Friday, August 31, 2007
Patty Kakac and I have had a lovely exchange. She tells me her daughter participated in Kid Nation -- so though I don't watch reality TV, I asked her for her daughter's name and will check it out.
She also tells me that Kathy (from our class) lives by Inspiration Peak and works as an LVN in Battle Lake.
And I didn't win at the State Fair. Bummer.
(Lorlee entered some photos in the Texas State Fair.)
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
That's Patty Kakac on the far left, sitting behind Jane Anderson, Harvey Hiebel, Bruce Chan, Virgil Rolfsrud and Thom? Halstead circa 1958. The guy in the back center is Patty's brother, Bruce, sitting behind Gary Halstead and the toothsome Stephen Paul Rolfsrud. Darrell Williams is on the far right. Stan and Linda Rolfsrud and Patty's sister, Kathy, are elsewhere in the picture taken by an itinerant photographer.
I googled Patty Kakac, got her website and address. I emailed her and said I remembered her as a quiet, shy, religious and possibly mischieveous classmate of Steve's. Here's her reply:
How nice to hear from you and get the update on your family. Yes, I was in Steve’s class. We had some great times in that school. He could tell a bit about the mischievous part. When Mrs. Salt was there (such a nice person but didn’t have any control over us) we sort of had a hey day. We turned out alright anyway. I’m curious about the photo? Do you have it? Would you be able to email a copy? We don’t have any pictures from those school days. Guess my parents could never afford to get any.
I also had a great time with your sister Solveig before she left for 7th grade. She must have been in 6th grade and I in 4th or maybe we were only a year apart. I can’t remember. I had your dad for 9th grade English and he remains one of my favorite all-time teachers.
Yes, I was a very shy kid. I am still a bit shy but not too shy on stage—tee, hee. I’m not religious anymore but am deeply spiritual, as you can see on the webpage, love the earth and nature. You were in my sister Kathy’s class, weren’t you? Where do you live? And what do you do?
Good luck to you too.
Here's what Patty's web site said. There's a lot more there. Google it yourself and listen to a couple of free songs she has composed. And while you're at it, order a couple of CDs. I think you'll enjoy her, sort of a Joan Baez voice.
Patty Kakac is a professional folk musician who uses her singing and song writing talents to address difficult issues in today's world. She has studied with Stevie Beck, and mentored with Larry Long and numerous folk musicians for over 20 years.
As a singer/songwriter she has written the music for several plays for Lakes Country Service Cooperative, Fergus Falls, MN; Educational video for Nursing Assistants, '24 Hours a Day" and she has recorded two albums/CD's featuring mostly original works; "Heart of a Woman" and "Patchwork".
She collaborates with playwright, Kathy Ray, of Playing on Purpose Productions, Barrett, MN and has written, directed and performed for 9 issue orientated plays for schools and community programs. She is also a performer and singer for "Women Through The Ages" a show of vignettes and music portraying women's stories, performed extensively throughout Minnesota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin.
Patty formed a local folk band, Patty and the Pinetones in 1982. Patty and the Pinetones performed at theater concerts, house concerts, yard parties, churches and schools, as well as opening for Bill Staines, The Kingston Trio, Larry Long, and Pop Wagner. She has performed solo for numerous concerts, folk festivals, house concerts, conferences, and community events including Valley City, ND Folk and Blues Fest, Two Harbors Folk Festival, Finn Creek Folk Festival, Northfield Arts Guild, and Northrop Auditorium for Jessie Jackson and with Garrison Keillor in Henning, MN. Patty now performs in The Granary Girls folk duo with Jodi Ritter.
Patty has conducted Artist Residences. Patty plays the guitar, autoharp, upright bass, piano, harmonica and penny whistle. Patty is a recipient of an 1999 Individual Artist Grant from the Lakes Region Arts Council to promote her music in both rural and metro Minnesota. Both Patty and Jodi are currently training with Larry Long in "Elder Wisdom, Children Songs"
Patty lives on a farm outside of Evansville, MN, is a farmer and gardener, raises chickens, keeps a husband and is guiding a young daughter. She conveys her love of the land in her music, in her home, in her remodeled granary which becomes a summer kitchen and treasures the rising and setting sun. Many of her songs are born while she works in the garden turning the soil.
Monday, August 27, 2007
Dave Underwood turns 40! He spent his birthday waterskiing. He is still not too old to barefoot. The water up his nose is more annoying though! Took a week to recover from that. He is handling his forties with grace so far, Amy says.
- (Top, left) Hunter and Blake go back to school. Blake started kindergarten. He took the first day in stride. Got lost in the parent pick up line. The day care and Hunter were searching frantically for him. They found him standing calmly next to his teacher outside the school, waiting for some one to come and get him. He still doesn't know what the big deal was. Hunter is not taking Second Grade as well. We asked him if he was excited to go back to school and he said, "Learning really isn't for me. I really have this summer thing down and I want to just stick to that." He is always pretty honest.
