo, Minnesota 56744

Oslo, Minnesota

Here we go again, just had another near record breaking
snowstorm starting late in evening of April 16 lightning and
thunder with winds as high as 63 m. p. h. reported from Fargo, N.
Dak., with many telephone and power lines down in several
communities. Here we had some snow fall and drifting snow most of
the day of the 17th and about 12 inches of wet snow fell in all. As
far as I know this the biggest snowfall in one storm this late in
the season in fifty seven year. There was no school at Oslo for two
days as the buses could not get through the snow. The five day
weather forecast is for some rain and temperature 12 to 15 degrees
below normal, so it sounds like we will have winter around for a
while yet. We have been having cold, wet and late spring here for
many years in a row, makes one wonder if we are approaching another
Ice Age! The last one was ten thousand years ago.

I plan on telling about some happening or some incident taking
place in every year since I was born, I already wrote about the
year 1900 before.

In the year 1901 the schoolhouse whore I went to school was
built in a newly organized district, which now has been dissolved
many years ago, and taken over by town district. The building was
sold to a farmer, moved away and is now used as a pig house, so
they must be raising educated pigs in the old schoolhouse. The Oak
Park town hall was built in 1901, and is still in use. Warren,
Minn, was flooded at one time in the summer of the same year, on
account of unusual heavy rains, at that time they had wooden
sidewalks and they were floating in the water. Some of our
neighbors along Snake river, a mile East of my home place brought
their cattle over in our pasture because of the flood along the
river, so they came over morning and evening to milk their cows. My
old home place is on a little higher ground so it never gets
flooded.

For the year 1902 the only thing I could find was the number of
bushels grain threshed at home, 753 bu, wheat, 205 bu. barley and
434 bu. oats.

I remember my 3rd. birthday in 1903 my grandma gave me a nice
looking tin cup with flower design etched on the outside. Work was
started that year on a big drainage ditch 4 miles South from home,
this ditch runs West, emptying into Red River Two Reeves steamers
pulling elevator graders were used to take out the top few feet in
the ditch. I believe Ed. Farder, one of my wife’s uncles was
operating one of the engines pulling graders. The following year
the ditch was dug to it’s full depth with a floating steam
dredge. I think Karelius Mortenson threshed for my father that
year.

1904 I remember hearing the rumble and noise from the dredge
working in the ditch, on quiet summer evenings. My brother Ole made
a weather vane in the shape of an arrow, he set it up on the roof
of the woodshed, it stayed there for 7 years. There was a school
picnic that summer at home on the ‘South forty’ which was
at that time used for pasture, and partly covered by poplar
thickets, willow brush, hazel nut and gooseberry bushed, wild plum,
chokecherry and a few June berry trees and some strawberries. There
were also some oak trees and only one lone ash tree. The best thing
about the school picnics in those days was the homemade ice cream.
Andres Skog threshed for us in 1904.

My father told about threshing in one of the early years shortly
after he started farming at home. One fall there was a Negro who
had a steam threshing rig so he had him thresh his crop. There were
very few machines around in those days and it probably was a wet
fall so they kept going till it was almost full winter and had to
shovel may not have been in too perfect a shape, and the air being
so cold, that a small steam leak would make a little cloud of
vapor, and it seemed like there was steam escaping many places,
Anyway my father said sometimes it was hard to see anyone for steam
and smoke!

Then there was the man who went to see his doctor, the doctor
asked him what seemed to be his trouble, he said oh, I have a
headache, my stomach hurls, I have pains in my chest and also a
backache, and my legs are hurting me. And then I don’t feel too
good myself either.

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