“So did you girls bring a pickup?” inquired a gray haired gentleman as we walked up to the first sale last Friday. He had a definite twinkle in his eye. “Because we need to load it up for you. There’s even free stuff.” He pointed to their free box. We demurred on the pickup but dove into the free box (never pass up the free box; usually it's pitiful junk but not always!).
I pulled out a large spoon-shaped object that had been made from a gourd. Judy & KK and I looked at it and all said, “SUCK-ulents!”
See, two or three years ago, Judy and I went to a Ladies Night event at a large local nursery. There were refreshments and a little fashion show and demonstrations of how to create your fall décor (with items you could purchase right there at the nursery, because of course the point was for you to shop, shop, shop). We sat through a couple of the demos, hoping for inspiration, but were not terribly impressed by the originality of hay bales, corn stalks and pumpkins on the front porch. The next lady had all kinds of junk and proceeded to show us how to plant succulents in various objects. You’ve seen them – a shoe or boot, an old hat, a rusty trowel, anything that can hold a bit of dirt. If you want to dally in front of your computer, go to Pinterest and do a subject search for something like ‘creative succulent planter.’ But the thing that had us holding in our laughter was the way the demonstrator said succulents. Heavy emphasis on the first syllable every time: SUCK-ulents. For some reason we thought this was hilarious. Naturally we shared it with KK, so now all three of us go around saying SUCK-ulents any chance we get.
Okay, so we are easily amused. And now I had a gourd spoon, and yes, I have planted it with SUCK-ulents.
It was a fun sale. I spent a whopping fifty cents for a decanter that KK spotted and handed to me. Turns out it's by Dansk.
Looks great with the other decanters.
The real draw was not just the barn full of stuff to look through, but the couple having the sale. As we looked and chatted their story emerged. The property is where the wife grew up; her parents owned that side of the hill, and his parents owned the other side of the hill. They raised cattle for a while back in the Sixties, but Christmas trees had been their business for many years. They were selling boxes of gigantic pine cones and stacks of curious wire forms in several sizes, which turned out to be wreath forms. The wife picked one up to show us how they had constructed wreaths from fresh greenery and pine cones, using some kind of machine that pinched shut the prongs on the metal form when you pressed a lever with your foot.
“My parents used to come over in the evenings and we would all make wreaths,” the husband reminisced. “It was a lot of work, but we just had the best time.”
They were so much fun to talk to that we hated to leave, but finally forced ourselves back to the car to go to the other half dozen sales we had planned. A couple of these turned out to be nonexistent (do you suppose there are people who put ads in Craigslist for a joke?). All of the others had chicken objects for sale.
You know how there’s usually one motif that runs through a day of garaging? It can be anything – baby gates, martini glasses – and today it was chickens. I even bought one.
Isn’t she cute? She was fifty cents, and her plump form reminded me of my pottery duck. They are hanging out together on the deck.
Another sale provided a DVD I was thinking I needed only the other day.
I love it when that happens. Another sale provided fifty cents worth of vintage magazines.
Eye candy galore.
I always love the way they pose the men. The manly men.
Our last stop was at an adorable little cottage in a neighborhood near downtown. I spotted some vintage linens to drool over, and picked up a large lace tablecloth to show KK. “This could be upcycled into a really cool top,” I said.
The cheerful red-haired lady presiding over the sale noticed what I was holding and came to tell us its story. “That was made by a lady I knew back in Wisconsin.” We looked at the piece more closely and I realized that it was indeed handmade, in a technique called Mondano netting. Wish I had taken a picture for you, but it was something like this.
“We were good friends, even though she was much older. She wanted me to marry her son,” the lady went on. Her own son, the owner of the adorable cottage, was amazed. “You never told me that,” he said. She looked demure. I bet she has a few more secrets he doesn’t know. “Her grandson did marry my cousin though.” We moved on to another lace tablecloth. This one looked to be machine made lace, and had a few tears. We got to talking about mending, and I told her how I would repair some of the damage. Just as at the first sale, I was enjoying myself so much I could have stayed all day, and when she mentioned that she lives in an old Craftsman house in the country up near Gervais, it was all I could do not to invite myself over!
Let me close with a couple of completely gratuitous kitten pictures. Our Millie has been growing. (She is draped across my arm as I am trying to type this.) Here she is with the Velveteen Rabbit back in July when we brought her home.
Here she is with VR this week.
And when she is not tipping over houseplants or scaling the fireplace, she is still pretty darned perfect!