Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..July 29th


Brothers Doren (L) and Russell (R) Noorlun created a “Jeep”.

A blasting, blistering, blue-flame blew, from Uncle Doren’s torch nozzle, as it cut into the framework of an old dilapidated Ford Model A chassis. Protected behind the dark blue/green glass of welding helmets, Doren, along with his brother, Russell Noorlun, had plans to shorten the length of this old classic vehicle and create their own farm version of the World War II utility vehicle known as a “Jeep”/jalopy.

Russ having fun with the family jalopy to the broad smiles of his sister-in-law, Pat Noorlun.

Sparks flew and grindings threw their metal dust to the floor of Doren’s welding business on the south-sloping end of Main Street in our grand little hometown of Kiester, Minnesota.

In this mechanical “surgery”, so to speak, the “patient” had no anesthetic, so the old Ford cried out in metallic agony as sounds of sheet metal skrunched and skronked while the upper body assembly of the Model A was cut away and lifted off to be taken over to Elmer Simonson’s Junk Yard later.

Eldest brother, Lowell (center), was a big fan of the farm “Jeep”. He’s enjoying cousins and his sister, Rosemary (leaning towards camera) circa 1956.

After shortening the frame and drive-train, what was birthed that day was a short-framed, “Jeep” jalopy with a flat bed behind the makeshift driver’s seat. That “driver’s seat” usually consisted of anything handy, like a wooden fruit box or Dad’s big metal tool box. The “flat bed” was ideal for a farmer’s needs. It could hold fencing supplies and any other gizmos or whatchamacallits that needed to be buzzed around our farm yard or property.

“HAALP!! HAALP”!!! called the Heitzeg family’s peacocks in the distance that day.

Lowell, being the eldest of this Norwegian farm family, was coming of age (barely 12 or 13 years) and was thrilled to see how fun the new “Jeep” jalopy was to drive. Not only did he ride with Dad on fencing projects, but he witnessed how seemingly indestructible this little former Ford could be. A hefty set of tire chains on the back wheels were excellent to get a grip on almost any terrain around the farm. One day, down in our cow pasture along Brush Creek, our Norwegian farmer father drove down a slope and right INTO the creek. What transpired was pure FUN as this father and son enjoyed life’s antics while they literally drove and splashed the length of Brush Creek in the late Summer’s low ebb of water.

There’d be an ouchee “song to sing” later on with Lowell’s uncle while riding along in the jalopy.

There came the day, though, while Lowell was burning trash in the open clearing of our treed windbreak, that he could distinctly hear the piercing calls of Charlie Heitzeg’s peacocks on their neighboring farm. These gorgeous Indian fowl had a unique trumpeting (heard for miles) that almost sounded like a human crying for, “HAALP!!! HAALP”!!! Big brother was gonna need some that day………HELP, that is. Jumping on board the “Jeep”, Lowell brought that old former Ford to life and headed off to the south from our farm yard to the pasture that bordered Brush Creek. Figuring to himself, “Well, gee, if Dad can drive this thing right along the creek bottom, I should at least be able to cross the creek”!! Right? Aiming to go straight across the creek, our big brother got bogged down by the steep terrain of the far side of the creek bank and with every punch to the gas pedal, the “help” he got that day was from the strong tire chains on the back wheels that churned in the mud and water making geysers of mud brown spray that covered Lowell and his little “buggy”. But, with numerous angles and attacks, that old jalopy finally climbed to the far bank.

Elliott’s father, Russell, gives rides on the farm family’s “Jeep” jalopy to (L to R) sister Rosemary, brother Lowell and cousin Pauline Bidne on their farm three miles northwest of Kiester, Minnesota.

With a growing sense of confidence in his driving skills, Lowell was now ready to show off his “Jeep” prowess when another of our paternal uncles arrived at our farm for a visit.

Big brother, Lowell, was the “young pup” behind the wheel of the old, modified Ford Model A runabout vehicle on their farm.

