Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Bully, bully! Now, make the birdie

What could be better than golfing with your brothers on a perfect day on the most beautiful golf course in North Dakota? Well, perhaps sinking the birdie putt would make it better.
Stan, Steve and Virg Rolfsrud played the Bully Pulpit Golf Course in the Theodore Roosevelt National Park recently as part of the prestigious Golf Oil Tour. The signature hole is No. 15, described in glowing terms by Golf Digest, who picked the Bully Pulpit as the best new affordable course a couple years ago.
Stan brought along his $150 video camera and would have shaved had he known he'd get a closeup.
Two minutes.

I realize it's a summerweight seersucker, mom . . .

But wouldn't my halter-top and shorts be more appropriate today?The neighbors put Cuddles in a dress this morning. We reserve editorial comment for Jay Leno.
(Yes, Cuddles is actually a dog. Don't tell her parents that.)

Wednesday Ladies League

A pitching wedge is just the thing for a chip off grandpa's block.

Go down two miles, hang a right

They're looking for oil on the Rolfsrud homestead in western North Dakota. Recently the Rolfsrud brothers visited their cousin Harold to learn the basics of Bakken Shale oil technology. Thirty-five years ago, Harold taught them farming when they were hired hands on the Rolfsrud spread near Keene.
Six minutes.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

We golf at Steve's with Tucson neighbors

Steve hosted his brother, Dick Robertson and Dick Krueger for a round of golf at Terrace View in Mankato Friday. It was raining buckets (2.5 inches) when Dick, Dick and Stan departed Shakopee. But when we got to Mankato, the clouds miraculously parted and we had a dry 18 holes, followed by Steve's All-American burgers and potato salad at the house.
Robertson and Krueger are faithful winter-time golfing companions in Tucson, but they are Minnesotans during the summer. It was great seeing them again and, remarkably, great taking a couple dollars off them, as Robertson always insists on some kind of side game.
Today when I sat down to send Steve a note of gratitude for a lovely morning of golf, I found the following note in the inbox from a Mr. Krueger. It is an old joke, often retold, and it seems now as good a time as any to repeat it.

An American golfer playing in Ireland hooked his drive into the woods. Looking for his ball, he found a little Leprechaun flat on his back, a big bump on his head and the golfer's ball beside him. Horrified, the golfer got his water bottle from the cart and poured it over the little guy, reviving him.
'Arrgh! What happened?' the Leprechaun asked. 'Oh, I see. Well, ye got me fair and square. Ye get three wishes, so whaddya want?'
'Thank God, you're all right!' the golfer answers in relief. 'I don't want anything. I'm just glad you're okay, and I apologize. I really didn't mean to hit you.'
And the golfer walks off.
'What a nice guy,' the Leprechaun says to himself. 'But it was fair and square that he got me, and I have to do something for him. I'll give him the three things I would want - a great golf game, all the money he ever needs and a fantastic sex life.'
A year goes by (as it does in stories like this) and the American golfer is back. On the same hole, he again hits a bad drive into woods and the Leprechaun is there waiting for him.
'Twas me that made ye hit the ball here,' the little guy says. 'I just want to ask ye, how's yer golf game?'
'My game is fantastic!' the golfer answers. 'In fact, that's the first bad ball I've hit in a year! I'm an internationally famous golfer now.' He adds, 'By the way, it's good to see you're all right.'
'Oh, I'm fine now, thankee. I did that fer yer golf game, ya know. And tell me, how's yer money situation?'
'Why, it's just wonderful!' the golfer states. 'I win fortunes in golf. If I need cash, I just reach in my pocket and pull out $100 bills I didn't even know were there!'
'I did that fer ye also. And tell me, how's yer sex life?'
The golfer blushes, turns his head away in embarrassment, and says shyly, 'It's OK.'
'C'mon, c'mon now,' urged the Leprechaun, 'I'm wanting to know if I did good job. How many times a day?'
Blushing even more, the golfer looks around then whispers, 'Once, sometimes twice a week.'
'What?!?!' responds the Leprechaun in shock. 'That's all? Only once or twice a week?!'
'Well,' says the golfer, 'I figure that's not bad for a Catholic priest in a small parish.'

Friday, July 25, 2008

Ardis Wells' family checks in

Not long ago we featured a video and story of Ardis Wells, who lives at the Clearwater Suites, down the hall from our 88-year-old mother, Beverly.