- (Top, right) Hunter tries baseball and pitching. He has the stance down! He did great as he was one of the few pitchers that did not hit the batter with the ball. The kids were also actually able to hit the ball when he pitched. That does not sound good, but it sure was a relief for the parents to see some action.
- (Bottom, left) Blake and Hunter start soccer. We asked Blake if he was a soccer player and he said, "No, I am a baseball player. I am doing soccer just to stay in shape." Hunter seems to really like soccer. He likes to play goalie so he can wind up and kick the ball as hard as he can. All in all, we are planning for many years of preparing for, driving to, photographing and watching sports. We have a couple of good chairs, cellphones, bags for various equipment including water supply and treats. We will work on the parent t-shirts. Still no mini-van. We will go down kicking and screaming before we get a mini-van.
- (Bottom, right) Our new house addition has been delayed, delayed, delayed from rain, rain, rain. We are living without a kitchen. Mostly we miss the sink.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
What's more important, Mom loves her "new home." She hasn't been happier in six months, since the unfortunate falls last spring that put her through a series of challenges and discouraging circumstances. The sparkle has returned to her eyes, she is cheerful and surrounded by a wonderful staff as well as alert and interesting neighbors who are well-matched to her present needs and level of independence. Linda and Ron Letnes found this place and mother is thrilled. (Click on these photos for startling detail in the prayer shawl gift mom is inspecting. I think BeeAnn and Shortie Olson gave it to her but I am not sure.)
Soon Becky and Linda will descend on her new apartment and give it some homey touches. The place is loaded with well-done common spaces -- day rooms, a theater, dining rooms -- big and little, family rooms.
The food was good, served by cheerful assistants, and there were seconds for anyone who wanted them. (Stan and Gertie, "yes, please"-- "none for Mom, thank you") .
We sang the table grace this morning. It was great hearing Mom singing "Be Present at Our Table, Lord," sweetly and right on key, as always.
There may be an issue, however. We always sing the last line of the song: "May Feast in Paradise With Thee." But others were singing "May Always in Thy Service Be." Mother and I will look into this. We are not sure yet, but we suspect the Methodists.
Friday, August 24, 2007
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
We had a very sweet waiter named Mike. He had a MVP pin on (most valuable player???) and said he had moved to Minnesota with his girlfriend. He was very attentive and nice and the type of person who makes a customer return to a restaurant. He took our picture and I took his and promised to make him a star on the Rolfsrud blog. Thanks, Mike.
We're not sure how close brother Virgil lives to Mr. Austin, but we're pretty sure he didn't cough up for the $1,000 ticket, or the $14,000 fee to be named "host."
Let's see, between the bridge collapse, Hiway 212 construction, wet roads, maintenance just about everywhere, and now the presidential motorcade, it would probably be a good day to just stay home.
Monday, August 20, 2007
Hello from St. Goar (San Gwaah), Germany. We're on the Rhein (Rhine), climbed to Rheinfels Castle this morning. At 1:15, we meet at the train station to go to Bacharach for a walk around the medieval town and gelato (Italian influences everywhere). We'll go home by way of a boat upriver.
Nice internet cafe here so thought I'd check for messages.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
We did get about 6 inches. In fact, for us, the rain couldn't have been better.
We just planted about 50 more shrubs and perennials in the past several days so they all appreciate the soaking. The first inch of rain came down slowly over the whole day yesterday which was perfect. During the night and off and on this morning we have had downpours, but we are high and dry where we are situated.
Unfortunately some people at lower elevations may not have appreciated it so much, although the numerous flood retention ponds installed in the last two decades around Mankato and the "Great Concrete River Wall" along the Minnesota River protect most of Mankato.
Other places along the various southern Minnesota rivers and up and downstream from Mankato on the Minnesota River will probably be feeling it today.
Thanks for checking up on us though.
Saturday, August 18, 2007
Here is the translation, courtesy Erik Erickson, Linda's son-in-law. That's a photo of the family below, Erik, Shana and Anja in Vancouver. Words in brackets are Erik's comments.
In ancestors footsteps in the north
Caption: The weather gods were on Solveig Rolfsrud Shearer and her husband Bill’s side as they walked in their ancestors footsteps – The nature is beautiful up here they both said.
Solveig Rolfsrud Shearer and her husband Bill came from California to walk in Solveig’s ancestors footsteps in the north. Solveig was raised in North Dakota and this was her second visit to Norway.
“I am so happy to see where I come from,” said Solveig, but she also says that she considers herself American, as that was how her parents raised her.
