Lake Poinsett Nostalgia

Photo Challenge

What kinds of experiences stir emotions for the past within you?

Lake Poinsett Nostalgia

The word that was suggested for the one-word prompt recently was nostalgia. It was a photo challenge, but the photos I’m using here are not current. The beautiful lake named Lake Poinsett in northeastern South Dakota is where I will take you on my nostalgia trip. I was born in 1940 and grew up witnessing many changes at the lake. With this post I hope to take a short trip back down memory lane and recall different things about Lake Poinsett. It has seen dramatic changes in usage, population, residences, year around homes, food, drink, bait and tackle places and a multitude of water level changes.

We lived on a farm less than a mile south of the lake, our paremts were Frank and Frances Olson. We spent a lot of time either fishing or swimming in our lives. Our great uncle Simon Hoel built a stone house on the hill just east of the park in 1885, part of it still stands. My grandfather Andrew Olson helped him farm the land.



There was virgin prairie grass for a mile along the south shore of the lake. Simon and my grandfather cut hay from it for forty years. There is a beautiful state park on that land today, trees and campgrounds everywhere.

There were few original trees, mostly growing along the shoreline. A wagon trail can still be seen in places, it went to the east boundary fence and on for another mile to the Hendrickson farm, what is now Runia’s place. There were no homes or cabins on any of that land.

Just to the west of the State Park property, there was a very lively, noisy dance hall named Smith’s place. It flourished  in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It was a very lively dance hall, where many big name bands played as they traveled through this area. We knew Charlie Smith the owner and his family very well. Their daughter baby sit the three Olson boys on occasion. Karlton, Harlan and Leland. My brother Harlan was a banker, writer and collector of artifacts who helped start the Museum at the state park entrance. Harlan loved every minute of it, even the many volunteer hours. He passed away on March 8, 2016. I can see him searching for artifacts on old Heavenly terrain now. I would imagine there are some very nice artifacts to be found near those streets of gold.

Smith’s dance hall and the property was all sold to the Methodist Church. When they bought the property they may have become the first church to have a beer license. The original dance hall building still stand on that stretch of shoreline. Today it is used as a dining hall, that says something for old-time construction.. Just to the west of Smith’s place was Arlington Beach. It was run by a lady named Ann Oburn when we were kids. It was then purchased by Russ Weiland and his wife who operated it for many years. Russ was possibly the original Evinrude Johnson dealer in this part of the country. His daughter and son-in-law relocated Weiland Marine, which is now on Highway 81.

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This picture is of the Lake Poinsett water slide in the 1920’s. I think it was located at Arlington Beach, as far as I can tell from looking at the Hills and the trees in the background. I will be glad to edit this story and change the location if it is wrong. Ann Oburn had a few rental cabins, cafe and bait house. West from there were only two or three houses until you got to the little hill top farm with the goats. There were only two cabins between there and Mundt’s Resort. They had several small cabins that they rented out. There was a farm between Mundt’s resort and what is now Pier 81.

There was another dance hall on Highway 81 just north of the corner by the Poinsett Cemetery, next to Ann Engals Place.  Ernie Edwards moved a building to the lake and started Edwards resort, possibly in the late 40s early 50s. Then on the west side of the lake there was a resort called Sportsmans Lodge, it burned down. A very long large building with a restaurant, I believe they also had cabins and rooms in the lodge that they rented out. What is now Lakeview Resort was a small resort opened by Ole Mikelmier. It later became Fish Haven, home of the famous Carp Sandwich, then Lakeview.

When you crossed the inlet from Lake Albert going north there were a few houses, one near the Hansen farm corner. There were a couple west of Grapes farm. The first home built on Grapes Point was built in the 1950s. From Grapes Point Northeast to Saarainens point there were no homes. That land was later purchased by the state and the state sold some property in later years. From Saarainens Point North there were a few homes because it was close to the highway.

Nittebergs Resort was just east of the Stonebridge. That road washed out west of the bridge in the spring of 1969 as flood waters came in from the river and Dry Lake. Nitteburgs must have had a couple dozen summer cabins that they rented out. They also had some carnival rides in the summer months and afternoon roller skating in the dance hall. The dance hall was built over the lake at one time, but ice damage made them move it back to shore. It was a family run business.The brothers John and Clair maintained most jukeboxes, pinball and other game machines in a large area.

When you went east from Nittebergs, there were only one or two houses, the one right below the hill was named ‘The Mouse Turd Inn’. The resort on top of the hill was known as Jim Bagley’s place. They also had a café, fishing equipment and bait. The name was changed to the Hilltop Resort later,when owned by Louie Moralies and family.

