Page 1

Salina area’s premier Magazine on People, Places & Style


Global Cuisine in



sail Landlocked No More!

An Old-World

Clockmaker in the 24/7 World








volume 04 / issue 01

Publisher Olaf Frandsen advertising sales managers Kathy Malm Linda Saenger Christy Underwood

for advertising rates and information (785) 822-1449

Sales executives Sue Austin Debbie Nelson Tina Campbell Natalie Brooks Brian Green Erica Green Mary Walker Jenny Unruh Heather Phillips Laura Fisher Jeanna Pohlman

Ad designers Jamie Jeffries Annette Klein Aaron Johnson Kristin Scheele

photographers Lisa Eastman Larry Harwood

Contributing writers Patricia E. Ackerman Cecilia Harris Karilea Rilling Jungel Meta Newell West

Production and editorial services for Sunflower Living provided by:


Editor Nathan Pettengill art director Shelly Bryant Head graphic designer Jenni Leiste Chief Photographer Jason Dailey General Manager Bert Hull e-mail Comments to • a division of The World Company

Subscriptions to sunflower living $15 (includes tax) for a one-year subscription

for subscription information, please contact: Salina Journal Circulation Department

Christy West 333 S. Fourth, Salina KS 67401 (785) 822-1467 / (800) 827-6363 ext. 347


Sunflower living spring 2013


spring 2013 Southwind Yacht Club members share the waters, winds and seasonal joys of Milford Lake


Retirement fills with sweet smells for one farming family


One artist explores an art that is layered, both dark and light—like life, or the egg that contains it

Kamila Kostolna Dandu’s dishes draw on the rich taste of stopovers and connections from across the world


cash forward

Hip-hop artist collaborates with students to bring beat-box rhythm to Shakespeare and rediscover the old-school power of lyrics


Lavender Fields Forever


pantle & pysanky


marking his moments

An old-world profession has accompanied W.R. Chestnut through the biggest changes and discoveries of his life



Sailing Season

dandu style


a day in concordia

Historical attractions and a warm welcome make this town an ideal day-trip destination


Photo contest This round’s winner and our next theme

Sunflower living spring 2013


from the editor

PHOTOS Sunflower’s Choice


waters Regular readers of Sunflower Living will notice, and hopefully welcome, a new look throughout this issue. Magazines commonly revise their design and cover art, and we thought the beginning of our fourth year of publication offered a perfect moment to refresh Sunflower Living. But the new look is not change for the sake of change. Head graphic designer Jenni Leiste created the new patterns, photo layouts, fonts and art based on the type of stories and pictures that have been featured in our first years of publication. The greater Salina region that we photograph and write about is a fascinating mix of rural and urban where people of vastly different backgrounds and interests live as neighbors. And this new look is intended to complement the diversity of stoSUNFLOWER 40 ries and subjects that our pages contain. “It’s a lighter SaiL feel, with less bulky typeface and some more color that allows for a transition between each story,” explains Leiste. “And the new look of the cover is the same part of the new look throughout the magazine.” As with each issue, we hope this edition of Sunflower Magazine reflects the land and people that we recogon the nize, while also bringing new information, new undercover: Members of standings and new perspectives on home. Just more so. salina area’s premier maGazine on people, plaCes & style

Global Cuisine in




landloCked no more!

An Old-WOrld

ClOCkmAker in the 24/7 World



Southwind Yacht Club sail their boats on Lake Milford. Photo by Larry Harwood


Sunflower living spring 2013

nathan pettengill editor

Sunflower Living has been fortunate to tap a regular group of contributing photographers and writers over the past three years. But in this issue we wanted to draw attention to our reader-contributors who have participated in the photo contests over the past year. The theme of this season’s contest and our winner from the last issue are detailed on page 46. We had a particularly strong selection of entries for this past contest, and although we print only the winning entry, we wanted to share the others and open a new competition for them. Online, we posted internetquality images of the entries on our new Facebook page and invited everyone to choose a “Sunflower’s Choice” winner. It’s a process we will repeat ahead of our summer issue. You do not need to register an account with Facebook to view the images, but you will need an account to vote. It’s a simple count—the photo with the most “likes” wins the contest. The winning photo might or might not be the same image that our panel of judges has chosen—that’s for the voters to decide. We hope you’ll take time to browse through and enjoy the images.

At the time we went to press, Bryan Appleby’s photo won this round of “Sunflower’s Choice” contest, though several other photos won much praise. Debra Scalet’s photograph of a winter snow scene in her backyard came in a close second in the number of likes. Photographs by Monique Haiden, Janie Hicks, Paul Hopson, Sean S. Morton, Aaron Peck and others had a strong showing as well. The spring photographs will remain on the page for anyone to view. After April 30, we will also post the entries for our summer competition (see the theme and entry details on page 46) and invite readers to select their favorites from the submissions. Thanks to everyone for sharing their work and talent.

spring 2013



Letters, Comments and Observations about our Previous Edition

Virtual Vilkaviskis

Patricia Ackerman’s story on Salina author Carolina Litowich included a side note on a series of family postcards that connected the Litowiches in Salina with the tragic history of their ancestral homeland, a Jewish community in the Polish-Lithuanian border town of Vilkaviskis. That community— destroyed by a series of deportations and executions carried out first by the Soviet Army and then by Nazi forces from 1940-1941—is now honored on website maintained by volunteers at “I went to Lithuania for the first time about 5 years ago, and nobody seemed to know much about the village. Or care,” says website founder and coordinator Ralph Salinger. Since that time, he describes a steady amount of “drips and drops” of historic information which—over time and collectively—have helped recreate a sense of the community. Salinger’s website is set to undergo revisions, in part to reflect new information and the remnants of personal family histories, such as the Litowich postcards, that continue to emerge. “I’m sure there is more,” says Salinger, who works from Israel to find documents and artifacts relating to the lost community. His latest project is to create a Googlebased map that identifies the precise locations of former Jewish homes and businesses in the context of the region’s modern topography.

Swedish Switch-a-roos

We heard a few very polite, but understandably peeved, grumblings after mixups regarding some Lindsborg landmarks appeared in two stories of our latest issue. The first was a photograph misidentification of The Swedish Country Inn, and the second was an incorrect labeling of Bethany College as a “university.” Both of these mistakes were inserted during the final editing process, and the editor—not the contributor and not the subjects quoted in the story—is responsible for and regrets the mistake. There was no intended vendetta against Swedish heritage. (After all, who picks a fight with a Terrible Swede?) And, by way of apology, allow us to print this big picture of a scary-looking Swede above and this Viking ditty below, in large font. ROCKAR! STOCKAR! THOR OCH HANS BOCKAR! KOR IGENOM! KOR IGENOM! TJO! TJO! TJO! BETHANIA!

Which Window?

