Kenneth Gehrer – The Man and His Creations

Digging through the archives, we came across a January 22, 2000 article from the Wichita Eagle, interviewing dad about his unique garden creations.  I’ve posted it here for your reading enjoyment and just in time for his next big sale.

You can meet the artist himself as well as get a chance to purchase his one-of-a-kind creations Thursday, May 3rd through Saturday, May 5th.  The sale will take place at 138 N. Parkwood in Crown Heights from 7:30am to 5:30pm.  The sale will also include other collectibles such as Barbies, Hot Wheels, jewelry, Hallmark Kiddy Car Classics, tools, and house ware items.

KenGehrer Eagle Jan 2000

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Sweet Delights

What do you get when you mix one of my mothers world famous peanut butter balls and an orange chocolate angel food cake made by my daughter? One sweet delectable dessert to die for.

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Mom has always made a batch of peanut butter balls for my brothers, myself and our families for Christmas. These little spheres of peanut butter dipped in chocolate are so good you want to eat them all in one sitting. But we don’t dare since we no there won’t be anymore until next Christmas. We all have the recipe but any attempt to make them just doesn’t turn out like moms so we don’t even try. Must be the extra mom love that only she can add. Oh yea, and dad gets credit for assisting.

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As I wrap up celebrating my birthday, I spent a few minutes reflecting back on the last 50 years and feeling grateful that my parents brought me into this world. But then a startling truth jolted me awake this morning as I dressed for a new day. Its not my parents I really need to thank. Oh yes. They provided my a happy healthy home to grow up in and I didn’t go without. But my real gratitude, according to my deodorant container, should directed to Old Spice. It states on the back of the stick that “if your grandfather hadn’t worn it, you wouldn’t exist”. This would explain why all us grandsons received Old Spice cologne gift sets for Christmas every year. He was trying to keep the family tree growing.

Thanks Old Spice!

The Spicy Truth Behind My Existence

Peanut Butter Is Good

Besides making a great sandwich,  peanut butter can be used as shaving cream, removing gum from your hair and to get pets to swallow their medicines.  But my new favorite is using it to catch mice. Seems I can’t bait and reset the traps fast enough.  Three down and I don’t know how many to go.  And that’s just in the last 18 hours. Luckily it’s just in the garage and not the house. Mice, ye be warned.

Click here for other things you can use peanut butter for

Tour de Kansas – Day 1

Who says Kansas doesn’t have any great geographical points of interest?  Maybe we don’t have one of the highest mountain peaks or the longest man-made wall but my friends, we do have many treasures waiting for our discovery right here in our fine state.

Monday, June 6th the family loaded into the van and headed north on I35 to Rock City.  As we pulled off county road 18 onto 106 just south of Minneapolis I had to imagine what the pioneers saw as they came over the hillside just as we did.  Giant boulders protruding from the ground all gathered together in an area roughly the size of a football field with nothing but open prairie all around them. Our own Easter Island or Stonehenge?  Maybe fossilized dinosaur turds? The technical and scientific jargon indicates that the 200 boulders are Dakota sandstone concretions formed millions of years ago while Kansas was covered with sea water.  I prefer the fossilized turd theory myself.  While meandering through the various  rock formations we met two gents from the Netherlands.  Of course we had to ask what brings two guys all the way from the Netherlands out into the middle of no mans land in Kansas.  They said they were following the trail their ancestors took when they left the old country and came to America. The path just so happened to pass close by so they thought they’d stop and see what Rock City was all about.

Stop number two finds us pulling into Abilene to tour the Seelye Mansion which was built in 1905 for a whopping $55,000 by Dr. A. B. Seelye.  Seelye made his millions by developing and selling cure-all medicines such as Wasa-Tusa, Fro-zona, and Ner-vena.  The house includes such rooms as a ballroom on the third floor, a miniature bowling alley in the basement and 11 bedrooms.   The place is still furnished with most of the original furniture and fixtures.  Plan on an hour and a half to two hours for the tour and  about $10 per person to get it.  It’s well worth it.  I just wish they gave out samples of Wasa-Tusa.