Just down the hill east from the hilltop resort, there were three or four homes before you got to Hammers pasture and to the outlet of Lake Poinsett, that led to Starks Bridge where gates were installed. There have been several fish winter kill years when oxygen in the lake got so low most of the fish died. There has been dead fish in windrows around the lake. The worst spring brought out the National Guard with front end loaders, trucks and lots of shovels.

The Bakke farm and Cemetery took up most of the east shore. Two home were on the hill overlooking Prestrude’s Landing. Goulds opened a beer and bait place there in the late forties but it didn’t last. The next mile of shoreline was only recently developed by the Hansen family. Going south from the Hansen development to Hendricksons  or Runia’s there was two cabins.

This has been a rather selfish nostalgic trip around Lake Poinsett. I’m really to young to have nostalgia for the water slide or for the swimming attire. So actually I feel a lot younger by taking this trip back just a few years before my time. I thought I would like to share these memories of Lake Poinsett while I’m still able to share them.The changes at Lake Poinsett are hard to imagine, if you didn’t witness them. The number of very large homes today must reflect great prosperity in the country?

At night the lake was darker than pitch, this was in 1945, before REA, no all night lights, no lights period. We played cards with light from a kerosens lamp. The country nights were a whole lot darker, the small glow in the sky to the west, was Lake Norden’s lights, to the east was Estelline. You could barely make out a tiny glow for Brookings, that was a long ways off. Nights were a bonus for ghosts and goblins in those days.  Can you imagine going back to live in those times?


Swimming attire has gone from one extreme to another throughout the centuries. In classical antiquity swimming and bathing were done naked. The swimming suits here from the 1920’s seem a wee bit extreme, under exposed skin I would say. Now close to 100 years later we saw, peered, our way through the teeny polka dot bikini era, we are almost back to swimming in the nude again.

What goes around comes around, with nostalgia or Murphy’s Law.

My Winter of Discontent



Share an image evocative of the weather or represent the current “season of your life” in metaphor.

For those of us who reside on a area of the globe where there are four weather seasons. We should feel very blessed and fortunate. Living where there are four seasons we have the appreciation of springtime when all new life starts fresh, everything is growing. Then we move into the summer months when the temperatures increase and life becomes even more active in all the animals and plants. Fall arrives and the life span of many things draws to a close. Harvesting is done, garden produce is canned or stored in preparation for the long, cold winter months that are coming. If the winter season arrives and you are not prepared, it can be a tough long period of time waiting for the arrival of a new warm  spring season.

Preparation for winter is something that has to be done by both people and animals, domestic and wild. A winter supply of feed must be made ready for domestic animals.Critters like the muskrat and squirrel store up food to get them through the long winter months when food becomes harder to find. If the snow gets deep many animals simply starve to death because they can’t find what they need to survive on.

Man and natures creatures must all prepare for winter long before it arrives. Wild animal understand preparation for winter is a serious undertaking that might mean survival. Preparation for life’s winter means getting ready for the end of life as we know it. Thoughts of where will you spend eternity are pondered and hopefully decided.

Man also must prepare himself and his family for the winter months when the temperatures are freezing and the snow covers everything with a heavy white blanket and a coating of ice. The person who doesn’t have his fire wood gathered in preparation for winter, usually only does it once. You do not want to be digging in the snow banks trying to find fire wood in the cold of winter. It is much easier to have the firewood stacked in a neat pile near the house long before winter arrives.

You will be sure to have your house ready for winters frigid blasts too. Storm windows on, seal cracks around windows and doors. You will be much warmer and more comfortable when the wind attempts to make a snowdrift under your door. Garden produce should have all been harvested, canned in jars or stored in a root cellar, to sustain you during the long winter months. These are all ideas of things you do in preparation for winter on the South Dakota Prairies.. Preparations for winter that I just described here are for someone like myself, living in the last generation. We don’t want to go back to those days, but stuff happens.

The modern man living in the city has far less worries about winter preparation. Just close the window and turn the thermostat up or down depending on what his comfort zone is. He also has to depend on trips to the market to get what he needs as far as food supplies.

As we enter the winter of our lives, our tired old bodies are just about ready for that final harvest. How do we plan for that? I really don’t think it would be wise to try and plan for that inevitable time. Don’t just sit and wait for it. You want to continue to exercise your body to keep your strength up. Try to stay active mentally, so you stay alert and stay as healthy as you can. The body starts to slow down, pain makes you tired all the time. You must press on and make the most of each new day.