We had several comments on the “European Tour” story and one question about the photo image for the tour of stained-glass windows in Glasco. The particular window featured in our story is found at St. Mary’s Catholic Church. It is one of the buildings that is usually closed, but which can be opened upon request by several members of the community. Other churches in Glasco are included on Cloud County’s Stained Glass Tour, and more information on one of these, Sacred Heart at the Motherhouse Convent in Concordia, is included in the travel story in this edition on page 28.


If you have something to share about this edition of Sunflower Living, please send an email to or write to us at Sunflower Living / PO Box 740 / Salina, KS 67402. We are always eager to hear from you.

Sunflower living spring 2013


about the


Karilea Rilling Jungel

Newly retired, Karilea finds each day chockfull. The Salina-based writer gives workshops and presentations and says she is “always looking forward to another illuminating interview.�


Sunflower living spring 2013

Carol Pantle

PROFILE Photography by Larry Harwood Story by Karilea Rilling Jungel

Pantle and



One artist explores an art that is layered, both dark and light—like life, or the egg that contains it

arol Pantle—a working mother of five grown children and now a grandmother of two—had other commitments that day in 1995 when a visiting artist came to her church of All Saints Orthodox in southwest Salina to teach a course on decorative eggs. But the next day, after the Divine Liturgy, the artist said she was willing to remain for a few hours and teach private lessons to anyone who was interested. Pantle’s family graciously agreed to linger around the church as she spent the afternoon

receiving her introduction to pysanky, the ancient art of using beeswax styluses to write decorative images onto eggs. It was an afternoon well-spent. The art form, says Pantle, “just clicked with me.” And that first lesson sent Pantle on a two-decade journey of mastering standard forms and perfecting her own innovations. “What I love is the precision that is required,” explains Pantle. “It takes a lot of careful measuring to lay down the base for the design. It is very technical and takes a very fine, steady hand. For me it is a challenge to duplicate these designs with as much perfection as I can.” Sunflower living spring 2013


Though pysanky eggs feature prominently in Orthodox Easter celebrations, their traditional patterns are rooted more broadly in religious and cultural influences— think Orthodox icons and Slavicinfluenced folk symbols. Pantle has alternated traditional forms with innovative designs for eggs stylized as Christmas ornaments or in a work commissioned by a patron in Texas— that was ostrich-size, of course—and carried a Southwest theme. As she explored the blend of traditional and self-inspired themes, Pantle would share her work with her husband, David. His death in 2012 left a great void in her life and in her art. “I had not gotten back to my art since my husband passed away, primarily because every time I would finish an egg, I would take it to my husband and he would critique it. He was my toughest critic, but it was wonderful. I always enjoyed that part of the process. Now I’ll just have to critique them myself.” Loss has also been reflected in at least one of Pantle’s earlier works—a combination of traditional and modern patterns that she calls “Boundless Possibilities” and is a tribute to a son-in-law who died in 2010. The spiritual themes of life, death and our response to them is, in a way, exactly what Pantle seeks to write on the egg, or finds already written inside it. “I think that’s what I like about the egg,” she says. “It reminds us that even though it appears lifeless, there is life within. It is organic; it was part of a living creature. Every egg I work on has its own unique way of taking on its design. You just never know. You may have an idea for the egg in your mind, a pattern already formed, but the egg will help you decide on what you need to change in order to help it transform.”


Sunflower living spring 2013

Boundless Possibilities “This egg was inspired by my son-in-law Dustin Stovall who passed away in 2010. Dustin suffered a brain injury from a car accident in 2000 before he married my daughter Christen. It left him with some handicap issues. He loved theater and wanted to start a theatre troupe for handicapped people called ‘Boundless’ to help other handicapped people who believe they cannot get roles in theater or work in the arts. He never saw this piece of work. I created it after he passed away.” Carol Pantle

David’s Choice

Spring Renewal

Persian Dream

“One of my husband David’s favorite egg designs was this ostrich egg. He really liked the way it all came together. He was my favorite critic of my work. I knew I would never be able to sell this egg.”

For this egg, Pantle used a relatively rare reverse-coloring process. This required dyeing the entire egg black, then covering the portions she wanted to remain black in wax as she applied the lighter colors.

“One thing I like about goose eggs,” explains Pantle in talking about the coloring and design of this work, “is they take the dye very brilliantly, so I try to use the reds and the brighter colors on the goose eggs.”

Carol Pantle

PROFILE Carol Pantle uses an electric kistka, or wax pen, to cover areas of the egg in wax, part of the process in applying layers of dye to create colorful patterns on the egg. Sunflower living spring 2013


Carol Pantle

Though it is known by different names depending on the culture where it is practiced, the art of pysanky is generally a process of applying a pattern onto an egg with layers of beeswax and dye. Each culture and individual artist develop specific techniques and materials. Carol Pantle relies on a combination of traditional and modern equipment in her work.



Dyes – Pantle uses commercial dyes, often in the traditional colors of yellow, orange, light blue, light green, bright red and black. Stylus – Also known as a kistka, this instrument applies, or “writes,” beeswax onto an egg. Traditional styluses are made as brass funnels attached to a wooden dowel and heated with a candle flame so that the beeswax flows out the funnel end. Pantle uses an electric kistka that automatically heats and evenly applies the beeswax. Blowers – Before an artist begins writing an egg, he or she removes the white and yolk from an egg through a small hole. Traditionally, this was done by making two very small holes at both ends of the egg, inserting a thin needle to puncture the egg and then blowing from one hole to force out the contents from the second hole. Now, syringes are often used to extract the contents. Varnish – Modern artists, including Pantle, apply varnish to a finished egg so it appears bright and glossy. Eggs – Eggs can be of various sizes from a chicken, duck, goose or ostrich. Pantle says the largest ostrich eggs can require from 10 to 20 hours to fully decorate. They should be raw with no cracks or imperfections. Grids – Pantle often begins her eggs by placing the egg into a paper template to help mark out evenly spaced grids with a pencil along the length and width of the egg. She then begins penciling in the design pattern, using a grid, and sometimes a tape measure, for reference.

Sunflower living spring 2013


about the


Melinda Briscoe

A Salina native, Melinda Briscoe is a freelance writer and poet. She’s a busy mom working on her first novel.


