Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..June 17th


POEM – “Our Quilter’s Hands” created by N. Elliott Noorlun on the day of my mother’s death….. June 23rd, 2017. Through my flowing tears, on that sad day of Mom’s passing, I mused upon the beautiful fact that her very life was like the quilting that she had such a passion for during her tenure here on earth. So, I took the components of what goes into making a quilt and assigned them, symbolically, to illustrate Mom’s grand life among us.

Elliott’s mother, Clarice, enjoys quilting at her apartment.

Our quilter’s hands are silent now,

Life’s tapestry complete.

The embroidery of, Her 98 years,

Now lain at Jesus’ feet.

Elliott’s father, Russell, built this quilt frame.

Her quilting frame lays silent, too,

Just like her earthly frame.

No longer to hold, Its creator’s quilts,

That were “signed” with Clarice’s name.

Clarice displays one of countless baby quilts for her family and young, homeless mother’s that she made over the years.

Like a quilt, life happened, One stitch at a time,

Each color of thread just right.

And like a quilt, Mom made us warm,

As we’d bid each other “Good Night”!!

I’m sure that during, Her adventures of life,

A “stitch” maybe came undone.

But with the Lord’s power, She’d “stitch up life”,

And give her praise to God’s Son!!

It’s 1919, and Clarice sits on the lap of her beloved mother, Amanda.

The “frame” of her life, Began for Mom,

On a snowbound day in ’19.

The doctor came by horseback,

Across that blizzard scene.

Clarice (on left) and her cherished mother held a deep bond of love over their lifetime together.

The “batting” to make Mom’s life quilt warm,

Came from her mother so dear.

Amanda’s love, For little Clarice,

Was a weld that held them near!

Though times were hard, And sometimes sad,

Our mother rose above.

She strove for all, That’s fair and kind,

For within beat the heart of a dove.

The quilting “blocks” of Lowell (L), Elliott & Candice (center) and Rosemary (R).

Clarice’s life “quilt”, Grew “block by block”,

With her marriage to our dad.

And “blocks” of four children, Graced their life,

Two girls, a son and this lad.

That mother of ours, Had such a heart,

And for others she chose to live.

Therefore her quilts, Became a source,

Of love for her to give.

Family, friends, Young mothers in need,

Even homeless received her creation.

To know that a soul, Would sleep warm that night,

Gave our mother such sweet elation!!

The grass, on the right, is still trying to re-grow in after Clarice was laid to rest beside her beloved husband, Russell, in June of 2017. She was 98 years and 3 months old.

Though tears fill my eyes, Such joy fills my soul,

To have known and been loved by my mother!

Heaven knows this boy, Received immense joy,

Of her love that equaled no other! ><>

Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..June 16th

June 17th………POEM – “LITTLE DID I REALIZE” Created by N. Elliott Noorlun. On June 23rd, we will observe the 4th anniversary of our mother’s HomeGoing to Heaven. Traditionally, every March, we would travel home to the Pacific Northwest to celebrate Mom’s birthday. In March of 2017, “Little Did I Realize” that that would be the last time I would receive a farewell kiss from my mother here on earth. This poem reflects upon my musing of that parting kiss.

Here, in March of 2017, Elliott would receive what was to be his last kiss from his mother, Clarice. She died later that year on June 23rd at the age of 98 years and three months.

Little did I realize,

That that kiss was our last kiss,

The close embrace, The gentle hug,

Those treasures I would miss!!

Elliott getting lots of momma kisses in September of 1954.

The tender tenor, Of your life,

Your empathetic voice,

Seeking that which is fair for all,

Every breath sought godly choice.

Elliott, and his dear mother, Clarice, celebrate what was to be her last birthday luncheon along the Columbia River in March of 2017. In June, she passed into Heaven and reunited with their father, Russell.

Little did I know, Your span on earth,

Would be o’er just weeks away.

And if I could, I truly would,

Have begged Him for a stay.

Clarice enjoyed her hummingbirds that came to this feeder at her Senior apartment in Battle Ground, Washington from 1989 to 2016.