“Come on Uncle!! Hop on and I’ll show you how good I can drive this thing”!!??!! Ready for the challenge, our uncle piled aboard this little hotrod and planted his buns on a wooden apple box for his passenger experience. With his “young pup” of a nephew in command, our uncle must’ve remembered riding many an Army jeep during World War II, so…….here goes!! Down to the end of our south driveway, Lowell brought the spunky jalopy to a pause as he checked for cars coming. With his young eyesight sensing an “all clear”, Lowell hammered that old girl into gear and revved up the engine and popped the clutch. Those tire chains on the back end chewed up the road gravel and shot it behind them like a machine gun barrage!!! Away they flew to the south and crossed the bridge over Brush Creek. Two heads of hair were wildly flying that day, just like the old jalopy!! Lowell made the corner that sent them up the gravel road that ran up to the Clayton Kephart farm. Along the way, big brother was gonna try to do a U-turn in the gravel road when he misjudged the turning radius and ended up rolling down into the shallow ditch and right through a barbed wire fence!!! YOWSA!!!

Prickly pause!

Poor uncle!!! He must’ve thought he was back in the War as the two of them had to untangle themselves from that barbed wire mess before Lowell could, once again, drive back out of that ditch and head them back home to our farm.

Sometimes, a little humble pie is the food needed for all of us to learn, laugh and enjoy life on the farm of this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.

Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..September 1st


POEM – “What A Handsome Man He Was”. Created by N. Elliott Noorlun on September 1st, 2021……the 103rd birthday of our late father, Russell Conrad Noorlun…….September 1st, 1918 till February 19th, 1980. My dad was sixty-one years old at the time of his death from Pancreatic Cancer.

Elliott’s father, Russell, is on the right in this early photo with big sister, Ileen. Circa 1921.

Today Dad would’ve been 103,

What a handsome man he was.

Hard work and laughter, Were just two of his traits,

And I share this just because…….

Tiny Russell has found himself a squash on their family farm in northern Minnesota.

I’m thankful for, The life he lived,

Though imperfect like any mortal.

In his tenacious fight, For all that’s right,

Was his goal till Heaven’s portal,

Handsome young Russell (center), in the late 1930’s, with a couple of buddies.

Opened to grant, Our Norwegian dad,

Into God’s sweet Heavenly rest,

By our loving God, And our farmer of sod,

We as a family were blessed.

Together again in Heaven……Russell and Clarice.

It’s been 41 years, And we love you still,

Since you left for Heaven’s Shore,

And now you have, Dear Mother there,

To celebrate even more!

So give her a hug, As your glowing cake,

Floats by on a featherweight cloud,

Until the day, When God’s trumpet will play,

Then we’ll celebrate good and loud!!!

June of 1959 finds Elliott with his handsome farmer daddy, Russell.

Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..July 28th


The nails, embedded within those old walls, screamed out in agony, or so it seemed, by the screeching sounds they made upon removal with Dad’s claw hammer. If the claw hammer failed to “get ‘er dun”, Dad’s sinewy muscles maneuvered his clawed wrecking bar into place and drove the claw “home” with a short sledge hammer. Now, it was just a matter of leverage against the 90 degree bent end of the tool and that nail gave up its place and came away to drop to the floor below.

March of 1955 shows tiny Elliott with his big brother and sister on the wagon that was used to haul wood home from the old, abandoned house in their town of Kiester, Minnesota

Earlier that day, our father, Russell, had hooked up his two wheel “flat rack” onto our Farmall Super M tractor and had me climb aboard for the ride the two of us would make into our hometown of Kiester, Minnesota. Arriving at the intersection, to the south of our farm, Dad checked both ways for cars on the east/west asphalt highway. Slowly letting out the tractor’s clutch, Russ cranked the steering wheel to make a left turn at the top of Ozmun’s hill. With the trailer still obediently behind us, he shifted that dear Farmall into road gear and we began to fly as those massive, chevroned rubber treads of the tractor tires sang their own song as their blurred, rotating image matched the brisk winds that cooled us as we came nearer to our lovely village we all called home………Kiester.

There’s an old adage that goes, “One man’s trash, is another man’s treasure”. Our father’s “treasure” that day was a decrepit old house within the city limits of our village that had been abandoned for some time and was made available to anyone who wanted to salvage the lumber from that old abode. “Free is a VERY good price”……and that’s just what this house offered to our farm family………free wood for the taking. Our folks had a dream to build a two car garage and shop on our home place and this old house was to supply most of that lumber.