Sunflower living spring 2013

James Curtis performs as cash hollistah.

cash Hollistah


Hip-hop artist collaborates with students to bring beat-box rhythm to Shakespeare and rediscover the old-school power of lyrics

Curtis with his daughter Brooklyn


t is a scene played out in schools every day. A father visits his child’s class to show support as well as to get an update on how everything is going. In this case, the little girl’s father is Salina hip-hop artist “cash hollistah.”— and where he goes, rhymes seem to follow. The children know him and request a verse or offer their own pre-K recitations. Cash is eager to hear what they have to say and performs an old-school “beat box” as accompaniment. Though he is still known by his given name, James Curtis, to his family, almost everyone else in the community calls him by his performance name, complete with its lower-case spelling. And although visiting daughter Brooklyn’s school is a highlight that brings a big grin to his face (“I still have a hard time believing I have a child who is school-aged now!” says Curtis), the 32-year-old Salina resident is becoming more accustomed to taking a larger role in the community, spending time in schools, exchanging ideas with the younger generation. “The power of a good song brings people together,” Curtis says. Curtis grew up surrounded by music. His father, Pastor John Curtis, traveled around in a family gospel band while his mother, Jeannette Curtis, came from a family of talented vocalists. They had their daughter learn piano and Curtis played drums at Sunflower living spring 2013

Photography by Larry Harwood


Story by Melinda Briscoe



church while the entire family would join together for vocals. But it was at school where Curtis discovered a new performance element. “My musical turning point came when I took a creative writing course. That class showed me I can use my words to paint pictures. I have always loved a song that tells a tale, and that class allowed me to see myself as a storyteller.” Instead of picking up his drumsticks and forming a garage band, Curtis decided to funnel his newfound love for words into rap. “I pride myself on being a lyricist because, back when I first started rhyming, you really had to be solid in that area in order to compete.” After years of honing and sharpening his skills, he gained the confidence and motivation to share what he’d created with others. Performances at the 2011 and 2012 Smoky Hill River Festivals led to an offer to appear in schools through the Salina Arts Commission’s Art Infusion Program. Recalling how a class introduced him to creative writing, Curtis saw the program as a way to give back. He now teaches two workshops for Art Infusion in the USD 305 program: “Poetry in Hip Hop.” “A lot of these kids have never thought of rap in terms of poetry before,” says Curtis. A lot of rap that is popular now is focused more on the beats and electronic rhythms backing the vocals than on the lyrics themselves. “In my workshops I get to expose the students to how hip hop is in a purer form. The language in some rap music can be a turnoff to some, but I try to emphasize versatility. You can rap in different ways, using a variety of words, and still maintain your art’s integrity.” Now, back to the classroom with Curtis’ daughter, where there could be an aspiring rap artist in the making. But what if that artist is Brooklyn or her sister, Curtis’ younger daughter? That notion catches Curtis uncharacteristically offguard as he grins and says, “If either of my children wanted to rap, I wouldn’t have a problem with it. But first, I would want them to understand music. I would require that they take up an instrument and maybe participate in band or orchestra.” One thing is for sure, if his kids need some advice on songwriting, they have a teacher in-house. “Music is the soundtrack to people’s lives. It brings people together like nothing else can. It gives people who otherwise would’ve had nothing in common something to bond with. It’s essential.”

“Music is the soundtrack to people’s lives.” -James Curtis


Sunflower living spring 2013

cash Hollistah

PROFILE Curtis with his youngest daughter, Jasmine

Excerpts from “goRilla” by cash hollistah. I’m from the K, that’s in the middle of the map, fella certified bread state, vicious wit them slaps, fella … if king kong had a microphone bouncin’ to a metronome, prob’ly sound something like this, like this we’ve been grindin’ for them years, well respected ’mongst ur peers but we still can’t get no love around here what we do? goRilla, goRilla, goRilla, goRilla goRilla, goRilla, goRilla, goRilla, ohhhh … I got G-O-D beside me, so I’m in my Z-O-N-E gotta let these bustas know that everytime I bust a flow it’s guaranteed to knock ’em on their maximus like Russell Crowe … ok, see, i ball and then repeat it shorties label me ‘official’, ’cause i call it like i see it the dj can hit replay but the ruling’s still the same that boy hollistah a christian, but he known to let it bang!!! Sunflower living spring 2013


about the


Karilea Rilling Jungel

marking His Moments

An old-world profession has accompanied W.R. Chestnut through the biggest changes and discoveries of his life


Sunflower living spring 2013


.R. Chestnut spent his high school years in the late 1960s at Ottumwa, Iowa, attending classes half-time and then apprenticing for a clockmaker and a jeweler. “And when I wasn’t doing their grunt work of cleaning up and moving boxes around,” explains Chestnut, “they would sit me down and teach me something.” After high school, Chestnut enrolled in the military where his recent experience in detail work was quickly noticed. The young graduate was sent to explosives and demolition school before being assigned to the 101st Airborne Division as a platoon leader in Vietnam. He fought at Hamburger Hill and other battles before returning to Iowa in May 1970.

w.r. chestnut

PROFILE Photography by Larry Harwood Story by Karilea Rilling Jungel

Chestnut says he returned home to a changed world. First, he felt that there was a new hostility toward the military. And he noticed that technology—particularly the advent of long-lasting quartz clocks and watches—had almost made his interest in mechanical clockwork obsolete. “I looked at those and thought: ‘Gosh, there isn’t going to be much of a call for mechanical movements,’” recalls Chestnut. “All I trained for was for naught.” Taking a job with John Deere as a machinist, Chestnut would pull out his clocksmith tools after hours to work on what was now his hobby. “I would always have a clock to work on–nothing huge for

a lot of years, but rather like a ministry. I’d fix peoples’ clocks and the charge for them was not in money, only that they would do something nice for someone else.” That system of barter—which he describes as “pay it forward” philosophy—grew in part out of his conversion to Catholicism. But translated to his work, those devout personal practices won him goodwill and increased his expertise in a dwindling field of experts. Clocks followed Chestnut through work transfers to Mississippi and then to Kansas in 2001, where he lived for a while in the upper floor of an old schoolhouse in Assaria. “I got to know people at the

hardware store, downtown shops and gas station. I would tell them if they had a clock in need of repair, to bring it to me. I’d fix it for them, just for something to do, keep my hands busy,” says Chestnut. “There was no charge–just my request for them to pay it forward.” Eight years later, after a surprise layoff at work, Chestnut realized that hobby could turn into his main work. He increased his repairs of clocks for stores who outsourced the work to his skilled hands. While he and his son were dropping off one of these repair jobs, they stopped in Lindsborg to pick up some parts at a hardware store and noticed an empty shop. Sunflower living spring 2013



1. W.R. Chestnut has repaired clocks from his studio in Lindsborg since 2009.

2. Tools fill drawers in Chestnut’s studio. 3. Chestnut estimates that 75-100 clocks fill his studio. He also currently has approximately 600 other clocks that he sells.

4. A clockstand holds small pieces in place as Chestnut works. 5. Magnifying glasses are often required for detail work.


Sunflower living spring 2013

5. 3.

Chestnut recalls walking back to his car and telling his son: “I can’t tell you why, but this place is going to be our clock shop.” He recalls his son looking at him and telling him something along the lines of: “You’re crazy.” Undeterred, Chestnut contacted the building’s owner and worked with his family to finalize the sale of their home in Salina. In a short time, Chestnut completed what he describes as “an incredible chain of events which the Good Lord had more to do with than we did, I’m sure.” In the end, he had his shop and a new home in Lindsborg.

