Tag Archives: Kansas

Butterflies at Maison Steinbuchel – Monet in Kansas

The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough. Rabindranath Tagore
Every September I am enamored with the convergence of all matter of butterflies on Maison Steinbuchel.  The flurry of peaceful activity brings out the child in me as i stand right in the middle of my flower bed and let the joy of these flying flowers surround me.  It lifts my soul and cleanses any drudgery the day may have brought.
The season begins in May and June when the bleuet or cornflowers,  whose original seed I purchased at Monet’s garden in Giverny France. begin to bloom.  By July 4th these have faded and multicolored zinnias, who also originated from M. Monet’s garden, begin their season.  I do not plant these each year as seeds from the previous year emerge on their own.  I simply carefully remove spent flowers, unwanted weeds and grass.  Among side the zinnias, rouge lemon basil also grows.  This combination seems to appeal to butterflies, since they come in droves.
Of course there are bees and even birds, all enjoying each other’s company while keeping my nearby veggie garden pollinated and reasonably pest free.
Butterflies and Purple Things
There is also a walkway, made up of 4 inch thick limestone slabs.  It’s plantings include:
  • purple mums brought from our California garden when we moved here in 1988
  • sweet potato vines from the Flower Ranch
  • Texas sized coleus from the Flower Ranch
  • creeping thyme step-ables from local garden centers
  • native phlox – a gift from a neighbor
  • zinnias that self sowed
  • rose moss that self sowed
The butterflies also enjoy this area, and our cats sit for hours entertained by the flying flowers.
As summer winds down and autumn begins to show herself, the butterflies represent, that although a winter rest is coming, spring will again come forth from the seeds being sown. They too will return.  For now, I sit and enjoy their beauty.
The music in the video can be found on iTunes.  Search for Into the Street by Chris Christiansen
If you want to enjoy this little bit of heaven on earth make a plan now to create your own garden next spring.  To learn how to make your own butterfly garden you don’t have to get seeds from France.  I suggest P. Allen Smith as a resource.  Once established, it takes minimal effort to maintain.
Please comment below on your impressions of this “impressionist” garden!

Regetmeier Reunion On The Homestead

My mother’s paternal great grandfather Frederick Konrad Regetmeier,  immigrated from northern Germany in the mid 1860’s.  He ended up in Jewell County, Kansas, a journey that took a decade.  The legs of his trip followed the model of many of his country men at the time:
  • 1863 – left Germany as a stowaway with his brother, August.  They were discovered en route and made to work for their passage.  Arriving in New York with no papers, they were held to be returned to Germany, but instead jumped ship during the night and escaped.
  • 1871 – Frederick became a naturalized citizen in Freeport, IL.
  • 1874 – March, received a land grant in Buffalo Township, Jewell County, KS.
  • 1874 – May, married Malinda Elizabeth Miller, the 17 year old daughter of His neighbors a mile or so north.
They lived the first five years of married life faming the homestead living in a dugout.  Around 1880 they built their dream home on the homestead.  By 1886 they had seven children, four boys and three girls. Another girl was born some years later, with two infant deaths in between.  They also took in an young orphaned boy who died at the age of eight.  With a farm to tend to and household of nine or more to feed, clothe and educate, it is not hard to fill in the story with daily life.  There were no doubt community, some church and other social gatherings.  Births, birthdays, holidays, romance and at some point weddings cam about to celebrate.

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dream-Home

Dream-home On A Kansas Homestead

 If I were asked to name the chief benefit of the house, I should say: the house shelters day-dreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace.  Gaston Bachelard
 During one of my extended family’s visit to the Rightmeier homestead in Buffalo Township, Jewell County, KS, an aunt found a doorknob near the sight where the house had stood. We do not know if it is off of the homestead house or another structure from the farm.  Since there has been no construction on the property since the house was demolished, there is little doubt it that it is from the homestead.  The style is right for the era.
It was about five years after Frederick and Malinda Rightmeier had married in 1876,  that it was decided they had “lived in a hole”, a dugout, long enough.  It was time to build a house.  Since Malinda had moved to the area with her parents three years before marrying Frederic, and had no doubt lived in a dugout with her parents for a time,  I am sure she was more than ready for a proper house.  By this time they had four children born about a year apart.  Two adults and four little ones in a dugout would have been cramped no matter how comfy they may have managed to make it.
Dream-home Building Materials
Information on the acquisition of the materials for the house came from an oral history done from an interview of my grandfather, Lyman, Frederic’s grandson by my younger sister.  He said that Fred made several wagon trips 50 east miles to Blue Rapids, KS on the Blue Ridge River to acquire the raw lumber as the quality was much better there.  It may have been walnut he was after.  Another account stated that the raw lumber was than milled in Randall just a few miles east and south.  It was quite a process but was a nice house by the standards of the day.

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How A Dugout House Demonstrated Wisdom

“Prepare your outside work, Make it fit for yourself in the field; And afterward build your house.”  ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭24:27‬ ‭NKJV‬‬
The view north on the homestead. Somewhere on this vista was the location of the dugout.