We were delighted this week to receive communications from Ms. Wells' extended family. Apparently our note and movie came to their attention.

Her Grand-niece wrote:
Ardis Wells did in fact raise Huskies and race them in dog sled races. She actually wrote a book about it too. She may have a copy if you ask her. She also for many years had a female wolf she used to breed with her Huskies. I was much too young to remember the names of her dogs, but I do remember a many pictures of her dogs. They were her pride and joy! I know she misses them dearly. She was also inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame a few years back. She performed on the guitar and sang. She did rather well for being extremely hard of hearing! I am so pleased that you have written this and posted it, thank you!
Thank you for posting the video. Ardis is my Great Aunt, and I don't get to see her much, so having a video of her is great! I am sending this link to my mom and siblings. I am sure she will forward it on to her brother and sister. I believe Ardis is our last living relative from my Grandpa. Thanks again!
Heather Swan
Her Niece wrote:
Ardis had the first all-girls' band, the Rhythm Ranch Pals and a regionally famous band that played at the Flame in Minneapolis for 20 years. She played at the Grand Ol' Opry, toured with country stars like Tex Ritter. wrote and recorded music, raised award-winning Huskies, is in Rock/Country Hall of Fame, and raced sled dogs.

Lorlee starts her retirement project early

Our family friend, Lorlee Bartos, has introduced an interesting blog. Lorlee grew up with us in rural Alexandria, MN. Go have a look at her unusual project. It is called "Dear Annie... "

Lorlee explains:

My great Aunt Annie Bartos lived with her twin Uncle Wencil until his death at 83 and then lived by herself until she died at 90 in 1983. She was a collector. One walked between boxes in her house. Among this treasure is a collection of about 700 postcards from about 1910 to 1924. It is my goal to share them with her descendants and with the world.

Click on:

Thursday, July 24, 2008

From time to time the author of this site is accused of hyperbole, playing loose with the facts, prevarication, exaggeration, giving out too much information and lying. Sometimes it is best to just let the pictures do the writing, avoid the controversy and let others determine their own facts. This might be one of those times.

This just in on Ford and Jenn!

Just when we were discussing the appropriateness of using the term "knocked up," on the internet, these pictures appeared on the brand new Ford and Jenn blog, easing all our fears of being over-the-top on this topic. Apparently true joy has no such bounds. Details on this blessed event are now available 24/7 at
We're so happy.

Yippee! Ford and Jenn are PeeGEE!

There's a bun in the oven over at the Ford and Jenn Rolfsruds. A baby is expected in January. Ultrasound evidence yesterday. Excitement all day today!
This would be the first grandchild for Steve and Nancy Rolfsrud. Congratulations, Ford and Jen.
We will post the ultrasound pixs when Stan's email machine starts working again.

(Photos: Ford and Jen shared a laugh at Uncle Stan and Aunt Kathleen's with Missy Blethen and Emily last Christmas.)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Grandma and Grandpa's responsiblity

Tractor envy gripped the Rolfsrud boys when they saw Ty Rolfsrud, 13, fifth generation Rolfsrud farmer, driving the John Deere of their dreams.

Envy came during this week's Golf Oil Tour, when the three sons of Beverly and Erling Rolfsrud putted golf balls into 54 North Dakota cups, then inspected the raw beginnings of a 55th hole to be drilled on their immigrant grandparents' homestead.

Grandmother and Grandfather Nils and Rebecca Rolfsrud were required to annually turn the soil on their desolate western North Dakota claim, or forfeit the land to the government. Their struggle has ended, but five generations later, Rolfsruds still work that same soil. This week the original homestead dirt was scuffed by 13-year-old Ty Rolfsrud, running a mammoth tractor that would dwarf the model driven by Erling and Beverly's boys when they tilled that soil 35 years ago as summer hired hands at the Rolfsrud farm. And, of course, the behemoth would have satisfied Grandma and Grandpa's original annual commitment in just a matter of minutes.

Video is 1 minute and 30 seconds.