Chestnut describes his last four years in Lindsborg with his wife and son, who works with him at the store, as “a little bit like living in a Norman Rockwell painting—the charm, the ambience, the manners, the values and the interactions with people.” It’s a new segment of his life made possible by his work with one of the oldest of mechanical technologies—a tribute he acknowledges with the name of his shop, “Ye Old Clocksmith.” Chestnut estimates the oldest timepiece he has ever worked on was a French clock, circa 1643, but working out of the shop or on house calls for a radius of some 500 miles, he often repairs clocks that are 100-200 years old, some with wooden gears. He will give presentations to schoolchildren and senior groups on the intricacies of a clock’s internal workings. When he is at his shop in downtown Lindsborg, Chestnut is surrounded by the chimes in ranges of tones and depths. These, Chestnut says, are the sound of “the ultimate green instrument.” The clockmaker who has served decades in his profession touts the longevity of the objects that surround him. “Properly cared for, they can give hundreds of years of service, keeping up with several million beats each year. Clocks give us our history. They mark our moments, good and bad, measuring each stage of our lives as they tick away by the hour. They keep life organized.”

w.r. chestnut




about the


Meta Newell west

Kamila Kostolna Dandu prepares a chicken tikka recipe from her kitchen in Salina.


Sunflower living spring 2013

Meta Newell West spends a lot of time in her Abilene kitchen. She and husband Barry also team up to teach cooking classes.


Kamila Kostolna Dandu

orn in what is now Slovakia, Kamila Kostolna Dandu inherited a culinary tradition of bryndzové halušky (spaetzels/dumplings with sheep cheese), spaetzels (sweet or savory dumplings), paprikash, goulash, schnitzels, potato pancakes (latkes), sauerkraut-mushroom soup, palacinky (crépes), apple strudel, kolače, vianočka (challah), and poppy-seed-and-nut rolls. In fact, these were only a few of the Central European dishes she learned from the women she describes as the great cooking teachers in her life—her godmother Emilia and grandmother Štefania. But it was at Slovak Technical University in Bratislava where Kamila met a third person who shaped her culinary world. This was Raju Dandu, her husband-to-be and a fellow mechanical engineering graduate student who happened to come from India. “The moment I met my husband I also fell in love with Indian food,” says Kamila. “The first thing that he made for me was Indian chai and chicken curry. I was sold! That was actually the beginning of my curiosity to try cuisines from different parts of the world.” After they were married, the couple traveled throughout Europe. They lived in Rome for several months, a period that Kamila recalls with pleasure. “I can close my eyes and remember streets of Rome and Vatican City that we used to stroll. At that time, Italy had everything for me: historical monuments, beautiful scenery and food! Italian food is more than pizza. I loved to drink espresso and eat gelato with whipped cream on top.”

chef’s table

Kamila Kostolna Dandu’s dishes draw on the rich taste of stopovers and connections from across the world

Photography by Larry Harwood


Story by Meta Newell West


Sunflower living spring 2013


Ginger Tomato

Red Onion Cilantro Garlic Lemon



Thai Chilies Serrano Chilies Cinnamon Sticks Lentils



Murgh Tikka trimmings & Coriander for Mint Chutney & Cucumber Raita

Dried Red Chilies Cumin Seeds Panch Phoron

Coriander Powder Black Cardamom Seeds Coriander Seeds Chili Powder

Whole Cloves Tumeric Powder

Cumin Powder

Garam Masala

Green Cardamom Seeds Mustard Seeds

Indian Spices & Herbs in the Dandu Dishes

Despite the wide variety of food across India, Kamila Kostolna Dandu notes that “all Indian dishes have in common a masterful blending of spices and fresh herbs.” And, she readily admits, “Spices are my obsession.” Kamila generally grows her own herbs and buys her spices whole. She then dry roasts the spices to enhance their aroma and flavor before grinding. The spices that Kamila does not use immediately are poured into airtight bags

and stored in the freezer. She also creates her version of the spice blend known as garam masala, which is considered to be the “heart” of most Indian dishes. Kamila describes it as “a mix of warm and hot spices; usually it’s a blend of: cloves, cinnamon, green and black cardamom, cassia bay leaf, black cumin seeds, coriander seeds, black peppercorns and anise. Every household has its favorite blend.” Indian spices lend flavor and aroma to dishes. They are also valued for their

Kamila Kostolna Dandu

chef’s table

Work and studies took the Dandus through Fargo, North Dakota, then to Puerto Rico, where Kamila learned to prepare tostones (plantain chips) and arroz con gandules (a rice and pea dish seasoned with diced ham). In 1997, Raju accepted a teaching position with Kansas State University-Salina. Over the past decades, Kamila has learned numerous American dishes, including recently a southernU.S. variation of red velvet cake. It’s the most recent addition to her unique cooking style that she describes as “a culinary fusion of Indian, Slovak, Puerto Rican and American.” At home, she and Raju call it simply “Dandus’ International Cuisine.” Three children have grown up with this global version of home cooking. The Dandus’ youngest son, Ajay, is still in middle school. A daughter, Maya, is a sophomore at KSU in Manhattan. Their oldest son, Gautama, has a degree in civil engineering from KSU. Years ago, when Gautama invited friends to spend the night, he sent his mother in a panic about the prospects of Dandus’ International Cuisine clashing with the fast-food generation. “I freaked out about what I would make for them and finally decided on pizza,” recalls Kamila. However, the aroma of the family meal, tandoori chicken, was so tantalizing that the boys wanted a bite. That’s all it took. From then on, Indian food was on the menu for sleepovers. Gautama’s and Maya’s high school graduation party included a feast of Indian and Slovak dishes, at the request of the kids and their friends. Since 2008, Kamila has also shared her expertise through cooking classes at several venues, including the Salina Public Library. Morgan Davis, Salina Public Library’s CLASS coordinator, says, “Kamila is an energetic and engaging instructor, and her classes are well-attended.” They also reflect her wide range of global interests with names such as: “Kolačes,” “Puerto Rican cuisine,” “Central European cuisine,” “Taste of Slovakia,” “International Cuisine” and “Taste of India.” Years after her first taste of Indian cuisine, Kamila is still exploring the country’s rich variations, which change quite drastically from one region to another. The taste of her own dishes is now influenced by the herbs and vegetables she grows in her backyard. Dandu has discovered that Kansas summers are great for growing Indian vegetables, including all kinds of eggplants and chilies, oriental beans, malabar spinach and edible gourds. And that variation of Indian staples in Kansas soil seems entirely appropriate for a chef whose own cooking has adapted, improved and integrated cooking traditions and techniques from across the globe. nutritional and medicinal properties. For example, “Tumeric is used as an appetite stimulant and digestive; it is also an antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory properties,” Kamila explains. Dahi, or yogurt, is an important counterpoint to spices in Indian cuisine. It is eaten and served daily with food, plain or as raita (yogurt condiment/salad). Dahi also balances hot and spicy food and aids digestion.

