Today’s the day

How appropriate that one day after the International Day of Women, I have the honor (huge relief) of passing the files for “Women Behind the Plow” to the printers.

WOW, after two years, it’s close to a tangible product, I am going to take the weekend off.

Books are fun to write until it comes to the final push. The layout, the proofing, etc. can be gut wrenching at times. But with the help of my friends, I am coming down the final mile.

Here’s where you come in. We still need to raise a lot of money to pay for the printing. So, if you are looking for a gift for Mother’s Day, birthdays or a treat for yourself, this book is for you.

NEWS release for WBTP pre-sale book orders

That’s correct. We learned a lot about book publishing and selling the first go-around with Ewiger Saatz. So, this book will only be available at the $55 price until May 1. That is also the date that the photo exhibit of the same name opens at the ND Heritage Center. It will be there until July 31st… as well as copies of the book at the retail price of $75.

So, take advantage of the pre-sale price and help us get this printed. Remember – all the proceeds return to the nonprofit Tri-County Tourism Alliance. With your support, we can begin to extend our reach to all the German-Russian population centers in North Dakota.

So, treat yourself, it’s been a long winter…. and THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT.


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Helen Iszler Frisch

It is a sad moment in  my life to remember Helen Frisch, who passed away March 1. She was one of the Women Behind the Plow interviews at the age of 98. My condolences to the family. I regret not finishing this book sooner so the women in the book could see how well received and endearing their stories are to the rest of the world. Until we meet again in Heaven, Helen.

Nov. 25, 1961 – March 1, 2017 (PS. I believe they transposed the date on the InForum website…. she was born 100 years ago Nov. 25, 1916.)

ASHLEY, N.D. – Helen Frisch, 100, Ashley, died Wednesday, March 1, in Ashley Nursing Home.

Arrangements by Carlsen Funeral Home in Ashley.

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Saturday mornings

Cell phones have been around for quite some time now, more than 10 years … and yet, on Saturday mornings I think to myself, “I have to call my mom.”

Seems hard to believe there was a time when we waited to call our moms because of long distance charges. That’s correct, all you young people out there. Phones use to be party lines and/or emergency use only.

For those of you who have never had the opportunity to be on a party line, one of our interviews, or maybe more than one, mention the use of party lines. In the first place, having a phone was a premium and then this:

ELEANOR: Yes we had a real telephone. That was there in World War II before I left home a long time. You could ring, three rings, short, short and a long. You were on a party line. Even at times the kids were talking and a man would come in and say “I need to make a call, get off,” in German. Cause you could tell if the lines were busy.

That’s right folks, only one family at a time could be on the phone.


Martha Sayler-Ackerman answers her rotary phone. Photo taken in the 1950s and provided by Ida (Ackerman) Quatier. The photo was taken by Edward Ackerman and appears in Ewiger Saatz – Everlasting Yeast.

And there was a rate for weekdays to make local calls and long distance was extra. That’s why everyone called their mothers on Saturday mornings. The long distance charges were reduced for evenings and weekends.

Even though I had the ability to call my mother every day in the past couple of years – and I did – Saturday mornings still strike a chord with me. Homesickness rings about 9 a.m., the time she called, or I called. We talked for half an hour or more and then paid the price with the next phone bill.

The wait, the cost, the anticipation – all made those conversations the most meaningful moments of the week.

What did we do in the meantime? Wrote letters, mailed cards, subscribed to small town newspapers and watched the mailbox for news from home.

Letters are a topic for another time. If you can, call your mom and have a conversation this morning.

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Pre-sale Opportunity for You

Well, the day has come for the task of final proofing the interviews from Women Behind the Plow. The exhibit has been a huge success and will be a featured display the North Dakota Heritage Center from May 1 through July 30. What an honor.

We are sure hoping that our books will be printed and back from the bindery so it can be offered up for sale during those months so visitors may read the full stories of these women behind the plow.

Now is an opportunity for you to purchase the book before it is printed at a reduced price. If we do not receive enough pre-sale orders, there will only be 1,000 copies printed. The book is a companion piece to Ewiger Saatz (there are only a few copies of this book remaining for sale) – a 12×12, 120 page full color book with hundreds of photos depicting farm life. The interviews are narratives of life on the farm, the real pioneer women of an area settled by Germans from Russia.

The success of this project will provide support for other projects preserving the German Russian culture. The Tri-County Tourism Alliance would like to include Germans from Russia statewide, regional and nationally in future projects, but as a small group of volunteers, we really need help getting the word out and, of course, your book orders.

If you have questions, please email or call 701-527-5169.

