Monthly Archives: June 2017

Hello Summer! Simplicity and Stones.

“If it could only be like this always – always summer, always alone, the fruit always ripe and Aloysius in a good temper…”  ―Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited

summerWhen one is retired from working as an employee, you would think that the seasons, including summer, would all blend together.  I have found that while my time is more flexible, it is not entirely disconnected from the rhythm of the of the seasons

We are not big vacation takers, but prefer to do mini-trips.  Some of this has to do with the amount of travel I did with my work before retiring.  It was great.  But even then, we road warriors reluctantly tolerated the non-frequent flyers at the airports headed off for their summer adventure.

In addition, since I flew, literally, around the world for my vocation, a hop in the car for a couple of nights at a quiet Kansas B &B is so much less complicated.  I have been blessed to see a lot of places, and although there are places I would still like to visit, a good book, my journal and quiet are my version of vacation for the moment.

Summer Service

I have one trip planned for August.  To return to Mission Aviation Fellowship in Idaho.  I get to volunteer at MAF headquarters for a few days.  This is a desire I have had in my heart for many years.  It happens to coincide with an extended family picnic on my mother’s side of the family.  This trip touches several of the stones in my bridge.

Other than that, we are hitting the house renovation hard, another stone:  foundations.  Several projects are gaining traction with some summer help.  Hallelujah!

What are your plans for the summer?  Please share how you enjoy this season of the year in the comments below. 

 

The Value in Leftovers

I enjoy re-doing and re-making things.  I always have.  Using leftovers, taking what is on hand and making something useful again:

  • Whatever I might have in the pantry or frig becomes a one-time kind of meal.
  • Scraps of cloth become a comforter, pillow or something for the wall.
  • Scraps of wood become art, wooden trays or even furniture.
Things that began life as one thing are “up-cycled” into a new life.  So where did this tendency come from?
The Why
For me, some came out of necessity.  Using and reusing was a way of life in the world I grew up in.
  • Dad, an auto salvage operator took old cars apart.  They were scrapped out for usable parts and metal.   Some parts were refurbished and resold, others just reused as is on another vehicle.
  • Clothes were re-done and handed down.  If they were too worn out, the cloth was remade into quilts, comforters or some other useful item (remember cloth dust rags?).
  • Mom composted in the garden and turned grass clippings and leaves into flower beds (no pesticides were used!).
Today, it is called being “green” by recycling, up-cycling and re-purposing.  For us it was being practical and frugal.  We were not poor, we just conserved cash for what only cash could buy avoiding the waste of things and time.  In my small town there was retail, but not the Walmart kind of retail.  Many things had to be acquired through mail order catalogs or we made the occasional shopping trip to “the city”.
The DNA
In addition, there was my grand-parents farm where nothing was wasted.  Even what did go into the trash was used as fuel for the stove.  Paper, bits of wood and anything that would burn would make it into the incinerator.  Along with some of the methods used by my parents, my grand-parent’s cows, pigs and chickens ate, in addition to their regular feed, vegetable and fruit scraps.  The dogs and barn cats  were glad recipients of meat scraps and bones (after they were boiled for broth, of course).  Bailing wire was the all purpose duct-tape for farm machinery (until a proper repair could be made).  Well, you get the idea.
New Is Good Too!
At the same time, I do not consider myself “cheap”.  I enjoy nice new things.  I have some of the finest Irish China, French and German crystal and German flatware there is.  We only use it a few times a year and I do not feel one bit guilty about it.  None-the-less, that thing in me that is profoundly satisfied when an old object is remade and given new life is undeniable.  Aside from the practical aspects, there is actually a deeper root to all of this.
Divine Leftovers
It is found in the two stories of multiplying loaves and fishes as told in the Gospels*.  In both cases after the multiplication had occurred and everyone had eaten their fill, Jesus had the leftovers gathered up and collected.  Why would the Son of God who had just multiplied food do that?  To show off?  Not really in his nature.  To give a sign to the disciples of God’s ability to provide?  Perhaps.  The answer is in the text:  Jesus said:  “Gather up that which remains so that nothing is lost.”  Jesus did not want to waste the leftovers!  Wow, what a concept.  God, who created everything, does not waste, even leftover bread and fish.