Sunflower living spring 2013


recipe Kamila Kostolna Dandu’s

Complete Meal—

Chicken Tikka is usually served with: naan bread, coriander-mint chutney and cucumber raita (salad/condiment). Kamila garnishes hers with red onion slices, lemon or lime slices, coriander leaves (cilantro) and cucumber slices.

Murgh Tikka (Chicken Tikka)

Cooking Time: Approx 40 minutes

Feeds 8

ingredients: meat 1-1½ pounds skinless chicken breast or chicken thighs, cut into small bites

ingredients: Marinade ½ cup plain yogurt 1 shallot, minced (optional) ½-1-inch piece of fresh ginger, minced 4 garlic cloves, minced 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste 1½ teaspoons cumin powder 1½ teaspoons coriander powder 1-2 teaspoons chili powder, to taste 1 teaspoon smoked paprika ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder 1 teaspoon garam masala Few drops of red coloring, optional

8 metal or wooden skewers (if using wooden skewers, soak them in water for about 20 minutes)

Cooking Instructions 1. Mix all the ingredients for marinade in a bowl. Before you add meat, taste marinade for salt and spices and adjust to your taste. 2. Add meat, mix well and let marinate a minimum of 4 to 6 hours, or overnight in the refrigerator. 3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. 4. Thread the chicken pieces onto skewers and place on a baking sheet. 5. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until chicken has reached an internal temperature of 160 to 165 degrees.

Alternative Cooking Method:


Sunflower living spring 2013

Grill over outdoor coals for an even better flavor.

The word “Tikka” means

bits, pieces or chunks. Chicken tikka is a boneless version of tandoori chicken, which is traditionally cooked in a tandoor, a clay-based oven built into the ground. Kamila Kostolna Dandu’s simplified version relies on readily available ingredients and is baked in the oven, or cooked on an outdoor grill. In general, this accomplished chef encourages others to experiment with and modify her recipe. “I never follow recipes and always change something,” she says.

Coriander-Mint Chutney ingredients: 1½ cups firmly packed chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves ½ cup mint 3 to 4 green chilies 1 teaspoon fresh ginger root, minced ¼ of a red onion, chopped Juice of 2 lemons, more or less to taste ½ teaspoon salt

Kamila Kostolna Dandu

Chutney is a wide-ranging family of condiments that contain various mixture of spices, vegetables or even fruits.


chef’s table

Coriander-Mint Chutney

¼ cup plain yogurt or use water

Cooking Instructions 1. Place all the ingredients in a blender and process to a pureé. You can add more liquid if necessary 2. Taste for spiciness and adjust to your taste.

Cucumber Raita ingredients: 1¼ cups plain yogurt ½ English cucumber, chopped, grated or sliced 1 roma tomato, cubed ½ red onion, sliced, chopped 1 to 2 green chilies, sliced ¼ teaspoon each—cumin powder, chili powder and coriander powder Black pepper and salt to taste 1 tablespoon coriander leaves (cilantro), chopped 1 tablespoon mint, chopped, optional

Cucumber Raita

The word raita comes from the Hindi language and refers to a yogurt-based condiment or salad. By switching the vegetables (or even using fruit), any number of raitas can be created.

Cooking Instructions 1. Place yogurt in a serving bowl and whisk until it is smooth. 2. Add spices and vegetables. A little water or buttermilk may be added if the mixture is too thick. 3. Mix and garnish with additional coriander (cilantro) leaves. Sunflower living spring 2013


about the


Cecilia harris

Cecilia Harris is a professional freelance writer who focuses on writing about Kansas people and places in her blog posts and magazine articles.

a day in

concordia Historical attractions and a warm welcome make this town an ideal day-trip destination

The route was by no means direct. To trace their arrival in Concordia, the Sisters of St. Joseph first must go back to the roots of their spiritual order that began in France in the 1650, via a group of sisters who arrived at St. Louis in 1836, which led to a branch in Rochester, New York, that launched


Sunflower living spring 2013

a small group to Newton in 1883, that then led to a presence in Concordia in order to establish schools for girls. And though their arrival was circuitous, almost by chance, the sisters have made this small town their spiritual home for a thriving order with missions across the nation and globe.

Your route to Concordia can be much more direct, but also rewarding. A simple day trip to the community just 50 miles north of Salina allows you to sample some of the sisters’ history as well as several other venues and organizations with fascinating connections to the past.

Nazareth Convent 13th and Washington (785) 243-2113 Manna House of Prayer 323 E. Fifth St. (785) 243-4428

National Orphan Train Museum Complex

In 1910, at the age of 16 months, Marie Cote was placed on a train in New York and sent to Kansas for adoption. At the station in Belleville, Joseph and Philomene Francoeur identified Cote by a number pinned on her bonnet and took her to their home near Concordia to begin living with them as part of their family. A century later, that bonnet, as well as various pictures from Cote’s life, are displayed at the National Orphan Train Museum in Concordia. Housed inside a restored depot, the museum’s exhibits explain the harsh social conditions of New York City during the last half of the 1800s that led to programs dedicated to finding new homes for orphans or half-orphans (children with only

one parent or a family member no longer able to support them). According to curator Amanda Wahlmeier, these programs sent more than 250,000 children out of New York from 1854 to 1929. Approximately 7,000 of these children were settled in Kansas. “One in 25 Americans is connected to an Orphan Train rider,” she says, adding the complex also includes the Morgan-Dowell Research Center where staff can search through nearly 15,000 records and other resources. “I get around 10 requests each month from people searching for information about their relatives who they believe rode an orphan train.” The complex is open Tuesday-Saturday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Thursday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults.

The magnificent five-story red brick and native stone Nazareth Convent has been home to the Sisters of St. Joseph since 1902. The convent’s main building, the Nazareth Motherhouse, contains the Sacred Heart Chapel with stained-glass windows designed by noted Chicago Munich Studio founder Max Guler. Approximately 65 sisters live in Concordia, which serves as a spiritual base for more than 70 sisters associated with the Concordia branch who work throughout the United States and in four separate missions in Brazil. Tours of the Motherhouse are available by appointment from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday. The Sisters host a fundraising spaghetti dinner in March and a Christmas open house celebration. In addition, anyone is welcome to attend the 11 a.m. Mass held five days a week and join in any of the special seminars, workshops or retreats held by the Sisters at the Manna House of Prayer in Concordia. Information about the tours and community events is available by calling (785) 243-2113, ext. 1101, or emailing jwahlmeier@ Sunflower living spring 2013



Nazareth Convent

Photography by Larry Harwood

300 Washington (785) 243-4471

Story by Cecilia Harris

National Orphan Train Complex


POW Camp Concordia 1550 Union Road For guided tours contact Cloud County Tourism at (785) 243-4303

POW Camp Concordia and the Cloud County Museum

The World War II prisoner of war camp located just northeast of Concordia once housed more than 4,000 German soldiers and included a hospital, library, grocery store and Officers Club. Paul Rimovsky, president of the POW Camp Concordia Preservation Society, says the makeshift camp was one of “hundreds” quickly built throughout the country—16 of them in Kansas—but to his knowledge POW Camp Concordia is the only one with buildings still on the original site. Remaining are a guard tower, a guard post at the entrance, a water tower base, a warehouse and an officer’s club. Guided excursions are available with advance notice. These tours are free, but donations toward the preservation of the camp are accepted. Some artifacts from the camp—including uniforms, flags and items created by the prisoners such as a lamp from wood, a salmon can, a pickle jar, wire and paper—are now displayed at The Cloud County Historical Society Museum. Other unique exhibits at the museum include a letter written by former first lady Martha Washington, a working vaneless wooden windmill that pumps water, furniture that plays music and a 1928 Lincoln Page biplane used to rescue people when the Republican River flooded in the 1930s. The museum is open from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Admission is free, but donations are accepted.


