Potatoes Galore!

Planting potatoes is hard work.

Digging potatoes is sheer delight!

A few weeks back we began the glorious work with fork and and buckets of bringing up the potato harvest.

It was a good harvest, but we think the year might have been a bit too wet and figure the company who came to spray for dandelions may have hurt our production a bit too with a bit of drift and the yellowed, curled leaves that resulted back in June.

But we had quite the harvest none the less and now have several buckets of potatoes in the basement.

Working together.
Finding the hidden spuds.
Potatoes Galore! (Is ‘galore’ the only adjective in English that follows the noun?)
Digging potatoes with Grandpa – a family affair.
Picking a few apples as well and enjoying fall.
And lots of Butternut Squash.

I Preached Today

I preached today.

Pastor Aaron left early to head down south for a class he is taking and he asked me a month or so ago if I could fill in.

I said yes and I am still processing the experience.

The process of prayer and study and writing the sermon was quite a good one.   It allowed me to come to new insights, to grow, to be stretched as I thought about the text – Luke 9 : 23 – 26 – and about how to share what I felt I was hearing and learning to a congregation who is not me.

And yet, I don’t know if I would  preach again.  I am just not sure it is worth the time investment.  I am not sure that my preaching affected any change, not sure if it drew anyone closer to the Lord, not sure if preaching in general is worth the effort.

This is something I am wrestling with so I am not writing off preaching.  I just don’t know that placing the Sunday morning sermon as the cornerstone of church discipleship is wise or helpful.

Again, I am processing aloud here so don’t take offense if you regularly deliver the message Sunday mornings.

But as I read the Bible I see Peter preaching to large crowds but then those crowds gathering in homes (presumably in small groups) to discuss and pray and worship and hold one another accountable, and to confess to one another and to meet one another’s needs.

I can envision discipleship taking place in that setting.

I am having a hard time envisioning discipleship taking place through a weekly sermon.

The best way to grow in Christ is not in a classroom and it’s not by listening to another sermon.  The best way is as Jesus taught, to follow him, and friends, we must surely know that Jesus is on the move.

But again, I am working through this thought process and because of that would love to hear what others are thinking, are observing in their own church setting or finding in scripture.

Oh, and if you’d like to see it,  here is a link for you to take a look at my sermon.

Sermon September 29 2013

Harvest’s Come

I’ve been absent for more than a few months now.  

I guess I’ve had little energy for writing.  It’s been that kind of season in life.

Harvest began last week and with it I’ve found new work hauling corn in from the fields for my wife’ uncle and brother.

Harvest is a reflective time for me – hope sown in spring is harvested.

Here is a poem I wrote today as I was unloading at the bin.


Growing’s over,

the corn is done,

harvest’s here

the works begun.

Tractors trundle,

combines cut,

loaded wagons,

loaded trucks.

Golden dunes of

mounding corn,

hope sown in spring

has now been born.

Man and maker

made it so,

together planted, 

together grow.

Katie’s Malt Shoppe in Marion, South Dakota

Katie's Malt Shoppe on Broadway in Marion.
Katie’s Malt Shoppe on Broadway in Marion.

There is not much better than a frosty malt on a hot summer day in rural America.

For far too many small towns in the rural midwest though, declining populations have lead to the closure of many of the eating establishments that once anchored Main Street.

One by one the restaurants have closed.

The cafes have closed.

The opportunity to enjoy a frosty milk shake has disappeared.

Such was the case in Marion . . .

Until today.

Plenty of seating for a small town cafe.
Plenty of seating for a small town cafe.

While we came in for an afternoon malt and missed the morning and lunch rush, Katie’s Malt Shoppe packed in local customers for it’s grand opening this Memorial Day weekend.

Preparations have been underway for weeks turning the old, outdated cafe building – a building that had housed cafes for the last 50 years or so – into an updated and chic new malt shoppe and cafe.

Owners  have done their work to create a friendly environment with a nice menu of great food and of course, malts.