We actually spend most of our lives planning for winter, hoping to get through the winter, because it tests our resolve. The knowledge that spring is coming, with abundant new life gives hope. The first meadow lark sitting on a fence post, sent there to sing just for you, is a reward of spring. Is this the last winter of my life? Will I see another spring? I do not want to know, just relax, look out the window, or at the computer screen and make the most of this winter’s days.

Blog or Bust


Today’s assignment: write and publish a “who I am and why I’m here” post on your blog.

My first assignment posted at Blogging University, Blogging 101, is introduce myself to the world.

Hello World, “My name is Leland Olson, I’m 75 years old so some of you know me well.” I am, “Really glad to be here, or anywhere in this world.” I decided a half a dozen years ago to make an attempt at writing, not realizing it at the time that it was called blogging. I love life, humor has always been a great friend of mine.

My reason for deciding to blog was my deteriorating physical condition. It has continued to get worse, now I am almost a full-time blogger. Don’t get out much anymore. Life is playing out in slow motion for me. My life experiences have been extremely varied. I have had many different types of jobs. I found writing about my life experiences has supplied my writing with plenty of fuel so far. I will probably attempt several different writing venues, one thing I have learned, “Truth is much stranger than fiction.” My photographic skills have not surfaced yet, will have to work on that for photo blogs.

At one time I thought about having a private blog and decided against it. I’ve come to realize if I can share my life experiences with others and if even one person is helped by something I have written. I will feel it has been a worthwhile adventure. I am a 50+ year survivor of a severe spinal cord injury. That alone gives me plenty to write about. There are other people out there who have suffered from spinal cord injury, if they want to share notes on how their lives have gone. I will be very happy to share my life experiences with them. Spinal cord injury is a very nasty thing that usually affects each individual in different ways, but always leaves disabling consequences.

I started blogging at WordPress in September of 2015 so I’m a newbie here. I have found WordPress provides excellent tools that are fairly easy to learn, I have had some problem with a few areas but there are lots of help forums to fall back on. I do think anyone choosing to blog at WordPress has found a very good place to call home. If I am still blogging here a year from now I hope to be reaching a lot more people around the world. I know doubt will try to test the waters and experiment with different areas of writing. I have made a few attempts at some fiction and found it to be challenging. Humor should remain funny. I may leave that alone.

Blogging U.

Problems Associated With Growing Old


old age.jpg


Laughter is one prescription that we can all afford. Tears of pain can be hard to overcome if the body is diseased as we grow older, but laughter sure helps. When most people start to grow old they usually wish they would’ve taken better care of their bodies when they were younger. We seem to be stuck with the physical consequences of those wild oat sowing, and those cane raising years. Thankfully some good memories can be conjured up from those early years. Much about growing old is only in our minds. We have to learn to keep our minds and bodies active as we get older. We can either dwell on that troubled old body or grin and bear it, just don’t look in the mirror too long.

Worry will never become a problem solver, not even in those senior years when we have a lot more time for it. We usually don’t consider old age troubles, until we get close to writing our last chapter in life’s book. We might as will try to make it one of the best chapters, by thinking about the good things. High sugar levels in the blood will not sweeten a sour disposition. Try telling that to someone eating a cookie, who can clearly see the light at the end of the tunnel, even through the cataracts on those old eyes.

As we get older, sharing information about our bodies, even the most private doesn’t seem to bother us. I had a cousin who started talking louder as she was losing her hearing. One day while having lunch in the local cafe she confided to a friend about how dry her vagina was. Everyone in the restaurant got the information about her discomfort, even the cook and the dishwasher back in the kitchen. When you said hello to her you would be careful not to ask, “how are you today” unless you planned on spending a lot of time listening to her reply.

Dear cousin Flo has gone home to be with the Lord but she left many memories with us. One morning she announced, “I LOST MY HEARING AID.” They could not find that hearing aid anywhere in her small apartment. She said, “I HAD IT WHEN I WENT TO BED”. Later at coffee she said, “OH MY, I thought my cat coughed up a hairball last night on my pillow and I flushed it down the toilet”. It must have been my hearing aid!

My life plan never included getting old, the idea was to stay my young, happy, carefree self until I died. I would always eat what I wanted; bacon, eggs, Sugar Pops and Fruit Loops I could never imagine bran cereal or prunes in my diet. Most digestive systems develop plans of their own, no more regular like a clock, in any time zone.