Sunflower living spring 2013

Cloud County Historical Society Museum 635 Broadway (785) 243-2866 Jitters Bar, Deli & Coffeehouse 221 West Sixth (785) 243-4630

Jitters Bar, Deli & Coffeehouse

Co-owners Noah Strait and Corinna Hood serve specialty coffees and chai tea, breakfast and lunch items daily and dinner on Friday and Saturday from this early-1900s building that housed the local newspaper for many decades. Specialties include New York deli-style sandwiches such as the Reuben, the Mediterranean Veggie and the Turkey Bacon Ranch. “We also try to do something different like the Roast Beef and Pesto Panini with a basil spread and baby spinach served on focaccia herb bread,” says Strait. The building’s original beadboard ceiling and exposed brick wall now stand with restored woodwork and a new limestone fireplace designed to match the structure’s historical period. “I wanted to keep the integrity because I like the building’s character, but I didn’t want to go with everything old,” says Hood. “The décor is old mixed with new.” Jitters is open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday and 7 a.m.midnight Friday-Saturday with live music performances on every other weekend nights.

March 17 | Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia Annual Spaghetti Supper Fundraising lunch to support the mission of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia; 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Admission is $10, with discounts for children or by advance purchase. Info and reservations at (785) 2432113 ext. 1223

Brown Grand Theatre 310 West Sixth (785) 243-2553 Whole Wall Mural Sixth Street and U.S. Highway 81

Whole Wall Mural

The Whole Wall Mural, located outside the Travel Information Center in the Cloud County Historical Society Annex, is the longest sculptured brick mural in the country. Titled Cloud Anthologies by artist Catharine Magel, the three-dimensional mural of 6,400 bricks depicts the history of Cloud County with scenes of coal miners, bricklayers and farmers at work, orphan train riders, and a military guard with a Nazi prisoner of war. Historical sites in the county also pictured include the Republican River Bridge, Cloud County Courthouse, Brown Grand Theatre, St. Joseph Church in nearby St. Joseph and Wesleyan College Administration Building in nearby Miltonvale.

Brown Grand Theatre

The Brown Grand Theatre reflects the opulence of a former era. The 1907 brick and limestone French Renaissance-style building features original stenciling with real gold as pigment in the paint, brass railings, light fixtures, a ladies parlor and a second-floor lobby decorated with posters from early 20th century plays and motion pictures. The 650-seat theater’s breathtaking grand drop curtain, Napoleon at Austerlitz, is a copy of French painter Horace Vernet’s work Battle of Wagram that hangs at Versailles. Though it has hosted an extensive performance schedule after its recent renovation, the theatre has currently postponed performances until late 2013 or early 2014 as it takes additional renovations and repairs. It remains open for self-guided or conducted tours during weekday working hours. Prices range from $2 to $5.

April 1 (and first Monday of each month) | First Mondays at Manna Manna House of Prayer hosts fundraising dinner and presentations on monthly theme (for example, April is on stewardship of the Earth); dinners are at 5:30 p.m. and 6:45 p.m., 323 E. Fifth St. Admission is free with donations accepted. Information and reservations at (785) 243-4428.


A schedule of events in the Concordia region for the remaining months of 2013


when to visit

June 7-9 | Depot Days Depot Days celebrate the history of trains and the Orphan Train Riders with special presentations, including a cream can dinner, brass band concert and other free events. For more information and a full schedule, contact Cloud County Convention and Tourism at (785) 2434303. June 29 | Susan Convention A new event inviting all women with the name of Susan, Sue, Suzan or any form of Susan. Location and event information available closer to event. For more information and a full schedule, contact Cloud County Convention and Tourism at (785) 243-4303. July 23-27 | Cloud County Fair Rides, rodeo, demolition derby and musical entertainment at Cloud County Fairgrounds. For more information and a full schedule, contact Cloud County Convention and Tourism at (785) 243-4303. Aug. 24-25 | Tootlefest Miltonvale, approximately 30 miles southeast of Concordia, honors town founder Milton Tootle with a parade, games, barbecue, turtle race, dances and more. For more information and a full schedule, contact (785) 427-9217. Aug. 31-Sept. 1 | Watermelon Festival Clyde, approximately 15 miles east of Concordia, has its 110th annual celebration with a parade, barbecue, dance, demolition derby, contests, games and, of course, watermelon. For more information and a full schedule, contact Clyde City Hall at (785) 446-3300. Sept. 28 | Concordia Fall Festival Annual homecoming for former Concordia residents with a 10 a.m. parade and activities throughout the day. For more information and a full schedule, contact Cloud County Convention and Tourism at (785) 243-4303 or Concordia Chamber of Commerce at (785) 243-4290. Dec. 7 | Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia Open House Free tours of the chapel and grounds with music and refreshments; 1 p.m.-3 p.m. Free admission with donations accepted.

Sunflower living spring 2013


features 34.

Sailing Season


lavender fields forever Patricia e. Ackerman about the


Patricia Ackerman works as an associate professor of language arts at K-State Salina. Outside of the university she is a freelance writer, currently researching a book on the history

of Marymount College. An alumna of Salina Central, Marymount College, Fort Hays State and KSU, Ackerman enjoys traveling, photography, reading, gardening, music and creating stainedglass pieces.

Sunflower living spring 2013




Sunflower living spring 2013

Southwind Yacht Club members share the waters, winds and seasonal joys of Milford Lake

Sunflower living spring 2013


Southwind Yacht Club boats, from left, “Wind Song,” “Sea Bee,” “Lollygag II” and “La Bonne Vie,” sail across Milford Lake.

