Tag Archives: Stones

Chance Encounters, Connections and History

encounters

Recently while my husband was blowing off our sidewalks, he spotted a gentleman looking over our house from the curb.  This is not an uncommon occurrence, since the house, even in its current “need for a redo state”, is quite striking.  A conversation was begun that lasted, again not uncommonly, for a while. Chance encounters making connections.
It turns out this man had known Dorothy Elisabeth Steinbuchel Wilson Gouldner in her later years as a neighbor.  He was currently reading her book, A Living Gravestone, about the family and the house.  We do not have a house number – this would not have been a part of its original decor – so he wanted to ensure he had the right location.
We shared stories and information and told him of the research I was doing to update and even validate the information in the book.  The Foundations pillar of this BLOG is devoted primarily to that endeavor along with a place to share progress on the historic restoration  when it begins in earnest.
Encounters With New Details
The visitor said Elisabeth was very proud of that book.  In addition, he mentioned that Olive Ann Beech’s daughter helped her to get it to publication.   Hummmm, a detail I was unaware of before, since there is no mention of this in the book by way of  acknowledgment.  I am aware, however, from the book The Barnstormer and the Lady, that Elisabeth’s brother-in-law, Rene Goulnder was Walter Beech’s personal physician.  His signature is on Mr. Beech’s death certificate. Thus the probable connection.

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A Return to Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF)

This will re-publish as I make a return trip to Mission Aviation Fellowship -MAF.  This time I am staying for  a few days to volunteer in the fabrication shop.  I am excited.  Following is the background for this trip from a previous post.
Many of the things that form our lives rest in the background.  They crisscross our paths making significant deposits in quiet ways.   On a trip to the northwest last year, we took time to visit the headquarters of Mission Aviation Fellowship in Nampa, ID.  We have been supporters of MAF for over 20 years, but my connection to this organization goes back much further.
After our visit, I began to reflect exactly how far back this connection does go.  It, in fact, it goes back to my father. As I wrote about my father’s interaction with short-term mission trips in Costa Rica, I recalled something.  When daddy first became a pilot, he looked into becoming a missionary pilot.  He loved flying and wanted to serve using this passion and his piloting skills.
He was also a skilled mechanic and had an instinct for getting things to work.  It seemed a perfect fit.  He made inquiries thinking there might be a way to do short-term flying missions.  MAF mission did not have a provision for short term pilots.  In addition, he was not a certified air-frame and power-plant aircraft mechanic, nor a certified flight instructor nor did he possess a license for instrument flying.  These are all requirements to serve on the MAF piloting team.  Daddy found another way to serve in short-term missions but, as a result of our conversations about this, the seed of aviation as a mission tool was planted inside me.

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Vintage Lath and Porcelain

“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.” — Mary Lou Cook
I re-purpose slath porcelaintuff.  I primarily use materials left from the rehabbing of our 120+ year old houses. There is always lots of vintage wood that many rehab-ers toss out as scrap, especially the raw stuff from the plaster walls:  lath.  I love this stuff.  It’s so raw and rustic.
Then there are all those cute, interestingly shaped porcelain parts from replacing knob and tube electrical.  Buckets of them.  Over the holidays, as I awoke one morning, a plan in the form of images, for making wood boxes and trays using the lath and porcelain, popped into my head.
I had already made some small lath boxes, but this added a whole new genre for me!  Each would be unique, yet just using the same basic ingredients:  Lath and Porcelain bits.  I also had a ready-made painted wood box that was found at an estate sale to add to the mix.
The Concept
 When using reclaimed materials, I let the materials dictate dimension rather than deciding on a certain size ahead of time.  Ragged ends, broken and cracked parts must be removed, leaving random lengths.   In the end, for a tray all you need to start is four lengths of wood, two pairs the same.  If all four happen to be the same, you have a square, if two and two, it’s a rectangle.  I have not ventured into other forms, such as triangles and rhombuses (hey I took geometry!)  as that requires fancier cutting of the joints than I care to do at this point.  Ninety degree cuts only for me!
 The Tools:
  • a Stanley hand miter saw (that, as I said, I only use for 90 degreelath porcelain cuts for now)
  • a small hammer (for small brads)
  • a set of corner picture frame clamps (estate sale find)
  • a multi-purpose screw driver
  • a cordless power drill (my one power tool)

