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Antique Farming Tools–Guest Blog by Neil Thielke










I finally got one of those jobs done today that has been years in the making. I mounted all the tools that I have from Grandpa Piepenburg’s era on the old haymow door off his barn. The rectangular object is a toolbox cover off what I would think was a hay mower with the letters “Minnesota No 2”. His wood planer is in the center of the last one.

The hand corn sheller came with an apple press I bought up by Alexandria and I don’t know where I got the shoe stretcher, The kickers, castrating tool, detailer, and ear notcher were still used by Dad when I was young. The 1881 corn planter I posted earlier that was Great Grandpa Piepenburg’s turns out to be a rare item. It was only produced for a few years since it had a manual seed dropper that required having two people on the rig. I have not found any pics of it on the net, nor seen it at any at threshing reunions around the state.

I have horse machinery scattered around my yard here in town which reminds me of Grandpa. The last task he completed before he died was to dismantle all his horse drawn machinery and put it on the “iron pile”. That tool box cover on the display was recovered from that pile. The machinery I have here in town was gleaned from around the countryside. So a rake, planter, potato plow, mower, and the sulky plow grace 511 E 4th St here in Morris. I have a 1915 potato plow out on the farm but it is too big for a display here in town.

Lots of memories… it blesses me to think that his hands held these tools. On the same note, our heavenly Dad is blessed when we thoughtfully consider and savor what his hands made and held too.


Who is Your John the Baptist this Advent Season?

Thanks to Sister Nancy Gunderson for these insightful comments. 

Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight paths for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

     John the Baptist appeared preaching in the desert of Judea.  Amy appeared in my classroom, scrawny and petite.  Out of the desert of her life, she leaned against the wall, fighting sleep.

John’s voice cried out, “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.  The one who is coming after me is mightier than I.  I am not worthy to carry his sandals.” Amy’s voice cried out through penetrating silence and sullen glances.

John wore clothing of camel’s hair.  Amy wore a loose-fitting hunting jacket, bright red lipstick and disheveled hair pulled mostly back from her face.

John called for the world to repent.  Amy and her family were homeless for eight months prior to moving to this college town.  She works the night shift at Wal-Mart, unloading trucks five nights a week, then comes directly to class.  Her efforts keep her family afloat as well as allow her to pursue an education. She writes in a paper that she appreciates what she has, because she has had to work for it.

In her own silent way, Amy is my John the Baptist.  She tells me to wake up, repent of my selfishness, to be more sensitive and to reach out.  Amy, the most unlikely student in my classroom, becomes my teacher, my herald.  She cries out to me, “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.”  And I know deep down those are the only paths that lead to the crib, where like the shepherds, only humble and open hearts can go.

Who is your John the Baptist this Advent?  Who must you go out to the desert to find?  Can you hear their cry?


Sister Nancy Gunderson

Are You a Good Listener?

Then while it is still called today, if you would hear His voice, and when you hear it, do not harden your hearts.  Hebrews 3:15a (Amplified Bible).

      For years my husband carried a little card in his wallet that proclaimed him a “good listener.”  The card had been given at the end of a workshop required in his early years on the job.  Whenever I accused him of not listening to me, he would pull that little card from his wallet, living proof that I must be mistaken.  It was a family joke.

It’s not easy to be a good listener.  Certainly it requires more than a cardboard certificate. People communicate with more than words.  A good listener learns to pick up on body language and the unspoken message, too.  It requires our full attention.  Usually we focus more on what we want to say next rather than really listening to the other person.

The verse above reminds us to listen to God, and brings out another reason why we don’t listen.  As my husband ignored my request to take out the trash, we don’t necessarily want to hear God’s voice.  It might mean we are asked to do something out of our comfort zone.  It might require action.

At this start of this new week, let us make a concentrated effort to listen.  Let us focus on giving our full attention to those who are communicating with us.  Let us listen to the spoken and unspoken messages before us.  Let us also  listen to our conscience, and most of all, listen to God. He speaks to us through His Word, through prayer, through others and through that still small voice in our hearts.


Jesus Has Won the Victory

Believe this

Even in your


despite all your


Then you will


His Victory.

                                                 ~Basilea Schlink





God Tramples Our Enemies

Give us aid against the enemy, for the help of man is worthless.  With God we will gain the victory, and He will trample down our enemies.  Psalm 60:11-12 NIV

 Here it is Friday—already. I planned to post this blog at the beginning of the week.  Somehow the days slipped away. I let other things take higher priority. I’m not alone. It’s a universal problem with humans.  Maybe Friday reminds you of things undone on your to-do list, too.

When I read the above verse, I recognize familiar foes:  laziness, procrastination, fear, perfectionism, busyness, disorganization, and self-doubt.  These enemies make me feel like giving up instead of doing those things that are important in my walk with God.

You face these or other enemies, too.  God promises to help.  Let’s ask him together.

Dear Lord, Trample our enemies and bring us to the place where we can overcome every setback.