Guided tour

We're home again.
Somehow, without benefit of paper maps or coaching from wives, the three Golf Oil Tour participants successfully navigated 1000 miles of rugged western terrain and arrived home safely last night, right on schedule, exactly 55 holes later. Failing memories were assisted by the gentle but firm female voice of Mrs. Garmin, Virg's trusty navigation device mounted on the dashboard, above. Biggest obstacles proved to be bugs on the windshield, ably dispatched here by the tour squeegee man.
We found Mother to be in great spirits with good energy and outlook, and enjoyed our luncheon with her in the private dining room Saturday, sharing the excitement of coming events.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Tall ships coming to Linda and Ron's lake

Linda and Ron will have a ringside seat if they want it for the tall ships visit to the Duluth harbor in a couple of weeks. Usually the Letneses travel to Europe to do their sight-seeing, but this time they can stay put to see an international treat.
The ships come Aug. 1 - 3, just days before Sosie Shearer arrives from California for her week-long sojourn.
Despite soaring gas prices, tourists will flock up I-35 to see and tour the ships during their three day layover in the storied harbor. Hotels and motels are already sold out. It is part of Minnesota's low-key 150th anniversary celebration.
The Pride of Baltimore II, from its namesake city, and the U.S. Brig. Niagara of Erie, Pa., will stop in Duluth on their 10-city tour of the Great Lakes. These two War of 1812-style reconstructions will be joined by other maritime visitors for a three-day festival of music, entertainment and food with a focus on the maritime history of Duluth and the Great Lakes.
The third ship is the Schooner Madeline, a reconstruction of a Great Lakes vessel that sailed the upper Great Lakes 150 years ago.
The Pride of Baltimore II, with its working cannons, was commissioned in 1988. It succeeded the original Pride of Baltimore, which sank in a white squall off Puerto Rico in 1986, taking her captain and three crew members down with her.
The Niagara was also built in 1988. It has propulsion engines and modern navigation equipment, but without modern amenities. During the summer, Niagara is sailed by a crew of 16 professionals, supplemented by 20 trainees willing to live out of a duffel bag.
The ships will be in the Duluth Harbor Aug. 1-3. Public tours are scheduled. Visit or call 1-218-727-4344 for details.

St. Paul Katie hoses So. Mpls. gang

Big winner in the Saturday night poker blow-out at Kristi and Shel Anderson's last night was St. Paul Katie. Deceptive, consistent play yielded good results and this morning Suburban Stan, who stayed behind to clean the garage and research an art deco design for its wall, will enjoy breakfast at Stonebrooke, courtesy of the six players who donated $100 to Katie's winnings.

Katie took particular joy in besting Da Professor's trey trips bid with her three lucky 7s.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Severe thunderstom hits Shakopee area

Heavy rains, damaging winds and hail swept through Shakopee at 1 p.m. today. The Rolfsruds are fine. Trees are down and water is standing about, but we're sure it wasn't catastrophic enough to cause the cancellation of Men's League this afternoon. Life goes on.
Conditions leading up to the event were most ominous. Stan needs no weather channel. He reads the natural signs: the sky turned a sickly green and Kathleen, always in tune to this kind of thing, carried her new purse on her shoulder as she scurried about closing the windows.

And He Shall Gather the Lambs. . .

When Mother and Dad had their 40th wedding anniversary in 1981, their children and grandchildren gathered at their garage in Farwell to paint a frieze on its wall. Here is a vintage film of this event, shot in 8mm, then transferred to VHS analog, then transferred again and edited in digital technology. Remarkably, there's still enough of the original images to carry the essence of the event, especially when coupled with Mom singing Handel's "He Shall Feed His Flock." Mom was 61 when these pictures were made. About a dozen years later she recorded the music.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Bakken Shale report

This is not Farmer Mathistad of MacKenzie County. It is Farmer Rolfsrud of MacKenzie County. We don't know Farmer Mathistad, but he is probably not baling hay today.
If you happen to know Farmer Mathistad of MacKenzie County, now would be a good time to call on him. His oil well came in on July 4. It now pumps over a thousand barrels of black gold a day. You do the math. If his royalty is at 15 percent, and a barrel is worth $120 or so, well. . . .

The upcoming Rolfsrud 55-Hole Golf Oil expedition to inspect the western reaches of North Dakota and research Mom's vague possibilities has gained intensity.

Here's the press account of the Mathistad strike:
(Sanish and Three Forks are east of the Rolfsrud homestead)
ENID, Okla., July 9
Continental Resources, Inc. (NYSE: CLR - News) today announced initial results from its Mathistad 1-35H well completed in the Three Forks/Sanish formation in the North Dakota Bakken Shale area. The McKenzie County well, in which Continental has a 40% working interest, is the second that the Company has completed in the Three Forks/Sanish formation in North Dakota.

