July 14th………..“DID YOU HAVE A NEARBY FARMER WHO WAS MORE FAMILY THAN JUST NEIGHBOR”?
POEM – “Harry B. n Me”. Created by N. Elliott Noorlun. January 28th, 2013. Sharing here about our jovial and giant-hearted farm neighbor, Harry Bauman. This dear soul of a man was beyond generous to our farm family over the many decades we knew him. And laugh? Ohhh myyy could Harry EVER laugh!!! His whole body would shake with joy in his laughter to the point he’d have to grab his big bandana handkerchief to blow his nose and wipe the laughing tears from his eyes. We loved him dearly!!! 😉
July 13th…….”WHAT WAS THE TALL ROUND THING NEXT TO YOUR FAMILY BARN THAT WE SAW IN SOME OLD PHOTO? WHAT WAS ITS PURPOSE ON YOUR FARM”??
That stationary sentinel stood sky-high and stoic in all of its immense concrete wonder!!! For well over three quarters of a century, our enormous silo stood in silent salute to seeing that generations of our animals had ground up corn safely stored up for them to eat during the harsh winters there on our family farm in south central Minnesota.
The very word, “silo”, itself comes from the ancient Greek language and stands for “a pit to store corn or grain”. Our handsome “pit” was vertical in nature and had been built well before the turn of the century (before the year 1900) by an ingenious scaffolding and crane system that grew up in the center of the area what would be the new silo. Each vertical cement stave (“stave” is a long block of material) by cement stave was lifted to the edge of the silo and mortared in place. With each layer of staves settled into their destiny, a giant iron hoop would then be placed over the stave joints and a tightening turnbuckle was cranked down tight to reinforce each “story” of the silo as it grew towards the sky. Some farms had domed roofs over their silos, but, for some reason lost to history, our silo was open to the sky.
To the north side of our silo was a vertical tunnel that encased numerous doors that doubled as ladder rungs for climbing to the very top of this dizzying “mountain” of concrete. Being the little adventurer I was, at that young age, I loved climbing higher and higher in that tunnel of ladder/doors, while listening to the howling winter winds buffeting the protective tunnel that encased me at those wuthering heights. At the high, windy top of the silo, I would climb through the topmost open door and begin my daily task of using a large, twelve-tine silage fork to begin tossing down the chopped, green corn (that we called silage) to the far, far floor below of the barn’s Silage Room for feeding our animals that morning or evening.
Still turgid, in its chlorophyll-green glory, our father set aside a certain percentage of his corn crop each year for the purpose of creating this juicy, corn delight for his livestock to enjoy later in the frigid seasons that would be upon us in Fall and Winter. Since very few farmers could afford to purchase their own set of forage gathering equipment, our family would hire out this operation to one or more farmers who did have such mechanical wonders at their disposal. A pull-behind “Forage Harvester” (chopper) was hooked up to a tractor that drew this assembly down each corn row as it gobbled up cornstalks and chopped them into tiny pieces that was then fired into what’s called a “Silage Wagon”.
The “Silage Wagon” had a covered roof, for this fine material to stay in place, and, at the front, had two upper rows of churning teeth and a sideways conveyor belt that would be used to offload its green cargo when it arrived at the silo.
Back at the silo itself, there was a “Forage Blower” snuggled up to the wall of the silo with its cloud-reaching filler tube extended to the highest edge of the silo’s wall with a curved spout hooked over that edge and was now aimed down into the silo’s cavernous, empty tube hollow below. The blower, whose Power Take Off (PTO) linkage arm was hooked up to a tractor was just waiting for the silage load to arrive.
Laboring up the incline to our yard, a tractor pulled it’s bulging, green load of cow yummies right up alongside the blower and dropped it’s side auger chute to the blower below. Someone aboard the “Blower” tractor, brought the engine alive and pulled the engine throttle lever back to full speed. When the PTO clutch was engaged, the rotary fan blades inside the Forage Blower sounded like a jet engine revving up for “take off”!!! Next in line was the Silage Wagon’s PTO that was also engaged from its tractor and brought to life those churning teeth, the front conveyor belt and a forwarding conveyor system on the floor of the wagon that began to purge the wagon of her fragrant, green corn chips that augered nicely down into the blower and were fired up, up, up and over the top of our silo.