So that I could, Just one more time,

See your Norwegian eyes,

As you’d enjoy “your” hummingbirds,

Or praise God for His skies.

Elliott trimmed, cleaned and oiled his parent’s headstone and gave them yellow roses. Clarice carried yellow roses on their wedding day in June of 1941.

Your “little boy”, Is lonely now,

As I dwell yet on this earth.

But gladly my heart, Will overflow,

In abundance, Not in dearth.

Little cutie Clarice is far left in this photo from the early 1920’s near her birthplace farm in Scarville, Iowa.

For I give God praise, For each glorious day,

We enjoyed your precious being.

Heaven’s reunion, Upon His Shore,

Is what I look forward to seeing!!! ><> 😉

Clarice is welcomed Home to Heaven by her Savior who loved her so much He died for her on the Cross of Calvary to give her Eternal Life. ><>

Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..June 15th


A rip-rompin’ rodeo rolled into our farm’s south driveway that frosty Fall morning!!! Well, o.k., at first my little boy eyes thought it was a rodeo, cause that rolling contraption, hooked up behind our veterinarian’s truck, resembled the holding chute of a cowboy ready to burst out for a ride on an ornery buckin’ bull’s back. Instead, I was about to take in the excitement of watching a farming process that Dad called, “de-horning” of our handsome Holstein bovines. And, for my younger readers of today’s story, a bovine is any animal that has a split hoof and has a tendency to grow horns (among other characteristics).

Our good-looking Norwegian daddy, Russell, was husband to our mother, Clarice. But, did you also know he was a sort of “husband” to our farm, too? Yup, the word “husband” basically means to “manage carefully” and that’s just what our farmer father did as he managed our croplands and, in this case, managed the care of his animals.

With the hectic pace and majority of our harvest time accomplished for the year, Dad could now look to this necessary task of preventative animal husbandry in the form of capturing and dehorning his younger Holsteins. Granted, some farmers chose to allow their animals to grow their horns out to full length, but, the majority of farmers were concerned for a number of reasons and would choose, like our father, to have the horns cut off at a young age to prevent any possible future injuries to ourselves, other animals or even the individual animal itself (by getting their horns caught in a fence, thick brush or busting them off as they ran through tight places, etc.).

In those crisp morning hours, the frost of Fall was not only puffing out from each of our mouths as we talked, but it also puffed out from Dr. Blohm’s truck muffler as he deftly backed up the de-horning chute to the west door of our barn. It was the doorway to our holding pen for the younger livestock that needed to have some trimming done for their own good.

Our Holsteins that day were under the highly capable care of Dr. Henry Jasper Blohm. This dear man was our farming community’s highly respected and dearly loved veterinarian. Having grown up on a farm, himself, he loved God’s animals and had just graduated from an agricultural college in 1942 when Uncle Sam called him to serve as an Army Medic during World War II in the European Theater of Operations. After the war, “Doc” Blohm used the blessings of the “GI Bill” and successfully achieved his Doctoral Degree of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Minnesota in 1952.

Over years of experience, it was found that when it came to de-horning, the younger the animal, the better. Mainly for the factors that it would be less traumatic; both for the easier healing recovery of the younger animal and for the workers involved, since it was easier handling a smaller creature, rather than wrestling with a stronger, bigger Holstein of a more mature growth.

For one thing, on working with a younger animal, the horn bud was not yet fully developed and not yet inter-connected to other sinus tissues. Therefore, the process of pinching, cutting or burning off that small horn bud would not be as traumatic as the more drastic removal of a full length horn of a mature bovine. So, as each animal was herded into the chute that day, the sides of the squeeze chute would be pressed close against the animal’s main body and when his or her head emerged out the end of the chute, the neck clamp was closed tight to hold the youngster in place for whatever method Dr. Blohm chose to employ in removing the “bud” of the horn or the actual grown out horn itself. When completed, our kind Dr. Blohm would apply medications to help in the healing process of what just transpired. It was also common for many farmers, like our dad, to do this de-horning process in the Fall, Winter or very early Spring when intense freezing temperatures had killed off flies that would have pestered the poor animal’s horn wounds during the healing process.