Early in the 1700s Claus Christian Heide went from Borsa in South Trondelag to Hadsel to become a teacher. He had studied to be a priest in Copenhagen, but when he lost a foot in an accident, that dream was shattered. A priest at that time had to be free of deformities [unblemished, faultless]. Thus he traveled to Nordland as a school teacher. He then moved to Kasfjord and established a family there with three sons. This is the beginning of the Heide family’s ancestry in Nordland og Troms [these are both counties in Northern Norway].
Solveig’s grandmother was Rebekka Heide, who emigrated from Grytoya in 1901. Solveig’s father is Erling Rolfsrud. He is a well known author with Norwegian Americans. He wrote a total of 31 books and wrote many stories which were published in newspapers in Minnesota.
“I am so happy that my grandmother Rebekka understood that my father needed to go to school and develop his talent,” tells Solveig on the ferry dock out to Grytoya.
Solveig and Bill had visited relatives from Grytoya that her father and uncle visited in the 1960s. Since then the families have remained in contact.
“Now we are on our way to Hadsel and Lofoten before we return home” smiles Solveig who was treated both to fresh fish cakes [think of a patty that resembles meatloaf, only white. It’s not actually cake] and lefsa from her relatives.
“Going fishing was the best,” laughs Solvieg as she tells how she caught a big Torsk [cod].
There's a Powwow tonight at Mystic Lake, and tomorrow the Marystown Festival. Lots to do in the rain if you like that sort of thing.
This event took place in the area where our Grandmother Rebecca dried cod to earn her passage to America. So that there is no confusion, that is Cousin Arne Johan Norheim in the photo above, and Sosie is not related to the Gorton's fisherman.)
On the island of Grytoi, beyond where Rebecca Heide’s nephew Brede lived and just down the hill from her niece Anne Katrine, is the sea house of Arne Johan and Tove Norheim. They live in Harstad and use the sea house for weekend hiking, hunting, and fishing.
Below the living quarters is the boat garage, where we selected layers of clothing, first the warm layer and then the waterproof layer. There is much preparation, and hilarity, before we board the boat, but should we be hungry, we can grab a dried cod off the wall for a quick snack. (One ounce is sufficient, providing about 17 grams of protein, and a half hour of chewing.)
The day is cloudy but not windy, just perfect. The boat has a wheel for lowering a line, which has multiple hooks off leader lines. This is more efficient than the fishing pole. Marita Norheim, 16, is experienced with fishing and takes the wheel while Bill handles the pole. They catch several small fish, which Arne says we’ll keep as backup, in case we don’t do any better. We do not want to return empty handed, for his mother, Anne Katrine, would like to serve a fish dinner tonight.
Marita does do better, bringing in a huge cod. She turns over the wheel to Bill and settles back to text message her friends.
I am as happy as I think possible in the bow, enjoying the beauty all around, wondering about my grandmother and how she adjusted from this life on the sea to life on the prairie. But they insist I try my hand at fishing, and I am glad they did.
We return with our bounty, clean it, and turn it over to Anne Katrine. She prepares a traditional meal of boiled fish and potatoes with special liver gravy. We raise our akevitt glasses and "Skål" our good luck on the Norwegian Sea.
Friday, August 17, 2007
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
This trip, we’re off to the forest to see how they lumber a century after Nils last watched. Stein, Bill, and Arne lead the way (top) while Erik and I take our time through the ferns. (right) Deep in the woods, the Timberjack waited.
Bill and I were privileged to ride shotgun. We held the grips as the cab moved in 3D over the wheels stabilized (I think) on the hillside. From our perch, we could watch Stein’s joysticks and the computer screen.
The computer calculates angles for felling the tree without damaging neighbors, measures the diameter and length of the tree, and given today’s prices for type of wood and type of use, calculates cost-efficient cuts. At the end of the day, it totes up the inventory in dimensions and kroner.
The machine cuts the tree, picks it up, shreds off the branches, cuts off lengths, and places the logs in convenient lots for the truck to pick up. Optionally, the ends of the logs can be marked with a shot of paint, red for building materials, blue for paper pulp, and so on.
Norwegians are so neat, aren’t they?
The operator, by the way, makes more decisions in one minute than a fighter pilot. And particularly difficult work is clearing trees on either side of a power line. (right)
Postscript by Stan: Our grandfather, Nils Rolfsrud, worked briefly during one winter at a logging camp in northern Minnesota around 1902. The conditions were bad, of course, and everything was done by men and horses. Stein's timberjack probably does more in one season than an entire camp of lumber men.
Below is a video of the Rolfsrud machine at work. Click to play.
You wonder what Nils would think of all this. The machine is the true Paul Bunyan.