The Supplies:

  • Greased Lightning for cleaning the porcelain parts
  • Nitrate gloves (to protect my manicure – of course!)
  • Wood glue
  • E-600 glue (it will hold anything!)
  • Lots of small brads and screws (estate sale finds)
  • Buckets of hex nuts and bolts (leftovers)
  • Paint samples.  I generally do not paint lath, but there are other bits I may add some color to.
 The Steps
  • Cut the Lath into pairs of the same length.  Most of the time I have already cleaned it, but if needed, I take a wire brush for a final scrub.
  • Place into the frame clamps, gluing as you go
  • Using a very small drill bit, drill two small pilot holes in each joint.  Do not skip this step!  125 year old wood is well seasoned and can be brittle – this will avoid cracking.
  • Nail each corner and let set for a few hours or overnight.
  • Measure the bottom and cut the lengths of lath or other wood material for the base.  I have used reclaimed cedar shingles or other bits of scrap wood as long as they are the same thickness
  • Cut, glue and nail the base
 lath porcelain
At thislath porcelain point the box is complete.  I have added felt pads on the bottom, and fabric inserts in the tray just to give it a bit of polish.  However, the insulator bits made cute legs and handles.  I have also used vintage porcelain door knobs and handles.
lath porcelain
My next project will be to take a wooden clothes rack that Maggie the cat managed to destroy and turn it into, let’s see, a breakfast tray or two?  Art? Picture frames?  stay tuned….

 

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A Visit to Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF)

 the Kodiak by Quest Aviation can take off in 800ft with 7,500 lbs gross weight was developed specificaly for the unique needs of mission avation
The Kodiak by Quest Aviation can take off in 800 ft.  with 7,500 lbs gross weight.  It was developed specifically with the unique needs of mission aviation in mind. None-the-less, it has found uses in private and commercial aviation as well.
Many of the things that form our lives rest in the background.  They crisscross our paths making significant deposits in quiet ways.   On a recent trip to the northwest, we took time to visit the headquarters of Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) in Nampa, ID.  We have been supporters of MAF for over 20 years, but my connection to this organization goes back much further.  After our visit, I began to reflect exactly how far back this connection goes.   It, in fact, it goes back to my father. As I wrote about my father’s interaction with short-term mission trips in Costa Rica, I recalled something.  When daddy first became a pilot, he looked into becoming a missionary pilot.  He loved flying and wanted to serve using this passion and his piloting skills.  He was also a really good mechanic and had an instinct for getting things to work.  It seemed a perfect fit, but was not to be.  Before finding out what was involved, he thought that there might be a way to do short-term flying missions.  The MAF mission did not have a provision for part-time pilots.  In addition, he was not a certified air-frame and power-plant aircraft mechanic, nor a certified flight instructor nor did he possess a license for instrument flying.  These are all requirements to serve on the MAF piloting team.  Daddy found another way to serve in short-term missions but, as a result of our conversations about this, the seed of aviation as a mission tool was planted inside me.

Continue reading A Visit to Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF)

Old Drawers

 Drawer.  Noun: a sliding, lidless, horizontal compartmIMG_0623ent, as in a piece of furniture, that may be drawn out in order to gain access to it.                                                                                                                                                    Origin & History of “drawer”:  A drawer is literally something that is ‘drawn’ or ‘pulled’ out. The coinage was perhaps based on French tiroir ‘drawer’, which was similarly derived from the verb tirer ‘pull’.  (16th c.)

Old drawers, or more exactly, drawers that are no longer useful as drawers but remain in tact, call to me.  If you have read some of my previous BLOGs you know a bit of my passion (obsession?) in reusing stuff.  I come by this tendency honestly from both my mother and father.  On my dad’s side, they just kept stuff because “I might need it someday”.  And in some cases that was true.  Usually it just meant that things stacked up.  On my Mom’s side, the farmers, it was somewhat the same, but the German genes forced things into something useful.  Not always in a pretty way but used none-the-less.  Nothing and no one sits idle in a German household for long!

In both cases these things represented an asset; money and time that did not have to be spent.  It represented frugality and, yes, in some cases a fear of not having enough since these were families whose psyche were formed by the years of the Great Depression.  I did not know that kind of lack.  Not even close.  Cash was not abundant, but we had nice things.  Mom knew how to re-purpose, up-cycle and re-cycle before it was a political statement.  However, she did not abide clutter and enjoyed making things look pretty. Things in our home were neat and tidy.

