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Special Features Section, Superior Express

Glen Mueller building table from 140 year old tree


Glen Mueller building table from 140 year old tree
When you first meet Glen Mueller, he is unassuming and practical. He likes the farming lifestyle and the practical side of life. Working with his hands is a part of who he is. His work is on display all through his home. He's made bookcases, a china hutch, a cedar chest, an armoire and many other useful items for the home he shares with his wife of 54 years, Carol.

When asked, "What inspired you to begin working with wood?" His answer was simple. "We needed it done. So, I did it."

Carol said, "Instead of hiring the work done, Glen just did it. The first thing I think he made was a cedar chest. It was before our marriage. When he gave me the chest, it had my engagement ring in the tray of the chest. That was in 1963. "I was sure surprised!"

When Glen was in high school, he took ag shop because his school didn't have wood shop. Later he worked for the late Richard Reinke of Deshler. At that time Reinke was in the construction business and Glen helped build homes in Nelson and the surrounding area. He also helped build the Salem Lutheran Church which is located just down the road from the Mueller farm and serves as their home church. He also helped Reinke build churches at Glenvil and Ruskin. His association with Reinke was before the firm became known for building center pivot irrigation systems.

In the early years of their marriage, the home he and Carol now live in was located on leased Scully land. The Muellers decided to buy land in 1968. In 1984 they moved their house to its current location along Highway 14 south of Nelson in 1984. The house was moved from one mile west and one-half mile north.

When the house was located on he lease, the kitchen faced the south which allowed the winter sun to shine in. For the new location, Glen had a different plan.

He drew plans and showed Carol how he wanted to improve the home. The plan included turning the house so the kitchen window would face the north and the front room would face the south. This plan turned out to be both practical and economical. The sun now shines in the massive south windows and provides a lot of warmth to the home.

Glen remodeled and expanded the house in his spare time. The original farm house had windows or doors every few feet. Carol said "It was a decorating nightmare. Where did I to put the furniture?" The windows had been placed for ventilation. The breeze cooled the house, especially in the evenings and early morning. Eventually the windows were changed and air conditioning added to make the temperature more comfortable and easier to place the furniture.

Glen worked many years for Kirchhoff Farms so the remodeling work was done around his own farm work and the off-farm work.

His current project is a table made from a 140 to 150-year-old red oak tree that was cut down at his father's place north of Nelson. Each ring in the slice of wood indicates a year that the tree grew. Glen drilled out a rotted spot and it's going to be the new home for a checker board (copyrighted 1938) and a Chinese checker board. At the narrow end there was another bad spot that had to be drilled out so that is filled in with epoxy and has an oak leaf and two acorns imbedded in it.

Another current project is the restoration of a kitchen center that belonged to Carol's paternal grandmother Margaret (Maggie) Meyer. The old kitchen center has a 50-pound flour dispenser with sifter, a sugar jar and a bread box. There are suggestions for Christmas, Thanksgiving and New Year's meals posted on the left door and other recipes on the right door.

For his projects, Glen has his own selection of lumber taken from houses and buildings that have been torn down.

If you watch the do-it-yourself shows on television you will notice the different businesses that the contractors have to contract out to for their projects. Glen Mueller could very well be any one of these businesses, but Glen said he isn't interest in a business. For his projects "There are no time limits or deadlines. This is just puttering around for me."

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By Donna M. Christensen

On one of my visits to Missouri, I decided to make an unannounced call on some friends in northern Arkansas. I stayed the night at the parent's house and she gave me directions to their son's house several miles away.

The morning was damp and foggy, a typical event for the humid woods of the Ozarks. Visibility was quite limited, but I took the instructions my friend had given and started off. There were a few hitches along the way, but I arrived safely and without getting lost.

Life is much the same. We cannot see far into the future, but we have been given careful instructions in the Bible, to prevent our becoming lost. When we follow these directions as closely as we can, we will be sure to find our desired destination even though mistakes have been made along the way.

By putting complete trust in my friend's directions, I was able to find my way in spite of the fog. In the same way, when we trust God's word to guide us, we can have a successful journey, even though the future is not clear as we travel.

Prayer focus: Lord, teach me to follow Your instructions so I may reach heaven, and cause others to go there, also.