Oftentimes, when necessary, this capture chute fulfilled a multi-faceted role. It was also convenient for installing a nose ring into the nostrils of those males that were to become Dad’s breeding bulls. The purpose of the nose ring served the expediency of allowing a farmer to attach a snap-clip with a rope to the nose ring. That attached rope was then used for leading the bull around the farm, or, tethering the bull to keep him in place because no animal, in his right mind, wanted to feel the pain of that ring being pulled out of his slobbery snout. 😉

Of course, while in that holding chute, there were the times when Dad decided that some of his young Holstein boys, would not be boys any more. It was a process called castration and, after the surgical removal of certain organs, that former boy was now called a steer!!! 😉 Such were the farming adventures to observe and learn from for this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.

Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..June 14th

June 14th………..POEM – “He’d Farm From Dawn Til Dusk” created by N. Elliott Noorlun 6/28/2014. Here, on the actual Father’s Day of 6/20/2021, I share another tribute poem to honor the life of our patriarch.

On Father’s Day, In this special hour,

I’d like right here to say,

That our hard working dad, Would show his love,

In his special farmer’s way.

From dawn till dusk, and sometimes into the night, Elliott’s father farmed faithfully to supply his family’s needs.

To care for Mom and feed us kids,

He’d farm from dawn to dusk.

From plow to plant to harvesting,

Of the corn that he would husk.

In the early years, Elliott’s father picked corn by hand!!!

With his broken ribs, Wrapped by Mom,

Those cows still needed care,

No “sick leave” time for a farmer,

His work required him there.

A cow’s swinging head knocked Elliott’s dad off of a ledge that caused him to break three ribs. All their mother could do was wrap Russ tightly around his chest and send him back out to milk those cows!!! 😦

Dad was not one, To hug n kiss,

And yet he showed his love,

By caring for us, The best he could,

Till God called him to Home above.

In 1949, Elliott’s dear daddy, Russell, had two little sweeties (Lowell & Rosemary) to celebrate Father’s Day. In 1954 and 1955, he’d have two more lil Norski’s (Elliott & Candice) running around, too!! 😉

Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..June 13th


The tasty trifecta of a boy, his belly and a baler came about one fine Summer’s day on our farm northwest of Kiester, Minnesota.

As the back-porch screen door of our farm home slapped shut behind me, the next sound I heard was the bellowing, massive, “Wisconsin” brand, onboard motor of Dad’s 1948 “New Holland” baler. My little farmboy “radar” ears zeroed in on the sound coordinates of a west/southwest bearing that was filtering towards me through the orchard of our family farm. Our handsome Massey-Harris 44 tractor was faithfully pulling the “New Holland” along as the self-sufficiency of that baler engine pulsed with every downward, packing throw of the thrusting arm mechanism. That, coupled with the baler’s horizontal, plunging hammer-head, packed the alfalfa into tight, perfectly rectangular bales that inched their way out of the rear chute of the “New Holland” with every forward roll of this haying operation.

I had been drawn to that farming sound and, on “Shank’s Horses” (my legs), had just arrived at our family orchard. Since I was still too young to be part of the baling crew, I figured the next best thing would be to enjoy a double delight; I’d “supervise” with my eyes and fill my belly with orchard wonders at the same luxurious time. 😉

With Dad and big brother busy baling and stacking bales on the flat-rack, I played “straw-boss” and shinnied like a squirrel up to the top of one of our apple trees in the orchard. From those high, breeze-blown branches, the cotton clouds above me skidded along on those cooling prairie winds. Now, I could now relish each pass of Dad and the baling operation while I chomped merrily on our apples that were still a bit green, but ohhh so tasty!!!

With plenty of room still available in my tomboy tummy, I saw my next tasty target in the pear tree that was next door to my current pleasant perch. “Mr. Gravity” almost got the best of me on the way back to ground level that day, but, aside from a bark abrasion on my arm, I was a rarin’ to head for the heights of the pear tree and continue my feast there. Mmmmm, GOOD were those pears as they ooozed their liquid gold around my choppers as I bit into and consumed each one with the gusto of boy joy!!

