I just received my results from Ancestry DNA. The results confirmed the research I’ve completed over the last 20 years that I am officially a displaced European “Mutt”!

Clarence DNA

For nearly two centuries, my genes were created by a indiscriminate breeding of the cast-off population of Scandinavia and Germany.  That my ancestors ended up in the Midwest portion of America by choice or a lack of direction is still under review. What is known is that all arrived seeking a better life for themselves or their family, not unlike the current crop of immigrant settling around us now.

My family history includes stories of young men and woman escaping war and famine. Some came for opportunities not available in their crowded homeland. Some were following their dreams, while others arrived because they drew the short straw! Whatever happened that made them take to the sea in the mid-eighteen hundreds, they all ended up as farmers and shopkeepers on the dusty plains of Dakota.

Together they survived because of a rugged independence imbued on them by the conditions they chose to settle in. They were a stubborn, some would say obstinate, people who made the best of their situation. (Who else would think that rotted cabbage and dried up whitefish (Sauerkraut and Lutefisk) could be cherished as the makings of a holiday treat?)

The fact that I still live happily in the rural midwest could be considered a testiment or a curse of the genes that shaped my being.

-CJ Holm

Ronovan Writes Haiku Challenge 195

Street beggar taken in Jaipur Photo credit –

regal in a way
silent but hopeful each day
-blessings are his pay

             -cj holm


Ronovan Writes Haiku Challenge 195 Regal / Hopeful


The Two Dollar Table

The table was sitting in a pile off in a corner. It was part of multi-family estate auction. It had been dragged out of an unheated North Dakota barn that it had been stored in for years and had been brought to this salesbarn for auction to the highest bidder. Unfortunately exposure to the elements wreck havoc on furniture. Glue joints fail, veneer peels, metal rusts, and the old finish flakes off.

dollar table

My new project

When the table came up for sale no one bid on it. The auctioneer went to move it and the top came apart in his hands and one of the legs fell off- people started to laugh and walk away. Because it was solid oak, I felt at least I could use it for parts so I made a bid of two dollars. The auctioneer sighed in relief at the bid and yelled sold!

I brought the table home to my shop and began the inspection. The good news was all the parts were there. The bad news was every glue joint has failed and someone had tried to do a repair on the legs with 16 penny spikes and bailing wire. I definitely had brought home a project.

Here are some of the steps needed to rebuild the table.

Reglued top

Reglued top with holes and cracks puttied

reglued shelf

Lower shelf repaired and waiting for final sanding

refinish legs

Legs repaired and awaiting stripping


Legs after boiling overnight in a diluted acid solution.


Top sanded ready for finish.

After approximately 30 hours of clamping, glueing, sanding, staining and hand rubbing with Tung Oil here is the finished project.

Final Product

Finished table

Haiku Challenge 194


Heimdall returns the Brisingamen to Freya. Image by Heritage Images/Hulton Fine Art Collection/Getty Images

Norse Goddess Freyja
worshipped for fertility
dawns Brisingamen

                    -cj holm

Ronovan Writes Haiku Challenge 194 Worship / Goddess
Prompt words: worship & goddess
Haiku in 5-7-5