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Patent Medicines and Home Remedies in the Steinbüchel Home

In summer 1988, after moving into Maison Steinbüchel, we tackled a pile of rubbish and sand from under the apple tree beside the garage along the alley.  A trumpet vine had taken over the area, growing up into the tree,   masquerading what was in store.
patent
Patent Medicine Bottles and Marbles

Once the vine and rubbish were removed, we discovered a large pile of sand and soil left over from a project the former owners had embarked upon.  This was moved to the front corner to form a berm flowerbed.

As we reached ground level,  we realized this was the site of an ash pit where decades of trash were burned.  What began as a clean-up project was now an archaeological dig.

 As we sifted through the dirt, we discovered pieces of china, porcelain, marbles and cute little glass bottles.  In reading the book,  “A Living Gravestone”,  that documented the lives of the family for whom the house is named.  In the book the author, one of the daughters, talks about papa’s patent medicines he kept in small bottles in his bedroom closet.  We suspect at least some of the bottles we found are from this collection. So what were these patent medicines?
Patent Medicines Yesterday and Today
Today we would call them over-the-counter medicines, but these had little or no regulation. The term patent medicine originated in the 17th century in the making and marketing of medical elixirs.  When a particular formula found favor with royalty, it was issued a letters patent so that royal endorsement could be used in advertising the potion.  When it comes to health, healing and dealing with pain we are all quite vulnerable.  If you are like me, I just want to feel good and energetic.  This has been the case down through history.  People have reached for all kinds of substances to address this basic desire.
History tells us that these formulas ranged from the ineffective to the dangerous.  Most were alcohol based (as are some of our common OTC meds today).  In the middle were formulations of herbal extractions,  essential oils and other natural aids we are rediscovering today.  Were folks healthier?  My sense is yes, if they survived the flu, typhoid and other diseases that do not succumb to these natural remedies readily.

Continue reading Patent Medicines and Home Remedies in the Steinbüchel Home

A Day Of Remembrance – The Purpose of Memorials

Think only of the past as its remembrance gives you pleasure. Jane Austen

We just celebrated Memorial Day in the United States.  This day of remembrance was

Resting Place of Peter Frederick Stackman and Infant Daughter Mathilde

started after the civil war by decorating the graves of fallen soldiers.  In fact it was called Decoration Day even by my parents.

It became Memorial Day as a US Federal holiday in 1971, the year I graduated High School. In practice, many use it as an opportunity to remember family and friends who have passed as well as honoring fallen soldiers of all wars.  As an aside, we celebrate Veterans Day in November, to honor living veterans and soldiers on or near Armistice Day.
 Memorials are important
Our pastor spoke to this on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend.  A memorial, in many cases a stone of some kind, causes us to remember, which means to:
  • Be Mindful
  • Recount, Repeat and Rehearse
  • Record
The purpose of this remembering is to:
  • Recall the past.
  • Recount to those in the Present
  • Respond to the future
 You see, this idea of remembering is what THE STONEBRIDGE is really about.  To remember the past, learn from it in order to repeat what is helpful and avoid that which is not.  The BLOG is intended to serve as the “recounting to those in the present” piece.  You are “those”!.  It is my belief that telling lost stories serves to inform in order that we are able to benefit from the past while moving forward.  This is what remembrance is about.
Remembrance Of A Historic Home’s Namesakes
We were not able to travel to the resting places of our families.  Geography and schedules prevented any laremembrancerge gatherings of our clan, so instead, Dr. Dave and I visited the resting places of the HahnStackmanSteinbuchel- Gouldner– Wilson clan at Maple Grove Cemetery and The Old Mission Mausoleum near-by.
 remembrance
These are the families for whom our historic home is named and whose descendants we have come to know.  It’s nice to have an adoptive family of sorts.  We have visited a few of these places before but since I have been diving into the details of their lives,  and posting my findings on THE STONEBRIDGE, this visit had a deeper meaning.  Of course th
at is always the case, when we know more, it means more.
Today is ours to shape tomorrow as we are informed by the past.  Happy Remembering!
What did you do to celebrate Memorial Day this year?  Please comment below.