THANK YOU for helping us with our important work. Your purchase is a donation to the Alliance. This book is indexed to find names and places you will surely recognize.


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Art opening postponed until Jan. 19

WBTP Exhibit opens in Jamestown

Here is a very nice story about the exhibit of Women Behind the Plow – the art opening was postponed until Jan. 19, due to very cold weather …

Join us in celebrating the life of women raised on farms in North Dakota. If you are at all interested in obtaining a copy of the book with the rest of the stories – please send us an email as the Tri-County Tourism Alliance will be PRESELLING this companion book to Ewiger Saatz at a reduced price. Stay tuned for the tentative date for mailing the book.

Also contact us if you wish to book the photo exhibit in your community.

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WBTP Exhibit opens in Jamestown

If you have not had the privilege of viewing the Tri-County Tourism Alliance’s Women Behind the Plow photo exhibit, it opens in Jamestown’s Art Gallery this Thursday, Jan. 12, with a reception at 5:30 p.m.

The exhibit is also up for display in your area for no cost except the cost or logistics of moving it from one city to the next. The exhibit was the jumping off point for the upcoming book of the same name – to be pre-sold in early 2017. The book will feature interviews from women who grew up and lived on farms. Stories and lots and lots of black and white photos make for an interesting behind the scenes story of farm life.

If you are interested in acquiring the exhibit for your gallery or special event, please contact:
Carmen Rath-Wald
Tri-County Tourism Alliance President
Logan County Extension Agent
301 Broadway
Napoleon, ND   58561
Cell: (701)320-4696

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Comparing snow storms

“The National Weather Service said 15.5 inches fell in Bismarck on March 3, 1966 — still the highest single-day snowfall total on record for the city. The State Historical Society of North Dakota said more than 35 inches fell in some parts of the state during the storm. And it brought more than snow.


Wind gusts reached 70 to 100 mph in some places, according to the Historical Society. Some snowdrifts were 20-30 feet tall and hundreds of yards long. There was no visibility for hours during the storm. Travel was discouraged and businesses shut down.”
(Bismarck Tribune Article by Jenny Michaels, March 4, 2013)

Christmas Day was called off at our home north of Mandan. And, yes, it was a huge disappointment. Snow started falling, after some rBlizzard 1966.jpgain, about 4 p.m. Dec. 25. It continued throughout the night and into the next day with some pretty wicked wind.

It’s a good thing we have a sliding patio door or we may have been stuck indoors for a lot longer than two days as the wind fiercely sculpted some fairly high snowbanks on both the front and south entrances to our home. However, this snowfall did not equal the Blizzard of ’66.

I was 10 years old at the time, or close to it, as my birthday is in March. We hunkered down in the gray darkness thankfully warmed by a coal furnace because the electricity was knocked out. After the storm, while adults were digging out their cars and businesses, we had a blast digging snow tunnels and walking where we had never walked before – to roof lines of homes. Many of the Women Behind the Plow talked about that blizzard and what it meant to be living on the farm – isolated and pretty much left up to their own devices caring for both families and livestock. I thought it would be fun to share a few photos of the Blizzard of 1966. A reminder that we are not alone in our battle against Mother Nature.


While searching for my Blizzard of 1966 photos I found these “Winter Jokes” and thought I would share, not taking credit for authoring these.

1. Your idea of a traffic jam is ten cars waiting to pass a combine.

2. “Vacation” means going to the Day’s Inn in Minot, Fargo, Bismarck, Grand Forks, for the weekend.

3. You measure distance in hours.

4. You know several people who have hit deer more than once.

5. You often switch from “heat” to “A/C” in the same day

6. You use a down comforter in the summer.

7. Your grandparents drive 65 mph through 13 feet of snow during a blizzard, without flinching.

8. You see people wearing hunting clothes to social events.

9. You install security lights on your house and garage and leave both doors unlocked.

10. You think of the major food groups as beef, walleye, and Bud Light.

11. You carry jumper cables in your car and your girlfriend or wife knows how to use them.

12. There are 7 empty cars running in the parking lot at the food store at any given time.

13. You design your kids Halloween costume to fit over a snow suit.

14. Driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow.

15. You think sexy lingerie is wool socks and flannel pajamas.

16. You know all four seasons as: almost winter, winter, still winter and road construction.

17. It takes you 3 hours to go to the store for one item even when you’re in a rush because you have to stop and talk to everyone in town.

18. The migration of Sugar-Beat trucks signals the onset of winter.

19. You actually understand these jokes and forward them to all your friends from North Dakota and elsewhere.

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