Then the old ticker develops problems. Hey Doc, what do you mean no salt? My grandfather lived to be ninety six without heart trouble and he covered everything was salt. Doc says, ‘he sure was lucky’ you have high blood pressure. Now about your new diet, no salt, carbohydrates, saturated fat, sugar, caffeine, etc. I decided to get a haircut last week, when I got in the Barber’s chair he said, “Looks like maybe your only going to need one more clean shirt.” You cut the old doctor’s hair, didn’t you?  “They aren’t supposed to talk about their patients.”

My wife asked again this morning, “Did you take your pills?” I say no and start out for that pill container with all the different compartments for each day of the week. I always get side tracked on the way to my pill box, it is about 20 feet away from my La-Z-Boy recliner. An older person can have many distractions on a long walk like that. Some days that pill trip is repeated several times and I still miss my pills. I wonder if it’s really natures way of telling me I don’t need all those pills.

I never thought I would be leaving notes for myself to remember appointments, calls to make, chores to do, etc. Now I have post-it notes all over the place, sort of like little wallpaper sheets. My hearing is still fine, one thing that I can’t understand is why my wife keeps talking lower and lower all the time. The only time I can hear her real good is when she says,”DID YOU TAKE YOUR PILLS?”

Old Computers Or Dead Mules

I have always been the one in the family to call when something needed fixing. I was blessed or (cursed) with the ability to take stuff apart and put it back together and not have a lot of parts left over, the thing usually worked afterwards too. If you’re born a tinker, it just comes natural to get stuff back in running condition, obsessed may be the correct term.

When the first computers came out I was very fascinated with how they worked and knew absolutely nothing about them. I took a home study computer repair course and joined The Computer Book Club. The following picture shows my little workshop, I had it set up in our front porch. The one wall was full of computer repair manuals from the first computers on. I had even purchased several books about writing computer code, that maxed out my mind’s memory storage capacity very quickly. My little workshop looked a bit cluttered, because it was. I knew where everything was at though. The best thing I got out of my computer repairing years was the exercise required to lift them up on the desk to work on them and then hauling them out to warehouse number one, our old chicken coup.

Lee computers
I picked up my first computer at a surplus sale at one of our colleges. It was one of the first IBM’s with the 8 bit processor no hard drive, two 5.25 inch floppy drives, the RAM was measured in kilobytes instead of megabytes. I continued to collect many older computers and got them in running condition, then stored them out at our little acreage. Why? I thought they would ever have any kind of value is a mystery to me??? Kind of like investing in dead mules! The computers didn’t stink up the place, must by why I choose them. There really will never be any demand for old PC’s except for precious scrap metal. I spent several years at this and found it to be quite rewarding and challenging. I finally started to slow down as the new technology was traveling at a much faster pace than my mind could process. The last computers I work on were the early Pentiums.

We had to sell all of our stuff and move into an apartment two years ago. That sale was probably the saddest day of my life, most of these old working computers weren’t ever bid on. They went into a huge recycling dumpster. There is a link below to the Old Computer Museum. It lists part of my old collection. I sure was proud of it even if it had no value. I guess everything that we do isn’t always done for money. What kind of a nerd gets fulfilment out of tinkering with old computers raises many questions? I expect someone in a white coat will be asking me to put square pegs in round holes soon.

The compter is the only invention of man that has continued to come down in price as it increased in the capabilities of what it can do. Today a wrist watch can process more information and handle more applications than a desktop computer did five years ago. Some of my old tower computers cost over $60,000 in the 1980’s when they were purchased new by our county government. They had 486 CPU’s and 8 MB of Ram, 220 Megabyte hard drive.There is no comparison, awesome in every sense of the word, that really goes beyond what we call awesome today. This link below will take you to a place where you can read about artificial intelligence.

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Lake Poinsett, South Dakota, USA

















Fishing was usually good.


Our old cabin

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Amber fish

Amber’s alligator !







24 lb. Northern Pike


36.5 lb. Carp


The Olson boys L/R Leland, Karlton, Harlan


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2011 was another year of high water level, wind damage.




Why I Started This Blog



My Archery Deer in 2003

I have always been the active, outdoors type, two years ago my health forced me to move into a small apartment and travel in super low gear using a walker. My active outdoor life ended, over, done, no more! I want to share my outdoor life here. My wife and I are now each others caregivers. We might remind you of “Waiting For God”, like in that old English sitcom. I started this blog to keep my mind active, reliving old memories. The urge to write is hard to explain. I have been blessed with a long life at 75 and want to share events from my life.