As soon as winter ice and chill retreats from Milford Lake, members of the Southwind Yacht Club begin launching their boats, setting off for weekend adventures on the Kansas waters and throwing around terms like “step to the starboard bow.” It’s all part of a ritual that has been repeated each year since the club was founded in 1969. Charter member Ralph Hilton from Abilene remembers his surprise that first year when his father-in-law, retired Navy man Ed Kessinger, helped organize a small group of enthusiasts on the landlocked Kansas plains. “I didn’t even own a boat in 1969,” recalls Hilton, “but Ed told me that someday, I’d be glad I joined. He was right. I spent practically every weekend at the yacht club for the next 40 years.” Now in its 44th year, the not-for-profit Southwind Yacht Club draws approximately 45 salty sailors from the Salina region and as far away as Lincoln, Nebraska, and Kansas City, Missouri, to promote sailing, water safety and the ecology of the approximately 16,000 surface acres of Milford Lake. Some things have changed over the four decades, particularly the type of boats that members sail. In the early years, club members owned small “day sailers” or “board boats” which were fairly easy to master, but didn’t offer


Sunflower living spring 2013

Southwind Yacht Club boats moored at Milford Lake.

Lines hang near the knot meter of the “Seabee.”

much in terms of speed, comfort or longevity. “We didn’t know much about sailing back then,” says Hilton. Gradually, the number of docks increased in proportion to the increased size and number of sailboats in the club. Hilton’s first boat was a Sweet 16 day sailer he purchased in 1974. But as his passion for the sport grew, he moved up to a 20-foot cabin boat, a 28-foot cabin boat and finally to a 28½-foot cabin boat. “These boats grow wider, deeper, and heavier the longer they get. After about 40 feet it becomes difficult to sail a boat by yourself,” Hilton explains. But the complication of large boats requiring a crew is part of what the Southwind sailors avoid by choosing Milford. Here, the waters are small enough to master but large enough to put enough distance between yourself and earthly concerns. Southwind member Dale Livengood, a nuclear medicine technologist from Salina, explains that “sailing takes my mind away from day-to-day problems. When I sail out of the cove, I leave it all on the dock. The effort it takes to sail the boat is an important part of the distraction from real life.” That isolation is often extended by Southwind enthusiasts who frequently spend the night in their boat cabins, which serve as a type of second home, or a campsite without the need to haul gear.

Boats retain their names even when sold to new owners (sailors are superstitious). Here are some of the names of the boats in the Southwinds Yacht Club, listed by owner: “Lollygag II” (Schroeder), “Dragonfly” (Leahy), “Sail La Vie” (Livengood), “Wind Song” (Woelhof), “Sea Bee” (Matthews), “Sea Sharp” (Hanson), “Good Fillings II” (Meyer), “La Bonne Vie” (Holt).

Mike Meyer prepares to unpack his spinnaker on the bow of “Good Fillings II.”

Sunflower living spring 2013


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Sailing boats also offer the attraction of peace and quiet. “You can actually carry on a conversation while you are out on the water,” explains Nada Schroeder, a Salina member since 1980. “And I have no idea how much fuel noisy boats use, but those of us who spend every weekend here can make a tiny tank of diesel last for several years.” Sailing is a sport where the weather and the winds—or lack of them—set the agenda. While some formal races are held, Schroeder says a race might arise any time that the wind picks up and there are at least two sailboats on the lake. When the wind dies down, members might socialize as they drift or even back on the docks.

Sailing takes my mind away from dayto-day problems.

Veteran members recall the flood of 1993, when the water rose into the parking lot and nearly all the boat owners took their boats off the lake and had to progressively adjust the docks. “Instead of sailing, we came out on the weekends to watch the water level rise,” reflects Jim Schroeder, Nada’s husband. In times like these, moving the boats, particularly ones with rigid keels, can be “a tricky process,” says Bill Burrows, a member from New Cambria. But when the boats are where they were meant to be—in the water—the sailing is easy to learn at Milford Lake. Burrows has simple advice for those interested in beginning: “buy a boat you can afford and enjoy it.” And Southwind member Barret Woellhof adds the process is as simple as following three key steps: “Keep the water on the outside, you on the inside, and your sails in the wind.” Once sailing is learned, there are long weekends and a long stretch of months to enjoy the sport. According to one of the Southwind Yacht Club’s newsletter, the official sailing ends only once “the last hardy member decides it is too cold to sail.”

Cindy Tracy prepares lunch in the galley of “Good Fillings II.” Payment included $ (Check and credit card payments accepted)

Mike Meyer and Cindy Tracy fly the spinnaker on “Good Fillings II.”

Mail this form to: Salina Journal Circulation Department c/o Christy West 333 S. 4th, Salina, Kansas 67401

Bob and Nancy Holt unfurl the spinnaker on “La Bonne Vie.”

Or call us at (785) 822-1467 / (800) 827-6363 ext. 347 Or e-mail at


Sunflower living spring 2013

A Visual Dictionary of

Sunflower living spring 2013


Fields Forever

Retirement fills with sweet smells for one farming family


Sunflower living spring 2013

Story by Patricia E. Ackerman

Photography by Larry Harwood

Sunflower living spring 2013


Fields Forever Mike Neustrom and Dianne Engwall Neustrom walk through one of their lavender fields near Bennington.


Sunflower living spring 2013


en years ago, Mike Neustrom’s sister invited him to “take a couple of extra days off ” and join her at the first annual Southwest Lavender Conference in Austin, Texas. At the time, Neustrom was recently retired from his position as a director for the not-for-profit Occupational Center of Central Kansas, and his heart and mind were open to new possibilities. “After meeting the people at the conference and learning about their growing operations, I began to think, ‘I can do this,’” he said. He returned to his home outside of Bennington with his first 100 lavender plants. He and his wife, Dianne, agreed that this might be a good way for him to keep busy in retirement. “I started off kind of small, but every time I went to Texas I would bring back 400-600 more plants,” recalls Neustrom. He kept planting until 2006, when his Prairie Lavender Farm had grown to 3,500 plants covering 1.5 acres. He has plans to add an additional 500 plants in 2013. Growing lavender successfully requires full sun and good drainage. “You don’t necessarily need good soil—lavender likes crappy soil. Our farm sits on a Dakota sandstone ridge at an 11 percent grade with very sandy soil,” explains Neustrom. Though many of the 400 lavender varieties from around the world cannot survive the harsh winters on the Kansas plains, Neustrom’s farm features seven varieties that can, including Provence, Grosso, Buena Vista, Munstead, Hidcote, Twickle Purple and Nana (a white lavender variety). Neustrom says he learned how to grow and market these varieties through “pestering” other growers across the nation. In 2012, he helped found the United States Lavender Growers Association and currently serves as treasurer for the organization’s board of directors, representing lavender growers and organizations from nearly every state in the country, and sharing his experience with them. “I don’t water my plants after they get established,” says Neustrom. “During their first year I give them about a quart of water per week. I also trench around my plants to remove surrounding surface roots. I want the feeder roots to go down

She wrote the book …

Mike Neustrom’s introduction to the world of lavender came courtesy his sister, Carole Bumpus. She had conducted regular cooking and travel tours of Italy and France with her friend Sharon Shipley, one of the leading experts on lavender. Shipley owned and operated Mon Cheri Cooking School and Caterers in Sunnyvale, California, and published The Lavender Cookbook in 2004. Shipley died two years later of a brain aneurism, shortly after her book won national and international book awards. Shipley’s book remains one of the authoritative sources on preparing lavender for meals. “That’s the only cookbook we’ll sell out of our shop,” says Neustrom, “because every recipe we’ve tried from that comes out a winner.” Sunflower living spring 2013


Fields Forever

“I started off kind of small, but every time I went to Texas I would bring back 400-600 more plants.” -Mike Neustrom

Lavender Festival

Each year, the Neustroms host dozens of guests at the height of the lavender season with attractions ranging from farm demonstrations to lavender ice cream samples. This year the festival will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 15 at their farm, 69 Alpine Ridge Lane, Bennington. Entry is $5 per carload.