My mother’s paternal great grandfather, Frederick Konrad Regetmeyer, immigrated from northern Germany in the mid 1860’s.  How that came about is told in a series on circles.  After he was naturalized as a US Citizen, through the network of German immigrants, he became aware of land grant opportunities in Kansas.  In the midst of dreams, he no doubt knew from others that living in a hole in the ground, a dugout, was part of the journey.

The German Immigrant Network
History tells us the German immigrants were anti-slavery and wanted Kansas established firmly as a free state.  There was a period of time in my fair state, when this was quite unsettled.  Rather than protest and fight wars, this community of folks quietly recruited their fellow immigrant countryman to come to Kansas and homestead.  This would, in principle, bring like-minded voters to the state and therefore tip the scales toward the anti-slavery side.
I do not know how altruistic my great great grandfather was on the anti-slavery issue.  However, I do know that from where he had come from in Northern Germany, the Hanover area, the possibility of owning a section of land just for the cost of making basic improvements was a dream come true.  Bureau of Land Management records indicate that the southwest section, 160 acres, of Washington Township was deeded on March 10, 1874 to Frederick Rightmeyer.  In May of that year he married Malinda Elizabeth Miller in Jewell County, KS.  She was the daughter of the neighbor a mile north, who was  born in Mercer County, IL but had come with her family in 1872 to the Kansas prairies.
Newlywed Life And A Dugout
How they went about setting up housekeeping is still being pieced together.  By far the most valuable information we have is from an interview my sister did with my grandfather, Lyman Rightmeier the grandson of Frederick Konrad.  She had done this as a term paper in 1977, for Mrs. Friends Senior Advanced Advanced Composition Class at Plainville High School.  It has provided leads from which to research, not the least of which was my husband and I traveling to Varenholz Germany.   

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Education

Education – The Stackman-Steinbüchel Children

I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious – Albert Einstein on Education

Maison Steinbüchel, a Kansas State Historic Landmark and our home, is named for the family of Herman Frederick Steinbüchel , the second husband of Marie-Louise Hahn.  I have been digging into the details of the three family lines that converged and lived

Education
Mt. Carmel Academy was enlarged twice, but each addition mimicked the style of the original building of brick and stone, resulting in one large cohesive structure. Image is from an original postcard.

in this landmark. The life of this blended family is told in the book “A Living Gravestone” by Elisabeth Guldner, Herman’s daughter.  Other posts have outlined their journey to Wichita as well as Herman Steinbüchel ‘s parallel journey to the area.

References to the education the children received in early Wichita are scattered throughout several chapters in the book.  Education is about much more than mere knowledge.  It’s impact rests on the how, where and who did the educating as much as what was studied.
Between the two marriages there were six children born.  A daughter born to the first marriage died in infancy.
Education In The Early Years

The Stackman-Steinbüchel children’s education began at home with a governess.  Little is known about who this woman was, her exact duties or for how long she worked with the

Education
Parochial School Pro-Cathedral Church, Wichita, KS

children.  Poking around census and city records has not revealed any details and likely will not, as the records of the 1890 census were for the most part, destroyed in a fire in 1921  She is mentioned only once in the book when when it was stated that Marie-Louise had tried to play match maker with Herman Steinbüchel and her at one point.

Their Grammar school education was received at the Pro-Cathedral school at second and St. Francis.  It was run by the St. Joseph Order of Nuns.   In looking at this Order’s roots from France, I can’t help but think of the European influence and no doubt having some French spoken among the sisters would have connected Marie-Louise’s language heritage to her children’s daily life, if not her Lutheran faith.

 Middle And Upper School Education

At some point when the household was becoming rather over grown with five children, it was decided the three older ones would be sent to boarding school.  The two girls were enrolled at Mt. Carmel Academy on the western edge of then Wichita.  Friz, (Frederick Charles) was taken to the Catholic Christian Brothers in St. Joseph. Mo.

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A Blended Family: The Steinbüchels and Stackmans

“Sometimes love isn’t fireworks, sometimes love just comes softly.”
― Janette OkeLove Comes Softly
Maison Steinbüchel, a Kansas State Historic Landmark, our home, is named for the family of Herman Frederick Steinbüchel , the second husband of Marie-Louise Hahn.  I have been digging into the details of the three family lines that blended into one and lived in this landmark.  The life of this blended family is told in the book “A Living Gravestone” by Elisabeth Guldner, Herman’s daughter.  Other posts have outlined Marie’s marriage to Peter Stackman, their journey to Wichita as well as Herman Steinbüchel ‘s parallel journey to the area.
The time-line of Herman’s journey to Kansas where he met Marie-Louise
1867 – Left Cologne, Germany and traveled to New York with his brother and sister, Karl and Josephine
1867 – Worked on a farm and in a Syrup factory in New Jersey
1870 – Moved to Kansas
1874 – Became a Citizen of the United States – applied for a Land Grant in Kansas
1876 – Became the agent for the German-American Life Insurance Company for the state of Kansas
NOTE:  The dates above are from a combination of the book and Bureau of Land Management Records.   When dealing with family histories, dates do not always line up. There are no doubt other records that could more precisely validate Herman’s movements, but that effort remains for a future date. 