I quit high school in 1957 and enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. I completed jet aircraft mechanic school at Amarillo Air Force Base, Texas in 1958. I was sent to Misawa, A B, Japan in 1960, for two years. I did two months temporary duty in Thailand and became crew chief on RF-101 C number 56-080. I got out of the Air Force in 1962. I went back on highway construction and worked many jobs, from truck driver to Asphalt paving machine operator.

My job experiences changed radically after getting my back broke in 1964, I stared the ‘School of Hard Knocks.’  Did farm labor, commercial fishing through the ice, day labor, car-wash, door-to-door vacuum cleaner sales, apprentice offset press operator, insurance agent for American Republic and Mutual of Omaha, over the road refrigerated truck driver and tanker transport driver all through the 70’s.

I have always enjoyed golf, hunting, fishing, trapping, gardening and almost anything outside. As my body started slowing down I repaired computers, starting with the Apple 1, IBM 8088, 8086, up through the 286; 386; 486 and all the early Pentiums.

My goal with this blog is mainly sharing my life story with a spinal cord injury. I have been truly blessed. I also plan to share other stories that I have written, “truth is stranger than fiction.” I have some stories that are still slowly percolating on the back burner of my mind. Hopefully I can share my understanding and information with others about spinal cord injury and living the best life possible after that injury. Clicking on the following URL’s will take you to my spinal cord injury stories.

This will take you to the story about my car accident.


This will take you to the spinal cord injury zone.


Faded Memories


Daily Prompt


Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.

Faded Memories

Precious memories, how they linger. Under normal circumstances precious memories sustain our lives through good and bad and all that comes in between. The well lived life should be full of precious memories, hopefully they will out number the sad memories. Nearly one in five Americans over the age of 65 struggles with depression, which can be a debilitating and life-threatening condition. Social isolation, illness and the loss of loved ones can all trigger or worsen depression, as can certain medications.

There has always been some memory loss associated with old age. It was called dementia and it was taken for granted, it would happen to almost everyone if they lived long enough. This new modern age has brought change in medical terms, we now have what is called Alzheimer’s and it robs its victims of those precious memories that always lingered, refreshed and lifted the spirits. Caregivers take note and take heart – feelings remain even after memory  fades in Alzheimer’s patients.

This raises many questions about personalities, about memories and the loss of memories. Emotions seem to linger on well, even after memories are faded in many people’s minds. The interconnection between our memories and our emotions seems to be a very complex issue. Doctors are studying the reasons for this, while looking for cures for Alzheimer’s disease.

Faded memory is just part of getting older, we all will get it to a certain degree as we continue to age and our brains cells also age and deteriorate along with the rest of the body. We must exercise our brains too.”In order to receive a diagnosis of dementia, an individual must be impaired in two areas other than memory. Loss of memory is quite common in senior and the elderly, and is not considered to be a definitive symptom of dementia. In most cases, dementia is a progressive illness, where symptoms emerge slowly, and then significantly increase over time. Short-term memory loss may be one sign of this disease, where patients begin to misplace things,”

Culture Overload

Daily Prompt
Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.

Culture Overload

Just what do you mean, I ain’t got no culture? I got culture up to my eyebrows, but I’m still not a high brow. I was darn good at picking up paw paws down at the paw-paw patch, put them in my pocket or a basket or wherever you wanted them.

I had lots of edgecation, that raised my culture to stratospheric levels, could have been a dad burn astronaucht you might say “I was high on education for a while.” One of my professors once told me you can lead a hor to culture but you can’t make her think. He must’ve been a lot more edgecated than me, since he was trying to develope my moral faculties. Spruce up the old culture level you might say.

When you stop to think about culture, you have to wonder to yourself, “How much enlightenment and excellence of taste can one person acquire during his intellectual training. You can only absorb so much culture, until your full of it! Some is going to spill over I suppose. That will really mess with your head and cause mass confusion. If you can have mass confusion inside of one head?

I was awful sick for a while here a few months back. I had a terrible sore throat. The doctor looked me over had me say awe, stuff like that. Then he felt of my throat, squeezed on it and he says, “I better take a culture.” Doc, what do you mean take a culture?” “You gonna mess with my head?” I don’t want to lose none of my culture you know. He said, “I will send a swab to the lab, see what they got to say about having any kind of bacteria.

Here I go, still learning more, I knew absolutely nothing about people with culture having bacteria also. Life sure does get complicated at times, with all that culture and stuff crammed into your head!