Our beloved, hard-working parents came from what is called, “The Greatest Generation”. They were hardened by the lean times of the 1930’s, with its economic depression and then had to sacrifice for our soldiers, sailors and Marines during World War II. The mindset of those days was to “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without” and that mantra was a staple of how they lived out their daily lives; especially when it came to “stretching the dollar” to make our farm as successful as they could.

When we pulled up in front of that derelict old home, it seemed to speak to me, in a way. I could almost hear the nails pleading to stay in the walls of what once had housed an entire family and their life energies. Yet, as a seed kernel of corn dies in the soil, in order to bring a new crop to life, it would be the destiny of this old house to give up her lumber to “live again” in the form of our new garage and shop.

I questioned why Dad would even want to go to the efforts to build that two car garage and shop. I can only assume that #1. It would give him a safe place for our car and pickup over the frigid winters, instead of being covered in snow and frozen stiff. And, #2. It could have been that Dad desired a large shop to be able to pull large welding and repair projects in out of the weather. His original shop building was so small, it could only house his tools. And, therefore, he was relegated to making repairs while being subjected to any and all kinds of weather.

In those summer months, we sometimes “harvested” lumber from the old house during the daylight hours and hauled the wood home to stack for the big day when our new garage construction began. Yet, there were also times, after our dairy herd were milked for the evenings, that we’d hook up the trailer and head into town for another load of wooden “gold” before the sun went down and made it too hard to see inside that non-electric house.

I had always been raised to respect the sanctity of other people’s homes. It was, in a sense, as if someone’s home was sacred ground and you showed respect by never entering it unless you were first invited in by the family. Well, even though there was no longer a family in that dilapidated old house, I felt uneasy, the first few times, of stepping inside the front door with Dad.

While my handsome Norwegian father and I worked together in demolition, the late afternoon sun would often flood through the rippled glass windows and its illuminated golden rays of light shone through the floating dust in the air that resulted from our hammering and sawing.

Being the little adventurer I was, I’d take a break from ripping out nails and slowly climb up the creaking stairs to the second story of the home and explore what use to be the family bedrooms. From those room’s vantage point, I’d look out over neighboring rooftops from those cracked and lonely looking upstairs windows. In my limited little boy knowledge, I surmised that this old house could have been as much as a century old at the time we began making it yield up its wood to us for our building project at our farm.

Even as a young boy of 11 or 12 years, at the time, I couldn’t help but muse upon how many families had called this place home in their days. I pondered how this building had once housed the laughter of birthday parties, the hugs of family reunions and joyous Christmas holidays within these same walls that Dad and I were now taking apart, one by one.

Elliott’s dad, Russell, is on left holding a granddaughter. Elliott’s sister, Candi, is on right. Behind them is the two car garage and shop that was built largely of wood from that old house in their hometown of Kiester, Minnesota.

After the investment of our father’s sweat, splinters, blood and blisters……..we could give the good Lord thanks and praise for the new life that that old lumber had bestowed upon us in allowing us to create our new lovely two car garage with adjoining shop that made our farm out in the country seem “right uptown” as that old house had once been.

Now there was a dry place for our family car and our old Ford pickup truck during icy winter months. And, Dad even had the joy of setting up a stove in the shop side of our new garage to keep himself warm in the winter while doing repairs and hobbies in our new fancy “car heaven”.

That old house, in Kiester, had been re-born to bless the family of this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.

Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..July 27th

July 27th………..POEM – “It’s Time To Party”!! Created by N. Elliott Noorlun

Elliott with father, Russell. Circa 1957. Three years old.

It’s time to party hearty,

And shake my boogaloo!!

I’ve created 580,

Short stories and poems for you!!!

I know I’m just a nobody,

Among billions in the world,

But I’ve had fun in sharing,

My life that I’ve unfurled!!

There’s happy, sad and silly,

In these chapters from my past,

But when I’m gone, My written life “song”,

Will still be here to last.

Storytime with Elliott and some of his grandchildren.

For my tiny living legacies,

Who are still too young to read,

Will have this tome, To read at home,

Of the life their grandpa did lead.

Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..July 26th


Cawing crows catapulted themselves from the treetops of our windbreak as they were startled by the screeching, air-powered whistles on the behemoth-sized “Case” Steam Engine that approached our farm from the south. Upon that Minnesota gravel road, the smoke-belching, gargantuan power house, with its iron wheels, pulled what looked like an enormous metal dragon behind it, also upon bare iron wheels.