Headed south out of Abilene, we arrived in Council Grove in time for dinner. Looking for a non-franchised eatery we pulled into the Trail Days Cafe and Museum.  It’s a turn of the century old home that’s been restored and is both a museum as well as a restaurant.  An older couple dressed in period attire shared history tidbits of the settlers that started the area as well as the indians that lived in the area. The menu consists of all made from scratch dinners that the early settlers (German, French, Italian, Swedish) would have cooked. Even the buns for cheese burgers and the Buffalo Joes were freshly made right there in their kitchen.  If you go, plan on spending a couple of hours.  There’s lots to see but even more stories to listen to. 

Life’s Little Curve Balls

I am a planner. For the most part I prefer to be in control of my own destiny. Not a control freak so to speak, but prepared enough to have things run smoothly with no surprises.

Some of you may not know, Nancy and I were planning to participate in this years Bike Across Kansas. The eight-day adventure would take us 475 miles from the Colorado border to the Missouri line right through the heart of our great state along with 798 other bicyclist. We’ve ridden several forty plus mile training rides, bought, borrowed and stocked up on all kinds of supplies, reviewed the map and then reviewed it some more.

But just when you think you have it all laid out and ready to go, life throws you one of those unexpected curve balls. Thursday afternoon of last week I was diagnosed with having a case of appendicitis and was taken in that night for a quick little surgery. I said ok, let’s get this done so I can get back to preparing for next weeks bike ride. “Sorry pal”, said the doctor, “there won’t be any eight-day bike ride for you. If it had happened a week earlier maybe but you won’t be ready and back at it in only one week”. But wait I said….. this wasn’t part of the plan. I’ve gone over it in my mind several times and it was no where on the check list.

Well as we’re getting checked into the hospital it becomes very apparent that this is a reminder to me that I’m not always in charge. Things are going to happen and there’s not a darn thing I can do about it. The good Lord has a way of reminding us of this. A reminder that came across as a sick and twisted joke that night. If you remember from a previous post, Nancy and I had planned to do the Bike Across Kansas as part of our Kansas 50 /50 plan which is to do or see 50 new activities in Kansas that we’ve never done before as we both turn 50 over the next 12 months. As the staff at Via Christi St. Francis finished getting me admitted, they handed us a slip of paper that showed I would be assigned to room 5050 once I was finished with surgery. I looked at Nancy and burst out into uncontrollable laughter. A Kansas 50 / 50 activity? Very funny God. Very funny.

I guess we can add this to our list since we’ve never done it before. It’s not nearly as exciting as the Bike Across Kansas, but it was spontaneous and we’ve never done it before.

Remember. Life’s an adventure. Live it….but be flexible!

PS:

If it’s God’s plan, I will be participating in the American Heart Association’s Start! Heart Walk campaign on June 18th to help raise awareness of the risks of cardiovascular disease and what can be done to reduce those risks. If you’re so inclined to help the American Heart Association continue its great research and education programs you can click the Start! Heart Walk link here to make a donation and help me reach my pledge goal for the walk. Once at the American Heart Association page click on donation and then type in my name and click search. Thank you to those who have already donated to help make a difference. It’s much appreciated!

Hidden Treasures

It seems there has been a little game of hide and seek going on around the country since May of 2000.  Geocaching started in Portland, Oregon by Dave Ulmer who hid a container with small trinkets and a log sheet for those to sign who were fortunate enough to locate it (see history of Geocaching at http://geocaching.gpsgames.org/history/). Once the clues were posted and announced on a website, excited scavenger hunters trekked out and found it within the first day. Since then the hobby has grown by leaps and bounds world-wide.  The whole gist of the game is to create a scavenger hunt by hiding a waterproof container of some sort with a log for participants to sign as a way to show that you were there and found the hidden cache.  Sometimes the owner of the container will add trinkets of some sort that the finder can take as a token of finding the treasure. But as a good gesture you should always add a trinket of your own as a trade.

