100 years ago, September 21, 1922

• Harvest Observations

Threshing has been completed south of town, and in most cases, good yields of barley and oats have been secured. Wheat has, as a rule, not yielded very heavy, but the quality has been better than last year except where the stand was heavy, having rusted badly on such fields and proved a very unprofitable crop.

Ole C. Thompson seeded twenty-eight acres of Kubanka durum wheat last spring and threshed 847 bushels from this field. This wheat tested 61 pounds to the bushel and was graded No. 1 amber, which means a premium of 15 cents over the Duluth market.

It seems as if the farmers wanting to raise wheat will have to try other varieties than the Marquis on the heavier soils if a profit shall be realized. Of the durum wheat, only two varieties are recommended by the Minnesota Experiment Station, namely the Mindun and the Kubanka.

75 years ago, September 18, 1947

• The Swimming Pool

Judging from remarks heard here and there, the question of securing a swimming pool for Pelican Rapids is gaining ground. The ladies of the Community Club have become interested in the project and will discuss the matter at their next monthly meeting. The Press has been advocating that something be done about procuring a swimming pool for some time, but all arguments have fallen on deaf ears. Now we are happy to note that the question is being discussed, and prospects are encouraging for some action to be taken soon. Other towns go to great expense to provide suitable recreational benefits for the young people. Tracy, Minn. has recently approved bonds to pay for establishing a swimming pool. We have all the natural requirements for such a project with a comparatively small expense.

50 years ago, September 21, 1972

Vikings Down Frazee Hornets in Heart O’ Lakes Conference

A strong defense held Frazee to only 67 yards rushing as Pelican Rapids won their first Heart O’ Lakes Conference contest by a score of 22 to 6.

The Hornets from Frazee found it hard to pick up yardage through a tight Pelican defense. Jim Wacker, their strongest running back, gained 75 yards in 20 carries, but the net yardage gained was only 67. Turning to the pass, the Hornets completed 6 of 18 for a total of 57 yards. Wacker was 1 for 4 in passing, and Arlen Kangas, at quarterback, hit on 5 of 14.

The Vikings gained a total of 187 yards, picking up 13 first downs to Frazee’s 7. Dan Rollie was 6 for 9 in passing, picking up 80 yards and a touchdown. On the ground, Paul Evenson carried 18 times for 70 yards, and Dave Ritchie picked up 31 yards in 11 carries.

Both teams scored in the first quarter, with Evenson going in from 4 yards out for the first Viking TD. Bret Emmel went in for the two-point conversion. Frazee put their six points on the board when Wacker went over from the 1. The score remained at 8 to 6 at halftime.

The Vikings came back to dominate the game after the half, scoring again in each of the final quarters. In the third period, Dan Rollie hit Paul Restad with a pass that covered 20 yards. The point-after failed. Dave Ritchie scored in the fourth on a two-yard run and repeated it for the conversion.

Coach Al Siegle was pleased with the defensive lines play but added, “We have to work on eliminating some of the mistakes we made, costly fumbles, and penalties at inopportune times.”

Next on the agenda is the Dilworth Locomotives, who always seem to provide the toughest competition for the Vikings. The two teams have been on top of the conference the last few years, sharing the crown on occasion. This year, Dilworth has downed East Grand Forks and Perham and was rolled under by a strong Fargo Shanley squad. Game time is 7:30 p.m. Friday at Dilworth.

25 years ago, September 24, 1997

• Burkes Cultivate Wine Quality Grapes by Julie Tunheim 

It’s not easy to grow wine-quality grapes in West Central Minnesota, but Mike and Vicki Burke of rural Erhard are learning it is possible and may eventually be profitable.

Armed with a desire to succeed and a grant from the Minnesota Sustainable Agriculture Section of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, the Burkes decided to start a small vineyard on their farm east of Edwards.

The idea was planted several years ago at a small business seminar where they heard a presentation by a grape grower from Rice, Minnesota.

One of the reasons wine grapes are not grown in this area is the need to bury the vines, which are not hardy enough to withstand Minnesota winters.

The Burkes must take extra precautions with their stock. In the fall, they have to bury the vines four to six inches underground to keep them alive during the coldest weather.

Even though they carefully buried the vines, they still lost many over the winter.

The first year the Burkes planted 70 vines of each variety, carefully pinching back the small bunches of grapes in order to allow the plants to send their energy into root growth. The survival rate has varied among the varieties. 

Even though they weren’t supposed to let any fruit grow, they couldn’t resist letting a few grapes mature. The wine they produced tasted good.

This is their third year, and it looks like there will be a respectable harvest.

Soon, in a year or two, the vines should produce enough grapes for a profit. The Burkes could sell their grapes to a winery at $.50 to $1.00 per pound or have the winery produce and bottle their own label of wine.

Vicki says they’d eventually like to produce and bottle their own wine at the farm, but that would require more equipment and research.

For now, they are content to make small batches for home consumption.

The project has been fun, says Vicki. “We’re just learning as we go.”

However, they aren’t ready to give up their regular jobs. Vicki works four days a week as a lab technician at North Dakota State University. Mike teaches at North Dakota State College of Science.