The Noorlun’s young, first born son, Lowell, felt the ground near our driveway begin to rumble and quake from the immense, squeaking and crushing sound of gravel under those iron wheels making the turn into our south U-shaped driveway.

Circa 1950 when little Rosie and Lowell enjoyed the era of threshing oats on their farm.

Little “Lowey’s” legs lit up, inside those bib overalls, and he took off towards the house on a full run, just like the old “town crier”, hollering “Dad!!! Mom!!!! The threshing crew is here”!!!!!

Harvest times were one of many occasions, throughout the year, when the small, family farm culture of our area came alive with the blessed reality that “no man is an island and no man stands alone”. Our immediate family cluster was sweetly under the all-encompassing giant umbrella of untold numbers of other small family farms of our locale that relied on one another to accomplish everything from harvesting all the way to being “first responders” in injuries or illnesses to other fellow farmers.

Elliott is standing on the tire of the family grain wagon in 1962. Notice the lift gate of the wagon where oats will pour out as they were unloaded into the Granary Building.

On that special, sparkling Midwest morning, our family were to be the recipients of local love and blessings shown by groups of neighbors and this amazing metal marvel called a “Threshing Machine” that was now making its way to the west of our orchard where “shocks” (usually 5 to 10 sheaves stacked vertically) of oats were standing in clusters where they’d been recently harvested with a cutting and tying machine called a “Binder”.

L to R: Darrel Mutschler, Gib Cleven, Chet Ozmun, Helmer Wipplinger and Louie Heitzeg. Three of these families, and others, helped Elliott’s father thresh oats. In this photo, from 1963, they blessed Elliott’s father with plowing his fields when he was in the hospital.

Pretty soon, Lowell, and his little sister, Rosemary, heard the sounds of tractors and wagons coming towards them from both north and south of our farm. One could hear these men shifting down the gears of their tractors, to make the turn into the driveways of our farm. There came to us men from the Mutschler, Ozmun, Heitzeg and Bauman families, just to mention a few. Behind their tractors they pulled implements like “flat racks” and “grain wagons”, etc. so that this “Threshing Bee” would be a success seeing oat kernels removed from their dried stalks and the grain then augered up high and into our Granary Building.

Once in place, on the oats field, the Case Steam Engine unhooked itself from the Threshing Machine and maneuvered around to face the thresher from a distance. A very long pulley belt was uncoiled and placed over a “fly wheel” on both the steam tractor and the thresher. The driver of the steam tractor backed up ever so gently to bring the pulley belt taut enough to, when engaged, cause the myriad of mechanical “munchers”, within the threshing machine, to chew and separate the tiny oat kernels from its dried mother plant and send it to a waiting wagon.

Those of our neighbors with “flat racks” on their tractors drove from “shock” to “shock” and tossed the sheaves of oats onto the wagon. When full, the wagon pulled up alongside the thresher as the steam engine tractor engaged its massive, round “fly wheel”, causing the thresher and its myriad of parts to come alive with motion and movement. Workers then, using pitch forks, tossed oat sheaves onto a conveyor belt that pulled them into the thresher to be separated from the plant stalks and sent into a waiting grain wagon to be towed up to our yard and in front of our Granary with the grain auger that angled skyward to the upper roof access doorway.

Back at the threshing machine site, the chaff and straw, left over from threshing the oats, was blown out the back of the threshing machine and mounded on the ground to a golden yellow mountain of what would be used as bedding for our animals over the winter months.

Wagons, full to the brim with oats, were then lugged by their tractor and operator up to the front of our Granary Building at the main farm place. Once in position, the hinged “hopper” of the grain auger was let down behind the grain wagon. A nearby tractor was assigned to run this helical screw conveyor auger via the connection of what was known as the PTO (Power Take Off). The screw-type conveyor inside the very long metal tube started spinning. As it did, the lift gate of the wagon was opened and untold bushels of oats began flowing out and down into the “hopper” that caught the oats and began their ascent up, up, up and into the roof doorway of our Granary Building. Inside the Granary, our father, Russell, and helpers were busy shoveling oats to the corners of each storeroom so as to utilized every space possible for that year’s grain crop.