With every passing year, my little farmer boy body stood back in utter amazement and awe at the spectacle of power, ingenuity and creative mechanical genius that went into this farm operation that had been refined many times over, since the days of our forefather farmers in how to take green cornstalks, reduce them to a tiny size and shoot them sky-high into our handsome silo.
In the early winter evenings, with the silo at its full-to-the-brim capacity, I would ascend to the pinnacle of green silage silo “heaven” and gaze over the top edge of the silo to drink in the serene scene of snow-whitened farmlands that stretched out for miles in the illuminating full moon that reflected off of those sleeping fields. Magical was the setting before my young farmer boy eyes to experience this beauty in an almost daylight illumination; even though stars winked at me from God’s glorious heaven above me. I laid there on my back for the longest time and saw the purest starlight that could bedazzle this very happy Norwegian Farmer’s Son!!
July 12th………..POEM – “Scourge Dee Urge”. Created by N. Elliott Noorlun.
I can still hear my dear silly dad as he’d turn a social flumux to a case for laughter……..namely, the passing of gas. Sometimes, at our dinner table, he’d “let one go” and then spin in his chair to blame the imaginary “Darn Dogs!!! How did they get in here”??!! 😉 Add to this fun, the flavor of the “broken English” of our grandparent’s generation, with their Norwegian flavor of voice and you have today’s poem. Enjoy!
July 11th………...”IN YOUR GRADE SCHOOL DAYS, WERE YOU A “NEAT NIK NED” OR A “SLOBBERY SLOVENLY SAM”???
POEM – “Glee For Me”. Created by N. Elliott Noorlun. Not only did I love my 2nd Grade Teacher, Mrs. Baker, but I also loved being a Slobbery Slovenly Sam back in those school day years when it came to the textbook and paper mess under the lid of my classic old lift-top student desk.
Second Grade for me, Was a real blast,
As I ponder that teaching, Time from my past!
Though messy I was, T’was a glee for me,
When my teacher called out, Next textbook to see.
Mrs. Baker to the class, Said, “Bring out this book”!,
I’d tell her, “Well, Teacher, I’ll try to look”!,
It was mashed inside, My desk of steel,
So I’d have some fun, As I’d dig and feel,
While others had turned to, Page fifty three,
I was still in there diggin’, Experiencing glee!
For it’s not the destination, Far as I’m concerned,
Whoever had the mostest FUN!, Was the “badge” I just earned!! 😉
July 10th…………“DID YOUR FATHER DO ANY FARMING WITH HORSES? DID HE HAVE NAMES FOR THEM? WHAT WAS ONE OPERATION HE USED THE HORSES FOR”??
With princely, patriarchal pandiculation, our handsome farmer father sat on the edge of his bed that morning yawning himself awake. Wiping the sleep from his eyes, Russ could hear the lovely sound of Mourning Doves out in our surrounding “wind break” of trees. Their plaintive song of three or four descending “coos” filtered through the rustling curtains of our parent’s open bedroom window; allowing the Minnesota morning breezes to freshen our parents both fully awake.
Dad now heard his bride, Clarice, in the family Kitchen, next to their bedroom, getting some Folger’s coffee percolating to help them both approach another day there on our farm northwest of Kiester, Minnesota.
This was to be more than just an ordinary day in our rural livelihood, this was to be the day that our agrarian prince would take his handsome team of horses and hook them up to his two-row “Deere Rotary Drop Planter” (also known as a “check row” planter) for planting our new corn crop.
Although this device only planted two rows of corn at a time, it was still a major improvement over the old hand-operated corn planter of the days gone by.
Our equine Belgian draft horse team of “King” and “Colonel” fluttered their soft, hirsute nostrils in greeting to Dad as he stepped into the barn that morning to see to their feeding while he mounted the fragrant leather harnessing onto their marbled, muscular backs.
With every rein threaded through its rings and every connecting clip snapped into place, it was time to take this muscled mass of horse flesh out of the barn and over to the corn planter to be hooked up and ready to work. Loose seed corn was now loaded into the two respective dispensing canisters onboard the planter and, with a gentle slap of the reins and an audial “GidUp!! King n Colonel”.…….the team was driven by our father out to the field that needed to be planted.
