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Father's Day

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FC: STRAIGHT NORTH OF MINOT The memories of Henry Schoenig

1: I was raised on a farm in North Dakota. | The farm is straight north of Minot and not very far from Canada. | It's marked on the map with the blue arrow

2: My father, August, left Iowa as a young man. He filed for a homestead in North Dakota next to the homesteads of his older brother and sister.

3: It was not easy to homestead on the prairie. Dad built a homestead shack that may have looked like this one. This paper gave him ownership of his homestead in | 1906.

4: Flora holding Fern Schoenig | My mother Flora worked in the home of Uncle John & Aunt Em when she was single. In the photo below, mother is between her two sisters, Dora & Mary. Her parents came from Denmark.

5: It seems we always had cows, horses, chickens, pigs, sheep and turkeys. This prairie road is a lot like the road that became the highway that now runs past the farm.

6: The big barn was built around . We liked to play in the hay mow and ride the hay carrier like a zip line. The tall windmill beside the barn was used to pump water for the animals. | 1916

7: Most of our animals didn't have names like our two horses, Nellie and Judy. These two sheep were named Peggy and Jane.

8: In the early days, mail came by horse and buggy. Even after we had a tractor, big work horses were still used on the farm.

9: We had chores to do morning and evening -- feeding the animals and milking the cows. We worked very hard at threshing time. Mom cooked big meals for all the harvest helpers while we worked in the fields. My uncles, Art and Mark, came to work on nearby farms during harvest. Sometimes I rode my horse, Babe, when our work was done.

10: We didn't get off the farm very often, so when we had fun it was usually right there. Here, Wayne pretends to push my head into the animals' water tank. | We made the old Model T into the first SUV! It looks good parked on a snowdrift.

11: Mom and dad helped others, even during the Great Depression. Ollie Varco lived with us for about years. She helped mom around the house and would get out of her wheelchair to scrub the floor. | We always had a dog. Rufus begs for a treat from mom. | 15

12: Mountrose, our country school, was about three miles from the farm. In winter a sleigh was used as a school bus. We would bring a potato for lunch and bake it in the ash pit of the school's coal-fired boiler. Years later, Wayne and I stood where Mountrose school used to be. I graduated from high school in Lansford.

13: We always liked to have visitors come to the farm. Sometimes they came on horseback, one at a time. Sometimes several families came for part of the day, usually on a Sunday.

14: Winters in North Dzkota can be very hard. This was after a big blizzard in . | Even our dog was surprised to see the snow drifted up onto the roof. | 1949

15: Wayne looks like he might be exploring at the North Pole. I'm not sure why our mailman had his special car up on the snow beside the highway!

16: Times got better in the s. We put pencil to paper and planned a new house. It took us about a year to build it, using a partly completed house we moved to the farm. | The tall tower beside our garage had a wind charger. It generated electricity before electric lines were strung across the prairie. | 1940

17: Farming techniques and equipment changed as I grew older. Even EB, a young woman from the city, took to the tractor, as did Rufus!

18: Changes came with adulthood. Helen married the handsome young man shown with Wayne and me in this picture. I pursued EB and moved to Valley City. For awhile I worked in her parents' grocery store.

19: Family album.... The two pictures of my folks were taken about the time of their 25th anniversary. All three pictures were taken beside our old house. We had made it through the s and it needed paint! | 1930

20: I was about two when I stood in my wagon for this picture. Dad's old wagon is in the background. | Wayne with our dog, Rover

21: Helen, Wayne and I got all dressed up sometimes for pictures. The color photo was taken the last time we were together on the farm in . | Helen, Henry, Wayne | 1998

22: August and Flora Schoenig, th anniversary, | This is our family portrait. The tanned faces and pale foreheads of us men showed we were farmers. We never worked outside without wearing a cap. | 1960 | 45

23: Mom and Dad left the farm in and moved to Valley City. Today, no one lives at the old place, but it is still farmed by my nephew. | E.B. and I stopped at the farm on a cold afternoon in late December . | 1959 | 2007

24: The big barn was torn down in the s. The wind charger tower is now used for radio communication. | 1980

25: Trees shelter the west side of the homestead. | The wide open prairie at rest in mid-winter.

27: Written and published by Steven Schoenig, | 2011

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  • Title: Father's Day
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