In the dappled coolness of our shade trees, our mother, Clarice, plus her “army” of ladies were preparing a feast to feed these fine fellow farmers for all their sweaty efforts to bless us with this harvest. Machines were put to rest while hands, arms and faces were washed in chilled waters from our well’s pump house. It was time to give God thanks for this fine food and fellowship of families who came together to be a gigantic blessing to the entire family of this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.!! 😉 ><>

The Noorlun family’s Granary Building. Notice the little door at the crest of the roofline. This is where the long, elevated auger sent the oats into the Granary from the wagon below. Photo is from 1974 and Elliot’s big sister, Rosemary is to the left with niece Debbie to the right.

Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..July 25th

July 25th………..POEM – “Russell Lupines For Russ” Created by N. Elliott Noorlun on 8/22/21

When our children were tiny, After Dad had died,

I wanted a colorful way,

For them to remember their Grandpa Russ,

Who had lived before their day.

Numerous times each year, On our way to Dad’s grave,

We’d stop along back country roads,

To pick “Russell Lupines” for Grandpa Russ,

We’d gather in loving arm loads.

And when we’d arrive, At the graveyard each time,

To decorate my daddy’s “place”,

Our little ones just could not quite grasp,

As bewilderment flooded their face.

Any elderly man, near Grandpa Russell’s grave, got a wave and a “HI GRANDPA RUSSELL”!!!! from Elliott’s children when they were tiny.

Too tiny to comprehend what death is,

That Dad’s “rest” was beneath our feet,

Our darlings would wave and begin to call out,

To elders nearby they would greet.

People were always compassionate and understanding to Elliott’s children.

“HI GRANDPA RUSSELL”!!!! , As they’d wave at a man,

Who stood at a distance from us.

So innocent they were, And true of heart,

We never did make any fuss.

Elliott’s father, Russell (on bed), had just been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer before little Nathan’s 2nd Birthday party in July of 1979.

Only one of our five, Ever met my dear dad,

Just a toddler when God called Dad to “Glory”.

Russell Lupines for Russ, Was our way to convey,

Dad’s memory and share his life story.

Valentine’s Day of 1980 and the last photo of Elliott’s father, Russell, before cancer took his life on February 19th, 1980. Elliott is in lettermen’s jacket.

Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..July 24th


POEM – “Royal Red Raspberry Ramblings” Created by N. Elliott Noorlun on August 12th, 2016.

Regal red royal raspberries,

Are a tasty “Time Machine”,

Taste just one, And I’m in flight,

To our farm’s “berry” tasty scene.

There in days on our farm, I’d relish the times,

In our woods or garden near,

While gorging on “rubies” so entrancing,

As the Mourning Dove’s song I’d hear.

While picking and eating, Those jewels so red,

I’d get lost in sweet visions sublime.

And even today, In my memory’s sway,

I’ll fly back to that tasty farm time!!

Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..July 23rd


Mr. Chet Ozmun 1909 – 1990

Serious sweat slid in surreptitious swirls before launching off of Russ Noorlun’s nose as he and burly-chested Chet Ozmun labored side by side on the south rises of the hilly farmland that belonged to Chet’s parents before him.

A field of oats that has been “shocked” into a type of teepee.

Chester Sidney Ozmun, born in 1909, was still, in the 1950’s, carrying on a good share of his father’s type of farming with those immensely handsome and massively powerful teams of Belgian Draft Horses.

On that marvelous, late Summer’s morning, there was a farmer’s song in the musical jangling of a melodious marriage of leather, metal and wood as Mr. Ozmun wed his handsome harnesses to the bodies of those gentle Belgian giants that would be pulling his Oats Binder through his fields. There was a warmth of golden light from that eastern sunrise that, skidding horizontally, lit up the treed gateway that led west out of his farm yard and over to the Oats Binder waiting in the windbreak of trees. His team seemed to welcome Chet’s soft, “Chirrup”! command (and a “Click, click” sound coming from the side of his mouth) as their master gave a genteel slap of the reins upon their backs. The three of them (a man and his horses) walked off in a rurally regal promenade through that canopy of green that arched above them.

In comparison to the early days of farming, this Binding Machine was a mechanical marvel for farmers to behold. Although true it was, that many farms in the Kiester, Minnesota area had moved on to gas tractors and such; this day was to be a gentle return to the ways of yore in this particular farm’s setting. And, at Chet’s request of assistance, our beloved farmer father, Russ Noorlun, was more than glad to be of assistance and blessing to his fellow farmer in loving need.

