We Gotta Move

by

Larry Olsonawski

 

The winter of 1966 had a lot of snow. But it wasn't untilabout the sixth of March that anybody was thinking of a flood.

On the first of March, it started to snow and then thewind came up and turned it into a storm. But it didn't stop there. Itfinally stopped on the fourth of March. This was a pretty bad blizzard,as it lasted for four days. It was snowing and blowing for four days andnights. When it was over, there were many people with very little foodleft in their homes. It also took the people a long time to dig out oftheir homes and yards.

Any farmer in Kittson county will tell you what happensafter and during the blizzard. This farm had trees on the north, west andsouth sides of the house or you could say all the buildings were shelteredby the trees. There is a high line pole about 50 yards from the house. Most of the time during the storm you couldn't see the pole because itwas snowing and blowing so bad. They couldn't tell if there were any snowbanks or how much snow had fallen during the storm until they went to dochores twice a day and even then they were careful not to let anyone goout alone. They waited in the barn until all the chores were done theythey all started back to the house. The barn is only about 300 yards fromthe house and at times on the way to the barn and back they could not seethe barn or the house. They knew there was going to be a lot of show tomove after the blizzard by the amount they had to walk through to get tothe barn and back.

But when the blizzard let up, they were surprised to seea six to eight foot drift over their road. This was not all as there wasalso about three to four feet of snow all over the yard. They started thejob of digging themselves out Saturday morning. It was not a one man job. The whole family helped in the job. The tractor was going steady withthe father and his two boys helping him. There was a lot of shoveling todo as the tractor couldn't do all the work. One of the boys had a car andit was left beside the house during the blizzard and when they went to seehow it was they had a hard time finding it. All they could see was theaerial and a little of the front of the car. They dug the car out by shovelso they wouldn't hit it with the tractor. They also had about a five footdrift in front of the garage. When they went to get their pickup out ofthe garage they found that the wind had blown snow into the garage and therewas about three inches of snow all over the pickup and car. They trieddigging their way out on the road, but they gave up and started to dig aroad through their pasture and into the field and on to the road. Theyfinally made it after two days of hard work.

This was not the worst of it. Then came the spring andwith it came warm weather. He did not think there was going to be a floodin the spring. He had bought about ten tons of fertilizer and it was inthe granary in bags. When the snow started to melt he was going to be firmand stand his ground, as he didn't make too much of move to get ready forthe flood. But he watched the river coming up slowly. First, one of hisbrothers had to move because the flood waters had come into his barn. Sothey moved his brother's cattle over to his farm. Andrew and his boys helpedto move his brother out of his house and also move some grain and otherstuff. His brother moved into a house that Andrew was renting but not using. They came over every day and night to help with the chores and feed thecattle.

But when the day came when the waters were getting closeto his house, he started to get ready for the flood by putting some plasticaround their house to keep the water out but that was only some of the workthat went on. He started putting things high up and getting them off theground. Also, he thought that he had better move the fertilizer while hestill had a chance to move it. Then the water came into the yard. Now,he had to move the cows. By the time he got the cows out of the yard hewas chasing them through water. It was about eight inches deep in the yardwhen they got done. Whenl they got the cows moved, they had to make a placefor them so they could milk them. The building was so small that they couldonly get six cows in at a time. There was no fence so the cows just wentwherever they wanted to go but it was surprising that they didn't go toofar.

They still had work at the yard to do like getting therest of the feed out. They had to hook a catipiller on to the truck toget it out of the yard because there was water all over by that night, evenin the barn. When they looked out of the house all they could see was water.They finally had to pout some boards across the water so they could getfrom the house to the road without getting wet. The water got right upto the house but they kept it from coming in too much. The water came inbut they kept things dry by pumping it out every few hours. They had movedeverything out of the basement. They were ready to move if they had tobut they weren't going to move unless forced to.

Then the water started to go down and they began the jobof cleaning the places back up. There were many things brought up by theflood waters. There were trees, bottles, and cans all over the place. It took them many days to clean up the mess that the water had brought. There was lots of help getting people out of the reach of the water, butwhen it started to drop, everybody had other work to do and the job of movingback was left mostly to the family. They sure liked the help in gettingmoved out in time so they didn't mind moving back by themselves. When theygot moved back, it was about time to start working in the fields.

There were many people that ended up moving back by themselves. One of our neighbors had a fire during the flood, but he could not do anythingto stop it. Instead, he watched the barn burn down to the level of thewater. There were many other things that happened during the flood.

Now, after everything is over, we hope there will neverbe a flood again. They know that the people around will help each otherwhen the chips are down. flood again. They know that the people around will help each otherwhen the chips are down.