TRONDELAG-L ArchivesArchiver > TRONDELAG > 2005-05 > 1116114569
From: Margit <>
Subject: Tronder to take Oxen trip on the Pembina Trail in 2008
Date: Sat, 14 May 2005 18:49:29 -0500
Orlin's roots lie deep in the Tydal, Sør Trondelag area of Norway.
Delmar Hagen's roots were from the same area in Norway.
Preparing for the long journey
Ostby family gets ready for 400-mile ox cart trip on historic Pembina
By Xiao Zhang
Herald Staff Writer
Saturday, July 5, 2003 - Orlin Ostby remembers vividly the summer 45
To celebrate the Minnesota centennial year in 1958, the late Delmar
Hagen, a farmer and neighbor of Ostby's, in Gatzke Township, Minn.,
decided to travel the historic Pembina Trail with an ox cart, arriving
at St. Paul on the opening day of the Minnesota State Fair.
Ostby, 18 at the time, was excited about the idea and helped Hagen
prepare for the trip: putting shoes on Napoleon, the shorthorn, helping
make the cart, and taking two heifers to area parades for celebration.
He met up with Hagen a couple of times - once in Stephen, Minn. - as
Hagen traveled southeast on his way from Pembina, N.D., to St. Paul,
and felt he was part of the efforts celebrating Minnesota's statehood.
After the trip, Hagen said to Ostby: "Why don't you do the same in 50
Ostby has been inspired by the suggestion ever since.
"As long as I've known Orlin, he's always talked about doing this,"
said wife Mandy Ostby.
Last month, the couple bought a yoke of young oxen from New Hampshire,
making one of their initial steps toward getting ready for the trip in
Ostby, a welder at Polaris in Roseau, Minn., spent most of his 63 years
on his 240-acre farm.
Growing up on a farm makes Ostby an animal lover.
"I've handled cattle all my life," he said. He also remembers the days
when horses were used to do winter chores, from hauling hay to cleaning
He has learned to make everything with his own hands. He made a
milk-can shaped saddle rack, manure spreader and horse carriages.
His wife Mandy was raised in Minneapolis. But after traveling the
world, she found that the countryside is what she loves. She rides
horses and eats fresh eggs laid by hens on the farm.
The couple, who have 10 children and 19 grandchildren, own a farm with
horses, sheep, pigs, oxen, heifers, dogs, kittens, guinea hens. On
their farm, they built an arena for children in the area who are
involved with 4H.
Their own children grow up loving animals. Orlin's oldest son, Shannon,
has been to many animal fairs and shows. One of the family's proud
pictures was Shannon driving a six-horse carriage at the Minnesota
Eric, 16, loves horse-riding and roping. He and Ostby will drive the
oxen together on the trip. Christopher, 10, has learned to get up early
in the morning to feed his lamb before going to school. Catherine, 7,
started riding horses at 3.
The Ostbys don't own any snowmobiles or four-wheelers. Entertainment in
the wintertime is riding the horse-pulled sleigh. Preparing for trip
The young oxen the Ostbys bought are only 19 months old. The two
Holsteins each weighs about 700 pounds and is four feet tall. Ostby
wanted their muscles to mature before taking them on the trip in five
years. When they are grown, they could be as tall as 6 feet and as
heavy as 2,500 pounds.
Ostby and Mandy have spent countless hours on the Internet, looking for
maps and other information about the trail.
They could tell you that it was used to haul fur and other goods from
as far as Winnipeg to St. Paul and that 200 carts could be traveling at
the same time, with one person attending to four or five carts.
They could tell you that the wooden axle made horrible squeaking sounds
and that every 100 miles, they would wear out and be replaced.
In repeating the trip, the Ostbys hope to repeat history as much as
they can. They plan to wear traditional clothes and haul fur during the
trip. They plan to have a cart built as in the old times, with no
nails, no iron
and no bolts. They had to travel the trail in the summer of 2007 in
their truck, before they make it with an ox cart.
The family plans to go to different fairs and parades in the next five
years, to raise visibility and money for the trip. Forty-five years
ago, Hagen sold commemorative flour sacks along the trip to help cover
the expenses. Times have changed. The family will have to take a camper
with hay and other necessary materials for the trip.
"Fifty years ago there was farms every five miles," Mandy said. "Now
there are farms every 20 miles, and it's hard to find any decent
Spirit run high
A few of Orsby's friends - including an army buddy in California - have
expressed interest in joining him for the trip.
Ostby's daughter Catherine said she can't wait for the adventure.
She'll ride along side the oxen on her Roy Roger saddle, she said. And
to Mandy, this will be an important trip.
"We've got to keep on helping people remember," she said. "This is a
big part of Canadian, Minnesota and North Dakota history."