As those muscular, equine powerhouses pulled forward, the Oat Binder Machine began to cut a swath (roughly 5 or 8 feet across) of oats that then laid down upon a moving conveyor belt that brought enough oat stalks up and together that were mechanically rope-tied into what was known as a sheaf and dropped onto the ground to one side of the Binder. It was a far more efficient method of harvesting oats (or wheat, etc.) than using the antiquated, large, hand-operated Whip Scythe that both Chet and Russell Noorlun’s ancestors had to use for harvesting in the olden days.

Elliott’s daddy, Russell Conrad Noorlun. Circa late 1940’s on a picnic with his wife, Clarice, and her cousin, Jerome Rogness and wife.

Our Norwegian daddy gladly assisted his German farmer brother with the oats binding process until that sun-bathed hillside was “shaven” of oats and what was left were neatly tied bundles in rhythmed rows that brought both of these hard-working men back onto the field as a team to take those sheaves and begin “shocking” them together.

Modern readers may be led to think that “shocking” would have something to do with electricity, right? Not in this case. Working in a sweaty tandem, Chet and Russ walked along grabbing between 7 to 12 sheaves of bundled grain and arranged them into a standing teepee, of sorts. Chet may have been taller and bigger than Russ, but this wiry, slender Norwegian neighbor was not about to be outdone as he maintained his speed in this field work and, thanks to the challenge at hand, sometimes even out-worked his much loved German-heritaged neighbor.

“Shocks” of grain can be seen in the lower left corner of this painting.

Creating these shocks of oat grain (sometimes referred to as “stooks”) provided a number of benefits to the crop just harvested. #1. With the grain heads to the sky, they could continue to ripen and dry until another process came along called, “threshing”. #2. The shocked gatherings of oats were created to shed some of the rain that may occur after the harvest. And, #3. It made the grain a little less accessible for the local vermin (field mice, etc.) to reach and eat too much of the grain’s kernel heads.

As the Minnesota sun lengthened its shadows of a pending evening, Chet insisted that Russ join he and his sweet wife, Violet, for a lovingly made, good old farm house suppertime. The last of the oats were now in picturesque teepees that dotted the Ozmun field as if a community of special Indian guests were camped upon that hillside that caught the last ticklings of sunlight fading into night.

Pork chops smothered in caramelized onions, baked potatoes, and peas smelled heavenly on the breeze just outside the Ozmun home. To these famished farmer friends, these aromas were better than any fragrance France had ever created. The Belgians had been “put to bed” and these two fine men scrubbed up to enjoy a wondrous meal together. These were the good old days when Axel Challgren, our town’s local butcher, would leave all the fat on the pork chops. Chet had carved off the pork chop’s fat at the beginning of the meal and, at the delectable end of the plate being almost empty, Chet had saved that fat for last, and savored each bite of pork fat, as if it was just like his own version of dessert.

It was going to be a late night of milking our cows, once Russ got back home to the Noorlun farm that lay just to the north of Chet’s place, yet, these were the days of brother farmers following the Christian tenets laid out by our Lord Jesus, Himself, in gladly “going the extra mile” (from the New Testament Book of Matthew Chapter 5 and Verse 41) to show love for a neighbor and their families …….including this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.

Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..July 22nd


POEM – “We Called This Place Our Home”. Created by N. Elliott Noorlun on May 2nd of 2015 when I heard that the last vestige of our farmstead had been removed to make room for more acres to plant crops on.

Elliott’s family farm 3 miles northwest of Kiester, Minnesota in the Summer of 1968. The Noorluns had come back to Minnesota, on vacation from their new home in Battle Ground, Washington, and had a natural yearning to stop by to take this photo of what used to be their home for many decades. 😉

Upon this soil, So black and rich,

We called this place our home.

For decades life, Transpired for us,

As across green fields we’d roam.

For my young readers to better understand this phrase of the poem…….., when a cow is comfortable, they will utter a long, soft sound; almost as if they were talking to each other (or their calf) in the quietness of their barn surroundings. That sound is called, “lowing”.

Our cows would low each evening,

After father had milked and fed,

And they settled to straw beneath them,

Warmly comforted to bed.