Even the Drawers!

So when I see and old drawer my DNA takes over, times two.  It takes some skill to build a good drawer.  I am almost in awe of the old kitchen cabinet drawers from 70+ years ago, that are still solid and sturdy when the cabinets or cupboards that once housed them are long gone.  They are not elegant, built primarily for function:  to put things in.  So when I come across an old drawer it goes into my project room.

 Last winter I needed a foot rest under my desk, so i grabbed an old drawer, turned it upside down and placed it under my feet.  Functional.  Dad would have left it at that.  But my mother’s DNA kicked in recently and here is what haDrawerppened:
The drawer was:
  • Lightly sanded and primed.  There were stains that my favorite stain hider, KILZ, took care of.
  • painted on the outside with a semi-gloss version of the wall color of the room it will reside in.
  • then painted inside in a rust color from a bit of a paint sample I had on hand.
  • given a “new” hdrawertandle from my stash of cool vintage hard ware (let me know if you are interested, I have lots)
  • put on pretty red casters that I acquired from an estate sale for a few dollars.
  • topped with a padded lid so I can rest my feet in comfort while gaining some storage.
 drawers
Of course the lid moves this from the old drawer category into the wooden box on wheels category.  I guess this old drawer has been up-cycled.
 More Old Drawers
 Here are a few other things that old drawers have become in the Maison Steinbuchel shop.
Drawers
Stars in the Rockies
drawers
Starry Night – Drawer front turned coat hangar
drawers
Skyline Wall Art
 Some have gone to new homes via ETSY.  I use a few in my own home.
drawers
Under Bed Storage
My Old Drawers Pintrest Board is where I collect ideas from others as well as post projects I have done.  The cost of these is primarily in my time.  With the exception of paint, brushes and sandpaper, the materials are from found objects.
ETSY and Pintrest along with trips to shops where others are exercising their up-cycling, re-purposing talents always spark fresh ideas.
This reusing stuff gene is a stone in my bridge handed down via DNA.  However, to be viable, it had to be recognized, nurtured and even adapted.  I do not need to do this in order to save cash (although that is a nice benefit), nor even to save time.  I could just toss these things out or donate them (which I do this in some cases), and tap an app on my iPhone to order something new (which I also do in some cases), but there is a place in me that is not be satisfied with that.
There are stones in your bridge waiting to be discovered, unearthed and placed in a more prominent place along your journey.  A gift of music?  painting?  Writing?  Perhaps a skill that has laid dormant or was set aside.  Some area of interest that cries in you for nurture and expression.  Something that satisfies your soul.  Give yourself permission to recognize what it is and say it out loud.  Today.
In the comments below, in one word, describe that latent something within you that you want to pursue.  

Flaps – A Cullen Cat

Baby Flaps
Baby Flaps

We are cat people. I was not always a cat person. Oh, I had pets growing up but they were always outside pets, mostly dogs, and the attachment fell far short of what I know today. I suspect that had to do with several things:  We were a farming community and my mother was raised on a farm; Animals served a practical role and were somewhat transitory so we were not encouraged to get too attached; If I had any real attachment to animals growing up it was to horses on my grand parents farm and to the iconic TV animals like Flicka, Lassie and Trigger. I out-grew all that when boys became more than someone to just climb trees with, but that is another subject.

I became a cat person when I married. My husband is a true cat whisperer and could give Jackson Galaxy some serious competition. He has an amazing way of bringing out the unique personality of any cat, of restoring cats who are damaged and to actually get them to mind! Well, mind in that “I’m a cat” sort of way. We have a lot of fun with our kitty tribe. No, we are not crazy cat people, but I have learned to truly love, appreciate and even train these furry soul-mates.flaps

The oldest of our tribe right now is Flaps. Yes, Flaps, like the control surface on an airplane. He is the fo
urth in a series of aviation named cats. The first three were Pitch, Roll, and Yaw. There were also Stick and Rudder.  These are gone now, but Flaps, now four-teen years old, remains. We started the series when we acquired an airplane hangar with an apartment. The cat’s job, besides keeping us company and entertained, were to keep rodents under control in the hangar. Rodents can be very damaging to aircraft and this was our way of dealing with them. Our version of barn cats, I guess.