"The Mathistad 1-35H commenced production on July 4, 2008 and has flowed at an average rate of 1,095 barrels of crude oil equivalent per day, with 90 percent of production being crude oil and 10 percent natural gas," said Harold Hamm, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for Continental Resources. "This is a second positive data point in our effort to determine whether the Three Forks/Sanish formation is a separate oil-producing reservoir not drained by a horizontal well completion in the Middle Bakken zone above it. If the Three Forks/Sanish proves to be a separate reservoir, it would add significant incremental reserves to the Bakken play."
On May 20, 2008 the Company reported that its first Three Forks/Sanish well, the Bice 1-29H, had flowed at an average rate of 693 barrels of crude oil equivalent per day in its initial week of production. The Mathistad 1-35H was drilled 23 miles north northwest of the Bice well. At the site of the Mathistad 1-35H, the top of the Three Forks/Sanish formation lies approximately 75 feet beneath the base of the Upper Bakken shale. Previous to the Bice and Mathistad wells, Continental typically completed its North Dakota Bakken wells with the well bore drilled approximately eight feet below the base of the Upper Bakken shale, in the Middle Bakken zone.
Continental is the largest leaseholder in the Bakken Shale play, with approximately 500,000 acres in North Dakota and Montana. The majority of its acreage runs north-to-south along the Nesson Anticline in North Dakota.

Here's a photograph taken near Robinson, No. Dak. in 1926, when Erling Rolfsrud was about 14 years old. Gasoline had been discovered in the town well the previous year. The Robinson Development Company formed to investigate oil prospects. A.C. Townley developed an oil drilling operation by 1926 but it ceased within several years without any major oil being discovered.

"The derrick shown is equipped with a 20 inch core drill. The bunk house, where about 200 people can be accommodated with sleeping quarters and the cook house where several hundred can be fed at one time are seen in the center and right of the picture. For many months several hundred people gathered weekly to listen to Townley's story at this camp."
Fargo Forum, March 4, 1926, p. 1.

This North Dakota episode is just another in a long list of disappointments that helps us to understand why Norwegians are the way they are.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Happy Birthday, Al Jerdee

Al Jerdee celebrated his birthday last year at the Rolfsrud Reunion in western North Dakota. Not sure what he did today, but there were doubtless fewer in-laws involved. Above, Al and Stan (b. July 5) posed for last year's co-birthday celebration at the Don and Karen Kirmis "cabin" on the banks of the Missouri River in western North Dakota. Setting up the shot is Al's wife, Becky, who does this sort of thing professionally. Stan will be returning to the area with his brothers, Virg and Steve, in two weeks, as part of the renown "Golf Oil Open." Full and in-depth coverage here, of course.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Hunter tastes a lime. . .

Hunter Underwood of Des Moines, Iowa, reacted to a slice of lime during weekend family festivities. Hunter is the son of Amy and Dave Underwood. Amy is Stan's niece. Check the Jerdee blog, linked below.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

$50,000 prize winning cake finished off

Neighbors joined Stan in celebrating his 61st by eating slices of Kathleen's Chocolate Praline layer cake. Mmm. Very moist.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Mystic Fireworks

Our neighbors, the Mystic Lake Casino, blow up a ton of fireworks every Fourth of July. Our neighbor, Carla, bought some fireworks from Cub Foods and blew them up last night in the yard. This two-minute video combines the big-time casino fireworks extravaganza and the fine piano stylings of Stan's nephew. Listen closely for Carla's cameo on the soundtrack.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Whose Broad Stripes and Bright Stars. . .

Emily Kathleen sports her Fourth of July outfit in a burst of flag-waving that would be the envy of any politician. You can bet that, if she had a lapel, there would be at least two flag pins on it.

Dinner with the neighbors

Last night we had dinner with the neighbors. Here's a clip of the event filmed by Kathleen.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


Blake Underwood and his aunt, Kim Jerdee, above, banged around in a bumper car last weekend at Adventureland near Des Moines. They were joined by ace drivers Adam Jerdee, left, and Dave Underwood, below, and other family members. See a blow by blow account of the big kids day on the Jerdee blog, linked below.