These memories planted, So bright and clear,

Still glow within my soul,

Integral to, The scope of life,

That helps to make me whole.

Yet, just today, I heard the news,

The remnant of what was,

Has fallen to, The bulldozer’s blade,

And the sound of cutting saws.

A 1959 photo from the air of Elliott’s childhood farm looking to the northwest.

You now return, Our precious farm,

To the land the Indians knew.

We cared for you, And you taught us, too,

How to love this land so true!!!

Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..July 21st


Elliott’s childhood church. Grace Evangelical United Brethren.

Speckled diamonds of a Minnesota morning winked at us all through the cooling canopy of shade trees along North 3rd Street in our wonderful burg of Kiester, Minnesota. Summer, in all of its glory, had once again descended upon our village in the south central part of our grand State.

Our family’s house of worship, Grace Evangelical United Brethren Church, had once again come together to provide the youngsters of our dear town with Summer Vacation Bible School; so as to have a child-focused time of godly training in our Christian faith, with singing of hymns and children’s songs, coupled with fun activities and so much more!

While loving adults were busy inside our “church house”, preparing this special morning of godly children activities, our growing band of boys and girls stayed outside those handsome double doors with the massive, wrought-iron hinges. From one direction, and then another, local little town kids were dappled, as they walked, with a moving kaleidoscope of sun/shade/sun/shade as they ambled closer to us from their respective homes nearby. Farm families rolled up to the church and dropped off their little “Johnny or Suzie” to join us there on those wide, cement steps of this sweet place of fellowship.

Our growing group of youngsters were chit-chatting amongst ourselves while waiting for the broad church double doors to swing open in welcoming us to the morning’s fun under God’s sun.

Mrs. Dixie Ballweber at the church organ.

Talented Dixie Ballweber took her place on the bench at the organ in the worship auditorium (or “sanctuary”, as we were raised to call it) and began to play a rousing rendition of the old hymn, “Onward Christian Soldiers”. Our adult attendants at the church entrance encouraged us to march like little Christian soldiers as we entered and took our seats in the wooden pews for opening songs and a Bible lesson.

Us little ones were enraptured with the Bible verse-based storyline that day and enjoyed how each story, from that loving, adult church member, came to life via the usage of “Fuzzy Felt” characters for Bible Stories that magically clung to a large, felt-covered board on a tripod. With each added colorful felt figure, the story unfolded in a brilliant array right before our young eyes.

L to R…..Ruby Courrier, Genevieve Mutschler, DeEtta Kraus?, Janet Twedt and Jean Kraus.

By this time of the morning, heavenly fragrances were floating up from the church’s basement kitchen where sweet ladies like Ruby Courrier, Genevieve Mutschler, Janet Twedt, Jeannie Kraus and others were busy baking large batches of cookies that we would enjoy later in the day for snack time.

Our town’s public park was just down the street from Grace E.U.B., so after songs and story time, our young energetic bodies were led down to that wide open green expanse for games and fun as we raced the morning away with “Hide-n-Seek” and a myriad of other kid’s fun to blow off our unending energy of those happy years. After hiking back to the church, our tummies were ready for those delightful cookies, made with love, and gallons of yummy “Kool-aid” drink in eight flavors of joy. My favorite was Cherry “Kool-Aid”.

Re-energized by such yummies for our tummies, it was now time to learn our Bible verse for the day and begin working on a craft that we could give to our parents by the end of the week. Kind-hearted Mrs. Jean (or Jeannie) Kraus was our “teacher” for my group on one of those certain summertime Vacation Bible Schools. Mrs. Kraus had found a wonderful craft of creating a hard-wood cutting board for our mother’s kitchens. It appeared as an open Bible and we used a wood burning kit to trace and burn in lines into the wood to appear like pages of the Bible. Then, we rubbed oil coat after oil coat to treat the wood before putting a ribbon around it and giving to our mothers at the end of this special week of fun at church.

The congregation of Grace Evangelical United Brethren Church in Kiester, Minnesota. Circa 1972.

Today’s young generation, with their super high technology, will never understand the explicit beauty of life’s simplicity in those dear days gone by. Yes, even there in our fun times of Summer Vacation Bible School that were such a joy for this boy known as The Norwegian Farmer’s Son.