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Boundary Lines and Ancient Landmarks

Boundary“Do not remove the ancient boundary which your fathers have set.”  ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭22:28‬ ‭NKJV‬‬
I just finished reading the book “Boundaries” by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr John Townsend.  I have heard this book referred to on the two good doctors radio show and on the Dave Ramsey show.  First published in 1992, I finally checked out a copy from our local library.  It is not my intention to do a review of the book, however, I do recommend that you add it to your reading list.  It has got me to thinking a lot about boundary lines in general and how they apply to this whole Stonebridge defining, identifying, building concept.  It may take more than one post to deal with this, but here is an introduction to this idea.
In some ways it relates to the margins idea I wrote about in The Value of Margins – A Lesson From Ladders and Air Traffic Control.   However, margins are the space that surround and protect certain boundaries and may not be associated with every sort of boundary.  In retrospect, it probably would have been a better process to have written on the idea of boundaries before margins, but life, the stonebridge we are traveling, does not always occur in an orderly or logical fashion.  What would be the fun in that?  So here we go:  A boundary is defined as:
  1. a line that marks the limits of a geographical area; a dividing line,  “the eastern boundary of the wilderness”
  2. a limit of a subject or sphere of activity.  “a community without class or political boundaries”
synonyms:  border, frontier, partition, dividing line, divide, division, borderline, cutoff point
Origin-early 17th century: variant of dialect bounder, from bound2 + -er1, perhaps on the pattern of limitary .
In looking for a stimulating quote on boundaries I was intrigued to see how many were about pushing, going past, changing or even disregarding real or perceived boundaries.  There were a lot of quotes about establishing one’s own boundaries without regard to how it affects others, a sort of throwing caution to the wind, “I want out of jail” sort of feel.  It seems these days we don’t care for the idea of boundaries.  Yet, they do exist, apparently we need them, and secretly, we do want them.  Proverbs, a book of wisdom, clearly says to “not remove the ancient landmark”.  The word landmark comes from a word that means “a twisted cord” as in one used as a boundary marker; A limit, a bound.  I think boundaries have gotten a bad rap and I want to explore the value of boundaries.

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The Value of Margins – A Lesson From Ladders and Air Traffic Control

marginsIt has been a challenging few months. It began last fall when my husband took the season a bit too literally and FELL from a ladder while trimming a tree. Yes there was a running chainsaw involved so we are thankful that the only damage from the incident was a broken left heal bone. None-the-less, crutches in a three story house, trips to specialists, me becoming his chauffeur, and generally having to pick up the tasks that require two good feet (which is more than one realizes) to keep up with daily life was a challenge for both of us. Many goals and plans had to be put on hold, although we did soldier on in many ways.

We even did some things we might not have done just as a diversion like Tuesdays on the Terrace at our local botanical gardens. We received wonderful aid from our church family so that the lawn stayed mowed until cool weather set in. By Thanksgiving he was back on two feet and is now doing physical therapy to get rid of the last of the effects of the injury. We are grateful that the outcome was not worse. Very grateful. Yes, very very grateful.

However, this kind of thing messes with ones goals, plans and dreams. It also taps into the reserves or margins one tries so carefully to build in to life. Margins of:

* time
* relationship resources
* money (savings)
* emotional and mental resources
* spiritual resources

These past few months have demonstrated to me the critical value of margins. Especially when life throws you a curve ball.