Nothing Like Fish for the Holidays

It’s Not This Time of Year Without…

Nothing Like Fish for the Holidays

When my family came from Finland, Norway and Sweden to America in the late 1800’s one thing they didn’t leave behind was their love for fish. Many of them ended up settling here in South Dakota, in the midwestern part of the United States where there are many lakes. They no longer had their saltwater fish but they had a good supply of fresh water fish to satisfy their hunger. During the holiday seasons, I would imagine they were reminiscing the good days they had in the old country. They would have a special meal with their favorite fish from the old country.

My father’s family were from Norway and my mother’s family were from Finland. In our family “It’s not this time of the year without….”seemed to be all about fish.


My grandfather Andrew would send away for a whole salmon, it would come on the railroad in a box by itself. It would be salted very heavily to keep it from spoiling. The salmon was usually soaked in some water to draw out part of the salt before it was eaten. This was one holiday or winter meal made with salmon. We all truly loved it, I still enjoy eating it today. It’s a very simple recipe.

Peel some potatoes and cut them up into fairly small size pieces and chop up an onion or two. Put that in a pot of water and cook until the potatoes are almost done. Dice up some of the salmon into bite-size pieces and add it to the boiling water with the potatoes and onions, the more salmon the better. It only has to cook a very short time and then you add some milk to the soup, you don’t want to put the milk in when it’s too hot so it curdles. After you add the milk, add a generous amount of real butter to the soup. At those festive times we weren’t really concerned with clogged up arteries. In Norwegion this is called saltet laks suppe.

My grandfather Charlie Wayrynen came from a part of Finland where they had access to caviar. There was no caviar in the fish from our local lakes. The closest thing he could come up with was to take the roe or fish eggs out of a large northern pike. He put them in a crock with a lot of salt and he made his own poor man’s caviar, he enjoyed it on his bread as if he were spreading butter.



The Finnish dinner was made was salted herring. These were all male herring and salted in a very heavy salt brine. You had to soak them in water almost overnight to get the salt out to the point where you could enjoy eating the fish. These salted herring used to come in a small wooden barrel, almost every local market in this area sold these little barrels of herring. At one time there was a big demand for the fish. If you want this type of herring now, you would have to send away a long distance to find it.

This was a very simple meal, the fish was boiled after much salt had been soaked out of it. It was served on a plate with boiled potatoes and a gravy made with a lot of butter and onions, it would have a vegetable served with it. This was a very tasty meal and also a very simple meal, from a time long before fast foods. This herring specialty was called, suolattu mies silli.




Another holiday tradition, also involving fish, it is Lutefisk. It is cod fish that has been kept in barrels of lye water. It also requires much soaking in fresh water. The Norwegians also get the credit, or the blame for bringing Lutefisk to America from what I have been told. People eat it and come to love it, or vas de fibing bout dat to! Most people say, “vunce a year is yust fine.” Evidently there has to be some truth to it. I don’t think you’re going to eat that stuff just from national pride. You can boil your Lutefisk, which I prefer, or bake it in an oven. This is another fish dinner served with a lot of butter and a lot of mashed potatoes, cranberries and a vegitable. It should be served with lefse, a flat Norwegian bread rolled up similar to a tortilla.

It’s not this time of year without remembering all the loved ones who have gone on before, they helped mold us and make us what we are today.

Easy Recipes Week 39



Turkey Enchilada Casserole


1 pound chopped leftover turkey meat

3/4 cup chopped onion

1 tablespoon minced garlic, or 1 teaspoon garlic powder

minced oregano leaves or 1 tablespoon dried

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons salad oil

1 can  29 ounce enchilada sauce


12 corn tortillas

2 cups shredded jack cheese


1. In a 5 to 6 quart pan over high heat, stir turkey, onion, garlic, oregano, and cumin in oil until turkey is hot, three- four minutes. Stir in 1 cup enchilada sauce. Add salt to taste.

2. Meanwhile, cut tortillas in half. Arrange a fourth of the halves evenly over the bottom of a shallow 3 quart casserole, overlapping to fit. Sprinkle a fourth of the cheese evenly over the tortillas, then top with a third of the turkey mixture and a fourth of the remaining enchilada sauce, spread each level. Repeat to make two more layers of tortillas, cheese, turkey mixture and sauce; top with another layer of tortillas and sauce, then cheese

3. Bake in a 425° until cheese is melted and casserole is hot in the center, 18 to 20 minutes. Top with cilantro to taste.