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How Does An Abstract Preserve History?

Abstract: condensed history, taken from public records or documents, of the ownership of a piece of land.

preserveWe have the original abstract of our Kansas Historic Landmark home dating back to the land grant of 160 acres from the Osage Land Trust.   It’s existence serves to preserve history far beyond  the handing off of property ownership.

In past BLOG posts, I have told how three individual lives, immigrants from France and Germany, converged in Wichita, Kansas.  How, through love, hope, taking risks and even tragedy ended up as three blood lines merged into a family for which the Steinbuchel house is named.

It took eight-teen years from the time the land was acquired via land grant, divided, plated and developed until 1905 Park Place was built in 1888.  It was another nine-teen years before the blended Hahn-Stackman-Steinbuchel family made it their home in 1907.

Land Trading and Transfers
The land grant was to Mr. George Sharp in 1869 with the final document signed By President Ulysses S. Grant on April 15, 1873.  Over a period of 18 years the land was divided, sold and eventually plated into the city of Wichita.  Imagine, 160 acres less than two miles north of downtown Wichita!  During those 18 years, the land sales and transfer went something like this:
  • 1870 – Land designated for grant from the Osage Trust Lands which were bought in 1820 via treaty
  • 1873 – 160 acres, which included the land our house is on, was granted to Mr. George Sharpe
  • 1871 – 40 Acres of the original grant was sold to Mr. William Polk
  • 1872 – A portion of the land was sold to to Doc Lewellen – the same Lewellen who had the trading post a few blocks south.

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How to Rest – Maintaining a Dynamic Balance

restGet away and unplug. You’ll come back stronger than ever.  – MICHAEL HYATT
Summer is halfway over for most of us.  A season that promises recreation, relaxation and rest.  We let go of the frantic demands and structures of the other seasons, and just breathe, right?
As a person who retired from a 38 year civil servant career, most of which was spent in front of a radar screen as an air traffic controller, shucking off structure and stress was my idea of heaven on earth.  It still is, yet at the same time, I was not naive enough to believe the illusion that this kind of place really exists.  At least not for any length of time.  The evidence is everywhere.
For instance, after years of telling airplanes where to be and not to be, I found that true freedom lay in all parties, pilots and controllers, taking intentional actions within a structure is what created a non-stressful air traffic flow.
I find the same to be true in our financial life:  Intentionally creating a budget in anticipation of projected income and adhering to that budget takes the stress out of cash flow.  I am also finding this to be true with time.  Yes, even summertime after retirement.
In all of these examples one must be flexible, and make adjustments for the unanticipated. Building in appropriate margins make even those events a bother rather than a crises.  Why?  There are forces at work to put pressure on the best intentions:

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Hospitality – Exploring The Foundations

hospitalityHe who dwells in the shelter of the Most High,  Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. Psalms 91:1
The concept of hospitality has a much higher meaning than is commonly thought of today, at least in my part of the world.  Although the everyday application remains valid, it lacks the depth of its’ original intent.
True hospitality is personal.  Its requires effort and energy, commitment, an awareness of other’s needs, preferences and desires – even unspoken ones.  This goes well past the hospitality industry, e.g. hotels, restaurants and other home away from home establishments.  Although once staying in a hotel adept at hospitality or eaten in a truly hospitable restaurant  you do not forget the experience.
Hospitality Is An Action
I have had such opportunities and it is nourishment for the soul and body – and generally a bit of a shock to the wallet!  Still, there is something special about feeling, well, special. Here is a description of  what I am talking about from a review of Hotel Dina in Greece:

“In the evenings, if she saw us sitting outside, she’d pull out an unlabeled bottle of local white wine, pour us each a glass and leave the bottle or grill us up some octopus. A little pat on the shoulder for me in the afternoon, a fresh towel at night, a cup of Greek coffee in the morning. Everything Dina did seemed to be touched with a sense of grace and humor. She was as warm as the sun on our yet-to-be-burned shoulders. The words she spoke to me weren’t necessarily understood, but her meaning was always clear. “You are most welcome.”

The Greeks have a word for it, but don’t they seem to have a word for everything? In this case, the word is philoxenia. Philos= love, xeno= stranger. Essentially, the word means “hospitality” but that definition is too facile. One enters a Greek household and one is immediately offered a drink and something to eat. Taking care of a guest’s wants and needs is deeply ingrained into the culture. There is a sense of generosity that seems completely unstrained. As a guest of Dina’s, even though this was ultimately (and I do not mean this cynically) to be. a moneyed transaction, I found her kindness was not something that was paid for. My stay with her completely refreshing in every sense of the word. I felt restored. And I am most grateful.”

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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.

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