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Wisdom The Principle Thing

Men studied history primarily to discern the ways of Providence and so acquire wisdom for their own age.  – Stephen Mansfield
 One of the four categories of stones in my personal Stonebridge I call, “Foundations”.  On my About page this falls in the context of our historic home and the lives that are lived there.  Another of the pillars is “Family”,  the stories of ancestors who have shaped who I am.  In the series of posts entitled Circles and Intersections, I give examples of how things, events and people from the past have come back around and shown up in my life.  So why all this looking at the past?  Is it just my age or is there some real value to it?
We are warned by many to avoid letting the past hold us back.  I agree.  We are made to move forward, to let go and to be who we are designed to be, however, we have been designed by what has gone before.  As a person of faith, I hold to the view that God made me, in His image as a unique person with free will.  I am also aware of the forces in this life which seeks to taint what God has intended.  Looking at the past serves as an objective means to sort things out, when done correctly.
In The Search for God and Guinness: A Biography of the Beer that Changed the World, by Stephen Mansfield, there is a section where the author explores the faith of the Guinness clan.  He shares that at some point one of the sons attended Trinity College in Dublin.  There was a statement in this discussion that articulated this concept of examining the past that took my breath away:
 wisdom“…We would find that one of the most treasured fields of study at Trinity was a topic we do not teach today, one that we have neglected to our own harm.  It is called moral philosophy and it was a blend of history, theology, philosophy, and ethics.  It was, in sort, history writ large, a look at the past to gain the lessons that might be learned.  Men studied history primarily to discern the ways of Providence and so acquire wisdom for their own age.  Far from the ivory tower, abstracted-from-reality approach so prevalent in our modern universities, the study of earlier ages was then considered eminently practical and men expected to live differently for the time they spent in the far-off country of the past”.

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Becoming a Lover of History

 

Masion Steinbuchel
Masion Steinbuchel

I just read a book, In Search of God and Guinness by Stephen Mansfield.  Introducing the book, he makes the statement “I do not know when I became a lover of history”.  The statement struck me.  As he described his journey of becoming a lover of things past, it matched mine in many ways.  I too, did not always love or appreciate that which came before.  History classes and reading history books in school were agony.  I found it dry, boring, and irrelevant at the time. Don’t get me wrong, I did well in the classes, I just did not enjoy or appreciate it.  Even the elective Greek and Roman Philosophy course I took my first year in college seemed a silly mystery.

 Some could chalk it up to youth, or that I was a girl from small town Kansas and thus too short sighted to “get it”.  There may be some truth in that, but history to me was just disconnected facts and stories about people and places that had no impact on me now nor on where I was going.  This held true until I discovered the Bible as the Word of God.  More than good ideas to live by, Sunday School stories, or rules that should not be broken, but actually being the living breathing Word of GOD.  Now this was HISTORY.  I discovered a connectivity down through the ages that led right to my personal doorstep today.  That backdrop birthed in me an appreciation and respect for what has gone before.  I now understood why my families’ stories were important and impactful.  I began to see intersections and circles of history that were very personal.  Some were amusing, some eyebrow raising, some were painful and even embarrassing.  All were helpful in helping me understand why today is as it is.
Being a lover of history is essential to living in and stewarding a Historic Landmark house, but not the dry disconnected kind of history.  Restoring and maintaining a historic structure is not for the faint of heart, but when the history is personal and comes alive, the passion of “raising foundations” becomes an unseen force that holds you up and keeps you going.  It is a commitment at a deeper level.  Most do not get it.  They just don’t see the vision as you do.  I recall the scene in the Masterpiece Classic, Downton Abby where Lord Grantham is introducing the future Earl, Mathew Crawly to the estate:  “you do not love the place yet, no you don’t love it.  You see a million bricks that may crumble, a thousand gutters and pipes that may block and leak, and stones that will crack in the frost.”  Mathew responds, “and you don’t?”, to which Robert replies. “I see my life’s work”.  Later when he is discussing the future of the estate with his eldest daughter, Mary, Lord Grantham explains further:  “I am a steward more than an owner, building on the work of those who have gone before”.
So the long view is not just helpful but necessary to informing the life we are now living, whatever that may be.  Being a lover of history;
– cultivates depth and enlarges perspective.
– takes you outside and beyond yourself
– inspires you to give to something bigger and longer lasting than the length of your days, at the same time making your own way more sure, more steady, more focused.
Being a lover of history does not mean you abandon today.  On the contrary, it will enhance your today.  Nor does it require you abandon all that technological advancement offers.  The vision for our home is to retain all of its depth, beauty and character but adding to it all the things that make life more efficient and yes, comfortable in today’s world.  In other words, building wisely on what has gone before.
The stuff your own Stonebridge is made up of is much the same, building wisely on the stones left by the past.   Discovering what and who went before.  Seeing clearly that which has influenced who you are today, will add depth to your life’s journey.  It will broaden your horizons and view-shed as you walk along your personal Stonebridge.  You too are making history that someone, down the road may discover and love.
Look around and think about where you are.  What are you standing on that you simply inherited?  Take an inventory.  That is a start.