Even here in good old Wichita the trend is still going strong.  Our family has never really paid much attention to it until one of the girls read a recent article on it and came across an iPhone app that showed hundreds of hidden caches around town some even in our own neighborhood. So we decided to turn Mother’s Day afternoon into a full-fledged scavenger hunt. We found 6 out of the 9 caches we went looking for hidden anywhere from the neighborhood park, a strip mall parking lot, Riverside park as well as strategically placed along Douglas in the downtown area.  The oldest log out of the six we opened was from August of 2008.

So next time you feel like a good old-fashioned scavenger hunt grab the family and a few friends, a GPS unit or the app from iTunes  and head out.  You can set up a free account at Geocaching.com and get a list of cache sites with their GPS coordinates and descriptions and some with hints.  Don’t forget to take along a few trinkets to trade if you take one. It’s a great way to get out and enjoy the town.  For those of you keeping track, count this as number 3 on our 50/50 list of  things to do.

Life’s an adventure.  Live It!

Mother’s Day 2011

It was God’s plan from the very beginning.  He created mothers to change the world for the better.  Here’s a short video as my tribute to all you mothers. The snippet of background music is by one of my favorite christian musicians Steve Curtis Chapman and it’s called One Heart Beat At A Time.  Enjoy and Happy Mothers Day !

Stop and smell the roses…or in this case, the tulips

They say that life is better lived if you stop and smell the roses along your journey so what better way to kick-off our Kansas 50/50 than to take in the 24th annual Wamego Tulip Festival. Wamego is a small town just east of Manhattan with a well-kept park that contains a dutch mill windmill, a large lake for fishing and numerous amenities for any activity you may want to do. The park is the center of the festival with around 150 food and craft vendors with games and crafts for the kids and live music most of the day. Although there were the traditional fair food vendors consisting of turkey legs, heaping piles of tatertwisters covered in melted cheese and the always present funnel cakes, we chose to try out a place called the Friendship House which is an old Victorian style house turned restaurant. Ok food with a neat atmosphere.

I can already tell that one of the other fun aspects of this Kansas 50/50 adventure will be the interesting folks that we are going to meet along the way. On this trip we met Jack and Bev, owners of Miss Bev’s Seasonings, Rubs and Dips. The seasonings caught my attention since they are low in sodium and gluten-free which can be hard to find these days. The blue cheese dip was my favorite and the Rooster Rub on the bbq chicken was mmm good. We haven’t had the opportunity to try the pork rub yet but their slogan says it all….. “A little butt rub makes everything better”. Can’t wait! The thing that intrigued me the most was that Jack and Bev made it a point to interact with everyone that came by. Good old-fashioned social marketing. They made a connection, didn’t just try to sell you something. And Jack was not to shy to give out free advice. He gave me a few pointers on how to handle my harem that I brought along with me. He said Kevin, always tell your wife she is right no matter what and tell her she can plan and do things way better than you. But don’t tell her that it took centuries of genetic training to make this happen so us men can have more time for golf and fishing.  Thanks Jack…. I’ll keep that in mind.

The second stop on this day trip was between Wamego and Manhattan to a spot hidden away down a gravel road call Pillsbury Crossing.  As the road approached a creek bed it dipped down to the water and seemed to disappear. But come to find out it’s a large rock ledge where the creek flows over it shallow enough for cars to pass over on a normal day.  The day we happened by there were several cars parked out in the water with several folks fishing while others just sat in lawn chairs soaking up the sun listening to their favorite tunes enjoying the water fall. It’s definitely a place to go enjoy an afternoon picnic or maybe exploring the creek from a canoe.  Just the small area we saw, it’s understandable why it’s been voted as one of the 8 wonders of Kansas.

Life’s an adventure.  Live it!