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.

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Preparations have been underway for weeks turning the old, outdated cafe building – a building that had housed cafes for the last 50 years or so – into an updated and chic new malt shoppe and cafe.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

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

Details

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

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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!

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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:

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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

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

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Visit the Cobbled Together Home Etsy Shop

Patio Pallet Table

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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.

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Planting Potatoes

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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.

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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.

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Planting peas as well.

Artisan Envelopes: Homemade and Completely Unique

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Over at my other blog, The Everyday Language Learner, I began a new venture to get people to send me postcards from where ever they live, telling me why they are readers of the EDLL blog.  It’s a way to build the community there, to share people’s stories and to get postcards.

I like postcards.  I like letters in general.  Getting a good, long letter from a friend is like a gift.  After finding an uninterrupted space of time, I’ll brew a cup of coffee and find a good seat from which to enjoy the letter.

I’ve never done that with an email.

My wife is an even bigger fan than I of all things letters.

For her it is an art form.  The letter is important but so is the paper it’s written on, the envelope it is sent in and the stamp.

I’ve been given the look more than once for putting a plain American Flag postage stamp on one of her hand-made envelopes.

For Consuelo, letter writing has become a bit of a cause – one worth fighting for.

As we have been looking for ways to cobble together an income over the last six months, I’ve encouraged her to think about finding the convergence of her passions, her creative giftings and the  economic realities that require income generation.

That is where I hope everyone can find themselves – making the money they need to live through the passions and skills that both bring the most joy and do the most good.

It is what I try to do over at EDLL.

And now Consuelo is ready to give it a try.

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Artisan Envelopes and Stationary

We would like to introduce a new series of  products – hand-made artisan envelopes and stationary.

Each envelope is cut from a beautiful wildflower guidebook whose pages swelled and binding broke when it found itself sitting in the bottom of a box that found itself sitting in a puddle of water.

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The envelopes are all stitched – no glues, no staples – just thread.  Each set of eight envelopes comes with 10 sheets of recycled stationary.

$10.00 for a set of eight

If you are interested in getting a set of envelopes and stationary for yourself or as a gift for a loved one, just send an email to me and we will send you a Paypal invoice and put your purchase in the mail. (Shipping is included in the price)

You can contact me here:  aarongmyers@gmail.com

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If you love these envelopes, please take a moment to share this post with your friends and help us spread the word.  Thanks!

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Of Pallets and DIY Projects

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Wooden Pallets.

I have of late become interested in using discarded packing pallets – those ubiquitous wooden piles you see behind most every store – to build things.

I’ve seen a fair share of ideas online and have pallets for the taking – as we all do.

Two projects have wandered in for now.

The first will be to turn a very clean, nice pallet that I found on the farm into a coffee table of sorts for our back patio.

Our future table for the back patio.
Our future table for the back patio.

The second stack of pallets is set aside to become the future home of a small rabbit, a pet for the kids.  I had a rabbit when I was young and now they want one too.

I think I have enough wood in the three pallets to build a good sized hutch for the four footed future family pet.

We’ve done some research, looked at what others have built online and have a fairly good idea of what we want to build.

Malachi insists on a living roof so I think we will grow alfalfa up on top, an easy snack for a hungry hare.

I’ll post more pictures as the projects come together.  Right now we are deconstructing the pallets, probably the most difficult job, but not nearly as difficult as some would make out.

All in all it has been a fun project to work on with my son.  And that makes it worth it no matter what the end result looks like.

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Next up, a home office.   image credit