Thanksgiving Day


Thanksgiving Day

This picture was taken at my grandparents home on Thanksgiving Day 1937, a few years before eight of us cousins were even born.
I would like to share some of my recollections of Thanksgiving day at my grandparents home. Andrew and Minnie Olson lived in a very small farm house, near Lake Poinsett, South Dakota, USA. Grandma always had about two dozen people for Thanksgiving dinner. She would set up a long table in the dining living room area and another long table in the kitchen. I don’t know how she seated that many people but she figured out a way to do it.

One thing about grandmother Minnie she never sat down to eat with the family. She was always busy bringing food to the table and doing the serving. Everyone had a very memorable banquet at her Thanksgiving meals. They later moved to a different farm, the house there wasn’t a lot bigger but the Thanksgiving dinners continued their for many more years.

I recall at their old farm the snow being so deep we could slide from the edge of the house roof, down long snowbanks. There weren’t enough sleds for all the kids so we also slid on scoop shovels. It was a very fast, exciting, crooked ride on a big old scoop shovel.

Another memory of Thanksgiving day was after dinner and everyone was done with their pie and other desserts, names were drawn for giving Christmas presents. Christmas Eve was at our house. The tree with real candles was an unforgettable memory. This was in the days before electricity, real candles were used on the Christmas trees. Christmas day dinner was held at Edwin and Alice Wayrynen’s home. A large two story house, room for kids to run, there was a bunch of kids.

During the war years many of the aunts and uncles were home on leave for different holidays. Families seem to have been much closer back in those days, lifestyles were different, everything moved at a slower pace. It sure was a peaceful loving relationship in most families. Or people faked it real good!
Happy Thanksgiving Day to everyone.

Stone Boat




Stone Boat

When the last glacier slowly moved across this part of North America it left behind millions of tons of building material. That was in the form of field stones, there was every size, shape, or description imaginable. The engineer who wanted to build a building with fieldstone could turn his architecture talents loose. Before mortar mix was available, the combination of different stones was held together with a mortar that was made from local limestone and sand that they dug out. One part of limestone to three parts of sand.

The early pioneers had no equipment to move these rocks to their building location. This is when the old stone boat was invented. The rocks were loaded onto the stone boat and horses or oxen would pull the stoneboat back to the building location. Most all of the area here in America’s upper Midwest has plenty of rocks per acre, they usually didn’t drag a load of rocks very far. In this part of the country farmers will tell you, “there is always something to be done on the farm.” They are referring to picking rocks, you could farm here for 80 years and pick rocks every year, you will hardly notice any have been picked. Many rock piles bear witness to the fact there has been a lot of rock picking going on ever since the first settlers arrived. Yes, those rocks got to the pile on a stone boat.

Huge stones were used for the cornerstones and for the foundation. When you look at the size of some of those stones it is hard to imagine how a couple of men slid them onto the stone boat. They had to have been very good engineers, using every form of leverage to slide those huge stones onto the stone boat. I can picture many fingers and hands with homemade bandages wrapped around them, the bandages no doubt stayed on long enough for them to get back to work

After the stone boat arrived back at the building site, the task of unloading the huge rocks and moving them into the proper location started. When you think about all of this being done manually, it seems like it was almost impossible. They were driven by the image of the finished stone house that would be able to stand through any storm. Also in this area a house made of stone could withstand a prairie fire. There was a time when prairie fires started by lightning destroyed much property.

My great uncle Eston Olson Hoel and his family were living near Hayti, South Dakota in 1890. A huge prairie fire came roaring through the area and destroyed everything they had. After the fire, all they had were their clothing and the bedding that they carried out to the garden. In 1905 they moved to Ward County North Dakota. They tried farming there for a few years, it was so dry crops would not grow. Some family members where left buried there.

They continued to move north to Canada. They traveled by train to Red Deer Alberta, rail tracks ended there. From there they went West traveling by oxen and wagon, that they were used to. They finally settled at Rocky Mount House, Alberta Canada. That is where they spent the rest of their lives. My great grandfather went with them and spent the rest of his life in Canada. He left my grandfather here in South Dakota. I have often thought, I was almost a Canadian kid. I think I could have gotten used to that real easy.

I would imagine they moved many things by stone boat or bobsled in those early days at Alberta also. Eston’s son-in-law Jack Edgerton started a dray line there with a wagon and six black horses. He later had several trucks and men working for him, making deliveries in that area of Canada. There has been much progress made since the first stone boat was dragged across the ground, probably by people power.