More information (785) 488-3371


Sunflower living spring 2013

deep and find their own water. Each plant can put down a 4-foot-deep root.” When they do take root, adds Neustrom, they are safe from animals because they have no natural prey. Deer and rabbits regularly pass through his fields without harming lavender plants. Neustrom harvests his lavender when its buds begin to flower, usually May through October. He hires local laborers to cut and hang lavender bundles up for drying. “Our first cutting is always the biggest. Then, in about 5-6 weeks, the plants regenerate and bloom again. We typically cut our last harvest around Halloween.” According to Neustrom, “Plants must be cut back by about 1/3 each year, or they become spindly and eventually die. If you keep cutting them, they will keep producing.” Lavender plants can live for 1617 years in Kansas, but up to 30 years in other climates. In the attic above Neustrom’s retail store the walls are covered with metal drying racks. Here, harvested lavender stems dry upside down for approximately 5-14 days, until it is time to strip the buds in a hand-made machine. Lavender is then run through a budcleaning machine to remove stems and leaves.

Large tubs of lavender buds are stored for future product manufacturing. Nuestrom credits friends and family with helping to design and build much of the processing equipment he uses in production. After the lavender dries, Neustrom extracts the lavender oil by steaming the plants with a copper still. He then stores the liquid in amber-colored bottles for up to one year, “allowing the oil to mellow.” Fresh oil often emits the pungent odor of camphor, but the English varieties—Buena Vista, Hidcote, Munstead and Twickle Purple—contain no camphor, which sometimes affects people with skin allergies. For that reason, Neustrom says that the Buena Vista variety makes the sweetest oil for facial and body oils. In all, Prairie Lavender Farm manufactures and markets approximately 90 different lavender products, including lotions, oils, soaps, hydrosol sprays, flavored honey, eye pillows and sachets. As a rule, they produce more hydrosol-based products than oil-based products because oil is very concentrated. Lavender hydrosol is commonly used for treating cuts, burns and abrasions. The Neustrom family uses lavender hydrosol spray as a mosquito

“To do something different every day…”

Previous Page: Lavender is hung to dry at Neustrom’s farm. Above, Clockwise From Left: Mike Neustrom packages lavender satchets for sale. The lavender farmer-entrepreneur constantly experiments with new products and a few standards, such as this lavender body lotion. But, ultimately, all products depend on a quality crop of lavender

and chigger repellant. This successful lavender farmer is quick to acknowledge that his brother-in-law, who is a chemist, “helped to develop many of the formulas for Prairie Lavender Farm products.” At his wife’s suggestion, Neustrom also purchased two beehives. Since 2004, he has produced his own lavender-flavored honey by “adding lavender buds and heating up the honey to 130 degrees, enough to pull the oil out of the bud, but not hot enough to break down the honey.” Neustrom and his wife are able to

expand their operations through online sales, partner stores and a retail store on their farm. Over the years, Neustrom says he has seen a change among his buyers, fueled in part by his practice of not using chemicals on his fields. “My market demographic used to be people between the ages of 45-75, but there is a cultural shift taking place, and I’m seeing a lot of 20-30 year olds looking for chemical-free organic products.” Neustrom attributes his farm’s success to hard work and trends toward healthier lifestyles. “I had

no idea that farming, production and marketing of lavender products would expand into such a booming operation. I was hoping for something to keep me busy in retirement, but I’m busier now than when I was employed,” he said. Though this retired agricultural entrepreneur says he began his farm “more by accident than by design,” he enjoys running, owning and operating Prairie Lavender because he gets “to do something different every day and always have something wonderful to show for my efforts.” Sunflower living spring 2013


“I looked up, and this is what I saw …” For this issue’s contest, we invited readers to submit their photographic take on the theme “I looked up, and this is what I saw…” Our panel of five judges selected Bryan Appleby’s photograph of a traditional windmill silhouetted against what could only be a Kansas sky.

First Place

Bryan Appleby

Bryan Appleby sent in this description of the scene along with his photo. As I was driving to meet a family member, for dinner, I was watching the setting sun. The road ahead of me was slowly turning into a single silver ribbon. Caught by the image of the road, as I wrestled with increasing the angle of my sun visor, I rounded a curve in the road and there in a plowed wheat field was a windmill. The sky was growing orange from north to south, and the high clouds gave reflection to the now hidden sun. I had to stop the car and pull the camera from the back seat. The image attached is what I found captured in the frame of my camera. I felt like a thief that night, a light thief. As the sky grew grayer, without the tinge of the sun’s setting, I returned to the parked car. Arriving a bit late for dinner, I was happy I stole a moment of enjoying what I love about Kansas, what I might see around the next curve of the road.

Runner Up

Sean S. Morton “Snowy Trees” chosen by

spring 2013

Shelly Bryant Larry Harwood Photographer, Sunflower Living Art director, Sunflower Publishing

photo contest

chosen by

Jenni Leiste Designer, Sunflower Living

Runner Up

Paul Hopson “Raising the Bar” chosen by

jason dailey Chief photographer, Sunflower Publishing

Runner Up

Aaron Peck “Dog by Water Pump” chosen by

lisa eastman Photographer, Sunflower Living

next round We want to feature your photograph in Sunflower Living magazine. We accept photograph submissions from readers with a permanent address within the greater Salina region. Our panel will judge the submitted photographs and select a winning image, which will run on this page in the following edition. The winning photographer will receive a prize of $50.

Submission Guidelines: A) Email the image to with a heading of “Photo Contest.” Please include contact information and the name of the theme you have chosen. B) Submission must be made before April 30, 2013. C) Only submit the image if you are the photographer and the copyright holder of the image and if you live in the distribution area of Sunflower

Living or Salina Journal.

Photographs showing the image of a person must have that individual’s consent. D) Files should be in digital form, either JPEG or TIFF, that can be printed up to 8X10 at 300 dpi. E) By submitting an image, you consent to having the image published in the magazine and posted online in connection with the magazine.

Theme for the 2013 summer Edition:

IN MOTION Submission must be made before APRIL 30, 2013

Sunflower living spring 2013


Sunflower Living spring 2013 issue  

The spring 2013 issue of Sunflower Living. The premier quarterly magazine on the people, places and spaces of the greater Salina, Kansas, re...

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