Named for the family’s teenage daughter and – on opening day –  the main waitress, Katie’s Malt Shoppe is a welcome addition to the Marion business district.

So if your looking for some great ice cream, a cold malt or just a bite to eat, be sure and stop by Katie’s Malt Shoppe on Broadway in Marion


My daughter enjoying her root beer float!
A wonderfully tasty vanilla malt.


Over the Memorial Day weekend, Katie’s will be open Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 8:00 am until 6:00 pm.

From then on they will be open the same hours every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

If you have any questions you can give them a call at 605-760-2479.

You can find Katie’s Malt Shoppe in the heart of Marion’s small business district on Broadway Avenue.

Marion is 35 miles west of Sioux Falls just north of Highway 44.

Artisan Envelopes: The Ledger Series


I have always been a bit of a dumpster diver, finding crazy cool treasures that others have thrown away.

My wife is thankfully thankful for this unique skill of mine and quickly embraces most of what I bring home (except for that rug in Turkey).

The town of Freeman has a self-recycling center where people bring their recyclables to drop off.

This is a regular source of new magazines to read and on occasion, supplies craft supplies for the kids.

A few months ago I glanced into the paper receptacle and saw a two inch stack of interesting looking paper.

Each sheet was a bit longer and wider than an extra long legal pad of paper and there must have been three hundred sheets in the stack.

Upon further inspection, this new treasure turned out to be an old ledger from a land lord in the small town of Scotland, South Dakota – 30 miles from Freeman.

On it were the monthly accountings of rent paid in and bills paid out – from the 1960’s.

Rent was around $60 per apartment!


Last week as we put together an Etsy shop to sell my wife’s artisan envelopes and considered adding more to the collection, this paper came to her mind.

And so as of today, we now have two lines of artisan sewn envelopes and are adding to our cobbled together income stream.

Like The Wildflower Series, The Ledger Series comes with eight envelopes and ten pieces of stationary and you can order them for $10 per set at the Cobbled Together Home Etsy shop.

Here are some more pictures:

The Ledger Series of hand made envelopes.

Perfect for sending a unique letter to an old friend or as a gift for your “type A” personality friends or family members.

Each envelope is unique with it’s own bit of history recorded in numeric fashion across the lines of each ledger page.

Visit the Cobbled Together Home Etsy Shop

Each envelope is completely unique.
What I wouldn’t do for $66.00 rent!
Use the ledger pattern to create your own patterns with colored pencils.



Visit the Cobbled Together Home Etsy Shop

Patio Pallet Table


I completed my first piece of furniture using a recycled pallet and I am pleased with how it turned out.

I learned a few things about pallets and now have a better understanding of how to work with them and have hopes for completing a set of benches for our back patio as well.

I need to find a few more pallets though.

I did pick up 10 small pallets from the Marion landfill this weekend – all of them solid oak and weathered a bit.

I’m excited to figure out what we can do with them and to find out just how difficult they are to work with – oak is very hard wood after all.

Anyway, here are a few pictures of the table I built.





Planting Potatoes

Ready to be planted.

It has finally come to pass that we were able to plant our potatoes.

Our goal is to grow enough potatoes to last until March or April of next year – we did that once a few years before moving to Turkey and would like to do it again.

I’m not sure if we ordered enough seed though – it’s been a while since we’ve done this and so we lack the recent experience we need to know exactly what we are doing.

But we are keeping records so that we can keep track of what we planted, what did well and how much we produced.

At any rate, it was a lot of fun to prepare the garden beds and plant.

Colorado Rose potatoes – we’ll see what these are like.

In so many ways, gardening and growing our own food is just another part of cobbling together a lively hood, a life here in the states.

It is a slow journey, one that recently has felt a bit buried in the darkness of discouragement and wondering if we can do this.

But there is something about digging in the dirt, about laying down seed with the hope – and the faith – that from that dark grave, new life will grow forth.

I believe.

Planting peas as well.