With my “hollow legs” somewhat satisfied with apples and pears, it dawned on my miniscule memory that Mom had instructed me earlier that she wanted a harvest of some of our rhubarb that dwelt in a type of cool hedgerow that ran east to west on the northside of our orchard. Trusty pocketknife at the ready, I scrambled down from that perfectly playful pear tree and sauntered over to the rhubarb plants that grew flavorfully under a “roof” of elephant-sized leaves that crowned and shaded the tart, celery-looking red trunks below. A quick slice at the bottom freed each red trunk from the ground and another quick fling of my knife blade beheaded the green elephant-eared crown.

It was a good thing, that day, that I had brought along one of our metal, galvanized pails to carry these organic treasures back up to Mom and her great skills of making delicious rhubarb “sauce” and rhubarb pies.

One last thing on Mom’s “shopping list” for our orchard that day was for me to cut and bring her a large portion of asparagus from our patch that rested at the west edge of our grand orchard. As the distant drone of Dad’s baling operation sounded from the far corner of the farm acreage, I was one blessed boy in the richness of that provisional orchard that was planted long, long before us by the Thompson, Santmaier and Holstad families who were the original pioneers of our farm land. I can still vividly recall the simple joys of that terrifically tasty time for this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.

Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..June 12th

June 12th…….POEM – “Their Tiny Son” created by N. Elliott Noorlun in honor of the approaching holiday of Father’s Day for our late father, Russell Conrad Noorlun.

Summer of 1954. Elliott is about 6 months old.

Progenitor of, My very life,

In loving tandem, With his wife,

Procured His blessings, When as one,

Brought forth in life, Their tiny son.

Circa 1957 and Elliott stands next to his handsome father, Russell.

One can but only, Adore the man,

Who embodied the aura, “I THINK I CAN”!!

A man of the soil, And his animals grand,

Life all fell together, As God had planned.

Elliott’s handsome daddy, Russell, is on the right in this photo.

In my little boy years, Dad looked so good,

Hair combed just right, Like a handsome man should.

Manly “Old Spice” cologne, Aftershave n showers,

His great-coat with fedora, In those “go to town” hours.

Summer of 1959 (5 years old) finds Elliott basking in his daddy’s presence on their farm 3 miles northwest of Kiester, Minnesota

I looked up to Dad, From down near his knees,

Gladly doing his bidding, Just to see him pleased.

In reality, true, Very mortal he was,

But I’ve always loved him, Just because……..

He was MY Dad!!! 😉

Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..June 11th


As a fearsome, frantic, festinating Freshman, I hustled towards the impressive entrance of Battle Ground High School with a sense of shock and awe!!! Above and beyond the school, towering, white, cumulonimbus clouds were set off against an azure blue Pacific Northwest sky which accentuated the handsome beauty of this impressive new High School of mine.

In 1967, our former farming family had moved from Minnesota to this new State and our new life chapter here in Battle Ground, Washington. I had just come from my quaint small town in southern Minnesota where I was used to a grade size of a little over 40 classmates. So, as I entered my 8th Grade school year, I was aghast to see how large this school was in comparison to back home. Battle Ground High School, in the 1968-69 school year of my Freshman 9th Grade was even more amazing to see when I found out that the head count of my grade level had grown to just under 300 classmates. Needless to say, overwhelmed is how I felt, to put it mildly.

Upon entering those broad High School entry doors, and just off to my right, in the first classroom on the corner, I can still recall hearing an almost Marine Corps-like cadence being called out in an austere lady’s voice that carried with it every bit of an authoritarian aura of “Do what I say, and do it NOW, please”!!! Turns out, the classroom that drew my attention that morning was the domain of the school’s typing class and was under the adept command of Mrs. Mae Harmon. I found the Typing Class, that day, to be, like all other things in my new life, a bit too much for a frustrated Freshman to handle. Maybe next year I’d reassess taking that class.