In the days before herbicides became chemically popular in agriculture, farmers found other ways to try to eliminate as many unwelcome weeds as possible from their fields. That’s what made this two-row planter, that Dad was using, special. Another descriptive term for this machine was a “Click Planter” and here’s why. A large spool of wire, with a wire “knot” tied every 40 inches, was played out for the length of the field you’re going to plant. The wire line was tethered, temporarily, by fence posts at each end of that row and then drawn taught. The wire “knot” line was then fed through a special set of guidance wheels on the planter. During the planting operation, as each “knot” came through the planter, a wire “knot” would pull back a switch lever that opened the “gate” of the planter’s dispensing canisters letting seed into the ground. As the “knot” went up and over the switch lever, the spring-loaded lever would CLICK back into place, thus, with that sound, came the supplemental term “click planter”.
With practice, upon completion of planting, the soon to emerge young corn plants were all now roughly 40 inches apart in all directions.
This way, when the young corn started its new life in our field, Dad could cultivate the weeds out of the field going north and south for one weeding pass. He then, could begin cultivating out the weeds with an east to west swathing that, at the end of the day, gave him a clean field of young corn, free from weeds. Planting and tilling the land was, without a doubt, hard work for our farmer father, but we were proud of Dad for his faithful tenacity in getting the job done for the entire family of this Norwegian Farmer’s Son. 😉
July 9th…………POEM – “A Planting Seasoned With Grace”. Created by N. Elliott Noorlun.
Granted, I have a “Norman Rockwell” outlook on the life God has given me and this is reflected in the stories and poems of my, overall, happy childhood during our farm days near Kiester, Minnesota.
In a grand sense, we are all “farmers” in that we knowingly, or unknowingly, “plant seeds” to those around us. Now, whether those “seeds” produce a positive or negative “crop” depends on the type of “seed” planted. Was it something positive? Or negative? This poem shares my heart goal of whatever I “plant”, may it be seasoned with His Grace. ><> 😉
If you come to my page, To be sad or in shock,
Or become so darn angry, You’d “clean someone’s clock”,
You’ll need to move on, From my happy face place,
For I choose my speech, To be seasoned with Grace.
Some folks seem to think, It’s their duty and chore,
To fill our eyesight, With such anger and gore,
Yet, none of it builds, And can never replace,
The beauty of love, That is seasoned with Grace.
I acquiesce, That there’s sadness around,
Just flip on the NEWS, Where it’s quick to be found,
But I’d rather “plant”, A smile on your face,
With stories and kindness, That are seasoned with Grace!!! ><> 😉
July 8th………“WHAT WAS YOUR MAIN SOURCE OF HEAT FOR YOUR FARM HOME NEAR KIESTER, MINNESOTA”?
Wild, withering, winter winds did their best to keep Dick Samples from skillfully guiding his Conoco-brand furnace oil fuel truck into our farm’s north, U-shaped driveway. As if a knight in chain-link armor, Dick’s version of waging this “battle” were chain-linked tire chains that surrounded those heavy-duty dualie tires on the backend of his impressive “International” tanker truck. With the lumbering weight of all that oil in his holding tank, Dick won the white battle as those chained tires churned through snowbanks at the driveway’s entrance and he made his way to our family’s oil holding tank.
Old Man Winter was not about to dim the spirits of this well-loved man of our Kiester community when it came to seeing that our farm family home had its rightful delivery of furnace-grade fuel oil for our in-house heater.
Dick was a seasoned Minnesotan and wisely dressed for the white tempest that blew around him while he carried out his business duties. A maleficent blast of ill wind had little effect on our friendly fuel oil man as he gallantly pulled a length of fuel dispensing hose from his truck to our furnace oil holding tank and filled it to the brim. Mom then invited Dick into the warm repose of our family Kitchen for a hot cup of coffee and a handful of cookies before allowing this good friend back out into the cold weather and his drive back to Kiester.