Scorched Earth/Fry Pan

Daily Prompt
Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt
Scorched Earth
Ever since wars first started there has been a scorched-earth policy. The military powers plan is to leave nothing behind that the enemy may find useful and that would help them or sustain them in any way. This included water supplies, food supplies, power grids, anything that the enemy population could use. At the Geneva Conventions of 1977, papers were signed to help stop the scorched-earth policy. It would be awful hard for NATO forces to enforce any type of scorched-earth policy. If there are any future wars, the scorching no doubt will be very severe, with mushroom clouds circling the globe afterwards

I have walked around in Death Valley as a visitor and got a good sense of what scorched-earth is from the rays of the scorching sun bearing down on it. Any life that can survive in Death Valley California has the worlds best survival instincts. Only tough critters survive in a place that resembles a scorched frying pan.


A scorched frying pan is still something that gets my temper boiling, until it is scorched and dry. I have become very familiar with scorched quick cooking pans. A watched pot never boils, just walk away for a second! With gas turn the flame down, the boiling stops. With electric turn the temperature knob down, it still glows red until it boils all over. My wife never cooked with electricity and she seems determined that she will not learn how to do it properly. The word properly, is possibly impossible when you’re cooking on an electric stove.

To save the homemakers from themselves No stick cookware was developed from some space-age material, your eggs and bacon or whatever your cooking will slide right out of the pan like magic. Slide right onto your plate, slick and clean, as a picture of a breakfast set up at a restaurant. There is only one problem with the new non-stick cookware on the electric range, not made for hot temperatures. Just forget to watch your temperature one time and that no stick surface has become a sick, sticky surface, you will never again see an egg slide from that pan. If you don’t buy a new pan you will start having black eggs and bacon or black fried potatoes or black whatever you put in it. Next weeks menu boiled eggs, topped with bacon bits, or oatmeal.

It shouldn’t be that hard to cook with electric ranges but you have to be right there. Johnny on the spot, one hand on the control knob and both eyes on the pan and the burner. When you turn that burner on, it starts to turn red, your no doubt already in big trouble, it cools down slowly. If you leave a burner hot with no pan on it, best leave a CAUTION HOT BURNER warning sign on it.

We have been living here for over three years now. I have lost track of how many pans have gone up in a cloud of black smoke or how many times I pulled the circuit breaker on the smoke detector. It seems like it’s impossible to learn to cook on an electric stove after cooking with gas all your life. We seem to have accepted that fact anyhow. I don’t order my eggs and bacon any special way, I know exactly how they’re going to look on the plate when they get in front of me I will have blackened bacon and eggs again. Blackened or scorched food is said to contain cancer-causing carcinogens but I suppose at this late date we can’t consume that much cancerous carbons.

Or For Sure


Daily Prompt
Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.

Or For Sure

Or is used as a function word to indicate that there is an alternative. With my father, when he used the word or, there was usually no alternative. His most famous or was, “You kids better quiet down upstairs. Or, do you want me to tuck you in with my belt? Or, if you kids keep that up, Your mother will have a conniption fit. Or do you care? There will be a price to be paid by each one of you?

Or, if you’ve been acting up at the dinner table, there will be no dessert for any of you. Do you want to wash the dishes or dry them? Do you have your homework done, or are you just going to school to take up space? They already have all the astronauts they can use, or did you know that? I would recommend doing your homework right after the dishes, or there will be no TV. Our parents got divorced as we were just entering into our teen years. Life suddenly got harder, or we at least thought it did.

Our mother must have been lonely or afraid, she married a fellow who was 20 years older than her. This sounds like it’s impossible, he was a cross between a mean, nasty, junkyard dog and sneaky as a snake. With him, “everything was always,  my way or the highway.” My brother and I took all the abuse we could handle for a couple years. That’s when we remembered my way or the highway, we chose the highway. We ran away from home and went to an aunt and uncle’s house. The sheriff said, “you boys can’t do that, you have to go back and stay with your mother until the court decides where you should live. We looked at each other, an instant or quick conclusion was made. There was no way we were going to go back to that house again.

The sheriff said, “Well boys you will have to go to school from the County jail until the court makes its decision, or maybe longer.” We agreed, we can live with that, or so we thought. So for over a week we went to school from the women’s jail. Our friend gave us some funny looks, like wondering what kind of mess we’ve gotten ourselves into. The judge decided we could live with our aunt and uncle. We both felt bad for our mother, letting her down or running out on her after all she had done for us.

There are many times during a life when the two letter word or becomes a very big word with a lot of meaning.