As my Freshman year came to its conclusion, I realized that I did NOT want to always be a one finger typist and, as classes were offered for my Sophomore year, I decided that I would put myself under the tutelage of Mrs. Harman and her Typing Class.

I was both excited and scared upon entering Mrs. Harman’s Typing Class that first day of my 10th Grade Year. Yet, I had a peace within as I found this educator to be in full mastery of her teaching subject, well respected, and that, through time, she had honed the skills necessary to impart her wisdom of typing to any and all that walked through the portals of her educational castle.

As my inquisitive eyes perused the classroom, I noticed that half of the machines were old-fashioned, manual typewriters and half were the relatively new IBM Selectric electric typewriters that had just been introduced to the marketing public in 1961. For whatever her selection criteria may have been, I was to be assigned as the half of the class that would start the school year on the old manual typewriters.

With that Marine-like cadence I had heard in the past, Mrs. Harmon got our attention with .“Ready students?!! Feet on the floor and sitting up straight in your chair? Let’s begin”!!! , said our sage, learned lady before us. “And….. F-R-F. F-T-F, F-V-F”!!! And so the drills began.

Long before digital word processors were part of the typing culture, when you made a goof on a manual typewriter, it was a BIG DEAL!!! For one thing, the rest of the class were click, clacking away around me, but the blatant mistake on my typing page had to be corrected before I could try to catch up with those more efficient classmates. Out would come the combination eraser “wheel” and brush. I’d have to roll up the mistake to access the boo-boo with the typing cylinder knob and then rub out the mistake with my eraser. Then I had to use the brush to clean away the eraser residuals, roll the cylinder and paper back down to its original position to begin typing again and just HOPE I didn’t make another mistake too soon in the near future………which I usually DID!!!! 😦

Needless to say, the more I’d fret over making another mistake, sure enough, I’d make another mistake!!! I must’ve worn out at least three eraser wheels in that first semester of Typing!!!

Yet, good things come to those that wait, ya? On the first day of the 2nd Semester, Mrs. Harmon made an announcement. “Students, today we’re going to make a change. I want all those who have been on manual typewriters, since the first day of school, to move over to and choose an IBM “Selectric” electric typewriter to sit by. And, vice versa, you students who have been on the electrics will now move over and choose a manual typewriter for the remainder of the school year”!!! Ohhhh joy!!! I was now in “typewriter heaven”!!! The difference was like night and day to us who had battled the old machines for that first half of the school year. These “new” electrics were amazing. It was like driving a car with power-steering for a change!! And, the electrics were even supplied with a correcting ribbon that pulled your mistakes off the paper like magic…….no more wheel eraser!!! My fellow “electric typists” and I also got some giggles from listening to the kids on the manual typewriter side of the room complaining loudly how they now had to strike the keys with full force (instead of tip-toe-touch like ours) to make their machines work. From that day on, I was a happy typist and a very happy Norwegian Farmer’s Son.

Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..June 10th

June 10th………..POEM “Father Of My Father”. Created in honor of our paternal Grandfather Edwin A. Noorlun as we approach Father’s Day. Originally created on 6.14.2013

Father of my father, Edwin was his name,

A man of the soil, Who would work and toil,

Whether healthy, sick or lame.

A quiet man, As I recall,

With very few words to say,

But I have respect, For his memory,

Up to this very day.

For my dear dad, Adored his dad,

And followed his farming trade,

With bib overalls, In cow barn stalls,

A family living he made.

So on Father’s Day, There’s really a line,

Of fathers we should thank.

They taught us to work, And our duties not shirk,

For with traits like that, You can take ’em to the bank!! 😉

Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..June 9th


I reckon Daniel Boone must’ve smiled down, from those golden streets of Heaven, to see his own son, Nathan, scout out the town where my maternal grandparents eventually lived. It was the year 1835 as these brave souls rode their horses upon on the limitless prairie lands of what was still considered part of the Louisiana Purchase that the United States procured from France in 1803. What we know as southern Minnesota wasn’t even considered a territory until the year 1849. A topographer, assigned with Nathan Boone’s United States Dragoons, by the name of Mr. Albert Lea, did the actual surveying that eventually set up a town that would be named after him.