Throughout the 1940’s, 50’s and into the early 1960’s our home’s main source of heating was a free-standing oil furnace that sat in our Living Room like a monument to the goal of keeping our farm family cozy and warm while Jack Frost, and his icy cohorts, raged in frigid frenzies just outside our frost-coated windows.
Big brother, Lowell, recalled many a frozen morning when he’d jump out from under his warm, cozy quilts and into the below freezing temperatures of his upstairs bedroom. If there were an Olympic Record for pulling on winter clothes over his winter longjohns, Lowell would’ve gotten the gold medal, for sure. After getting dressed, our big brother made a beeline for his sister Rosie’s bedroom, next door, because that’s where the vertical vent/stove pipe came through the upstairs floor (on its way out the roof) from the family furnace below in the Living Room. Both Lowell and Rosie would give happy hugs to the almost too hot stove pipe to get themselves warm before they heard Mom call……..“Time for Breakfast”!!! down in our Kitchen.
As in any farm family, Lowell & Rosie (along with myself and Candi later on) had daily chores to carry out that taught responsibility and actively playing your part in the weave of the family unit of life.
One of those chores had to do with keeping the Living Room furnace reservoir full of oil, so, bundled up against the whiteness of winter that surrounded our abode, Lowell grabbed up his furnace oil refilling can and held his breath against the howling blast of arctic attack air that awaited him outside. With a young boy’s determination, Lowell dove out into the maelstrom and, plodding through snowdrifts, made it to the outdoor furnace fuel tank and filled his oil can. Once back inside our home, it was then time for brother to use the can’s narrow spout to very carefully fill the furnace reservoir for that day’s heat needs.
Our village of Kiester was so blessed, back in those fine days of yesteryear. When it came to fuel, whether it was home heating needs or gasoline and even diesel fuel for tractors or trucks, our community was proud to have at least three dealerships to meet our needs. Ervin Trytten supplied the Standard Oil company products, while Manville Meyer’s business was associated with the Deep Rock Oil Company.
Our town’s glory days had to do with the pleasant harmony of win/win equations that existed between a plethora of nearby family farms that, in turn, needed supplies that then kept a multiplicity of businesses thriving to meet those needs. The more family farms there were, the better the health of the overall community and its commercial well-being. There were so many “quilt blocks” of businesses that kept everyone warm under the blanket of local fellowship of like minds who worked together to make the magic of what made small town America so grand for this Norwegian Farmer’s Son!!! 😉
July 7th…………..POEM – “Watermelon Wisdom” created by N. Elliott Noorlun on November 28th, 2020.
It’s the Summer of 1947 and Grandfather Edwin Noorlun is enjoying some tasty watermelon with his family near Fosston, Minnesota. Splayed on the ground, near Grandpa Ed in this photo, are his son, Gaylord, granddaughter Lorraine, his eldest daughter, Ileen (in foreground) and daughter Lillian (to the right in glasses). In the distance you’ll find Grandma Marie is “hiding” in the shade. To the right is the sun-illuminated window of their home that still proudly displays a United States Blue Star Service Banner with two blue stars upon it; one for each of their sons who served in the U.S. Army during World War II (Doren and Erwin).
This is an acrostic poem where the beginning letter of each line will eventually spell the words…..WATERMELON WISDOM 😉
July 6th……….“DID YOUR HERD OF HOLSTEIN DAIRY COWS LIVE IN THE BARN ALL THE TIME YEAR ROUND? IF NOT, WHERE COULD THEY ROAM? HOW DID YOU GET THEM BACK FOR MILKING TIME IN THE EVENINGS”?
Ominous black clouds sounded out a glowering, grumbling guidon of the passing Summertime storm that had just visited the skies above our farm. This electrical weather event was a normalcy of this season in south central Minnesota.
As if playing a new game of peekaboo, the volatile, vertical lightning strikes now had been replaced by heat (or sheet) lightning that seemed to hide in the layered dimensions of the multi-grayed cloud banks. It was as if a sneaky paparazzo, with an old flashbulb attachment on his camera, was readying to sneak up on us for a candid photograph. As the mythical figure triggered his “flash”, there was, now and then, an occasional wide, expansive POOF of lightning in the cloud banks illuminating massive areas which revealed the cloud’s varied hues of subtle gray shadings while the ugliness of that weather system moved slowly off into the southeast horizon and any imminent danger left with it.