Mr. Albert Lea, in his handsome moustache and goatee beard, later served in the Confederate Army during the Civil War and would never know how much our maternal grandparents, Clarence and Amanda Sletten, enjoyed the lovely, green city that he helped to found by his surveying talents. As the pleasant prairie town grew out towards Fountain Lake, there was a gracious neighborhood built around Abbott Street and that’s where my maternal uncle comes into this story.

Fast forward to the late 1940’s and our handsome Uncle Marcus Delmaine (Del) Sletten was home from World War II. Uncle Del had served valiantly with the United States Army “Blue Devils” of the 88th Infantry Division in the rugged mountain warfare of Italy. His Army Division fought not only the dug-in Germans, but also battled against the sheer treachery of the vertical Italian mountains themselves. Such dogged determination did not go unnoticed and Del’s fighting force earned the honor of receiving The Presidential Unit Citation for bravery by then President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Having contributed to America’s successful fight for freedom and our way of life, Del could now focus on the needs of his aging parents who were so grateful for his multi-faceted talents in building them a small retirement cottage there on Abbott Street. Uncle Del gave them counsel as they bought a corner parcel of land just below a tall land berm that supplied a roadway for a railroad line that ran past their property.

What originally started as a garage, morphed into the cutest little retirement cottage this side of anywhere. Clarence and Amanda Sletten had been blessed with four wonderful children and this particular child of theirs, our Uncle Del, was one very talented son who saw to it that his dear mother and father had a cozy home to finish out their years on earth in comfort.

Sunday afternoons, after morning worship at our church, our family’s car often seemed to have a northeast magnet that pulled us towards Albert Lea and our mother’s parent’s home on Abbott Street. In the 100 plus years, since Mr. Lea had surveyed this town, a cool, leaf-crowned canopy of trees cooled us as our ’56 Chevy rolled down the streets and lanes that eventually put us in front of this darling cottage for an afternoon of fellowship with our maternal elders.

It didn’t take much exploring, on my part, of Grandpa Clarence’s tool shed, to come across a machine that we did not have at our farm near Kiester. It was called a push reel mower that Grandpa used for cutting his lovely lawn area. I found it fascinating because there was no engine. Me, myself and I were the engine as the machine came to life by my pushing that reel mower. As the drive wheels went round and round, they, in turn, used a gear system that spun a spiral series of blades that snugly ran across a cutting bar at the bottom of the mower. As the grass “got in the way” of those spinning spiral blades and the cutting bar, it was cleanly cut off and lay on the ground behind you. Well, that was supposed to be the way it worked.

In those days, being that I was knee-high to a grasshopper, I must have given the adults lots to laugh about as I struggled valiantly in Grandpa and Grandma’s front yard trying to get my short, midget stature to find enough UMPHH!! to get that contraption to move fast enough and far enough to actually cut the grass.

Imbued with the exuberance of childhood, though, I had more fun in the journey of this adventure, rather than the “arrival” of actually cutting Grandpa’s lawn. Sometimes, I’d even flip the mower to an upside down position just to have the joy of watching those spiral blades spin into a whirring blur as I huffed and puffed along. It was the joy of the moment that intrigued and gave a happy little boy smile to this Norwegian Farmer’s Son. 😉

Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..June 8th

June 8th……..POEM – “Watching Your Every Hour” Created by N. Elliott Noorlun on June 12th, 2014

Your father before you, Drove his team,

Of horses on your farm.

And as his child, You gleaned same joys,

Within his teaching arm.

The days passed by, Until you now,

Had your own handsome equine power,

And sons to look to you for wisdom,

Watching your every hour.

Yet, instead of teaching those horses,

Even though a noble task,

You taught us to honor, And speak the truth,

If ever someone should ask.

“If you tell me the truth, My handsome sons”,

“I’ll try to quell my fire,

“But if you dare to speak untruth to me”,

“I really hate a liar”!!!

So with these traits, We’ve lived our lives,

To honor you, sweet Dad,

And we praise our Lord, For blessing us,

With a dad who made us glad!