Now that the deadly fireworks in the sky had passed out of the area, the second act of God’s wonder in the skies was the arrival of the warmest rain this side of a childhood smile. The timing of the rain was ideal for a couple of reasons. #1. It was time for my daily afternoon trek down the gravel road to get our herd of Holstein cows for the evening milking from our pasture and #2. Our maternal Smith family cousins had come over that day to visit and were up for the adventure of getting the cows with me in the rain.
Cousins Brenda, Valerie and Deanna, along with my little sister, Candice, and myself ventured out the back porch screen door of our farm home and into the pelting drops of a heavenly rainfall that eventually drenched us all to the bone.
As the five of us sauntered down the descending elevation of our south, U-shaped driveway, tiny rivulets from God’s warm rain showers were beginning to follow gravity’s pull as the rain popped up in happy jumps upon the graveled surface of the ground.
Who needs umbrellas when the liquifying loveliness of the good Lord’s rain only required an occasional “windshield wiper” of your finger across a rain-laden forehead .
Being the chit-chatting cherub children that we were, our young cousin fellowship was enjoyed thoroughly as we walked down the countryside gravel road that paralleled our electric-fenced “cow lane”. After our almost 1/2 mile hike, we came to the pastureland that bordered Brush Creek at the south boundaries of our farm property. These happy Holsteins of ours could munch n crunch all day long on nutrient-rich grassland and, when thirsty, could drink gallons of water to their heart’s delight that ambled lazily along Brush Creek’s watery abode.
Upon arrival at the pasture, our soaked selves saw our dairy herd at a distance grazing happily through the vertical curtain of rain that didn’t seem to trouble them at all as they pulled up mouthfuls of green grasses that kept them well-nourished and their udders full of milk.
What came next was a practice that was centuries old, called “kulning” or “herd calling”. In our ancestral Norway, tending herds of cows usually came under the jurisdiction of farm wives or daughters. The ladies would conceive distinct songs which were created by each individual family to “sing” to their cows up in the mountain pastures. When a family’s bovines heard their special song sung to them, they then came towards the maiden making that calling sound and followed her back to their respective farm for milking and staying the night in the barn.
Instead of the traditional beauty of kulning, I was taught the simplistic version of herd calling that merely consisted of two song tones; one high and one low. In that warm, rainy afternoon, I cupped my hands on each side of my mouth, making a megaphone, of sorts, as I hollered…..“COME BOSS!!! COME BOSS!!! COME BOSS”!!! Pretty soon the senior ladies of the herd perked up their heads and began approaching my calling. They knew well that this human sound meant even tastier food was waiting for them up at our barn and that our father would milk them to relieve the pressure in their distended milk bags called udders. The younger cows soon learned, by their elder’s example, to follow along and, next thing you know, there was a long, black n white line of bovines exiting our pasture and making their way up the cow lane leading back to our livestock yard and the barn.
With the last “Harriet Holstein” now entering the cow lane, those black n white beauties were heading northwards with the rest of the herd. The five of us midget cow herders clamored down the ditch slope from the gravel road and ducked under the electric fence to follow the cows up the cow lane and to the livestock yard which led into the barn. With our warm heavenly showers having now ended, we enjoyed “Mr. Summer Sun” peeking out shyly from the clouds. We walked slow and peacefully behind the cows as the milk-laden udders of our Holsteins swayed poetically from side to side. I was taught early in my boyhood that you never chase or yell at the cows to make them run. For one thing, the heavy milk udders could be injured by aggressive slapping back and forth in the run and, for another reason, my farmer father would yell at me saying, “If you make those cows run so much, all I’ll get out of them is “cottage cheese”!!!! It was Dad’s facetious way of saying their milk could even be affected by making them run.
In a way, we midget herders that day saw the full circle of seeing our cows safely home during a heavenly rain to the point in time of Dad getting a Holstein “rain” (of milk, that is). It was a feeling of youthful accomplishment as we brought back to the farm yard the cows that belonged to the farmer father of this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.