Saturday, April 24, 2010


Today was Kitty Day on the yard sale trail. Which is good, because my friend Marcia was with me. She is currently kitty-less and can always use a dose of kitty petting. We started with 14 year old Gracie.
As we stood on Gracie’s driveway admiring her and talking about cats, the husband suddenly narrowed his eyes and said, “You came to our sale last year. Do you drive an Audi convertible?” It all came flooding back. That’s Marcia’s car, which she had parked in front of his house and they’d had a long conversation about it. The conversation meandered on, and before too long the wife was talking about how paralyzed she is by all the stuff in her garage, things they inherited from Uncle Bill and some of it is valuable and she’s afraid she’ll get rid of something she shouldn’t. Marcia and I and the other couple standing there offered advice on ways to part with belongings and encouragement to do so. And the more we talked the more familiar it all seemed. I'm about 90% sure we had the same conversation with the same woman on the same driveway about the same stuff a year ago.

I'm going to declutter something the instant I finish this post.

We continued on our way. Our slow way—we had conversations throughout the two neighborhoods we went to. If it wasn’t me striking up a conversation it was Marcia, or both of us. The first tract seemed to have a baby at practically every house. Marcia checked out a nice set of golf clubs at one of these. The young father selling them said they’re almost new. “We used them one day on the golf course, and once at the driving range, and then the kids started coming,” he said.

Should have taken a picture of the sofa that tempted me. Very modern and low slung. Upholstered in solid orange. We emailed my husband a picture of it, but we finally decided it’s not exactly what we’d like for the retirement house, and there’s still plenty of time to look for one we’ll really love. I would love to have gotten this beauty for my present house but a) I'm not putting stuff into this house and b) it wouldn’t fit.
A vintage O’Keefe & Meritt gas range, with the grill in the middle of the top. I was especially taken by the Grillevator.
We chatted for a while with these folks; the daughter is expecting her fourth baby in June. She told us she does sales regularly, and how much she enjoys talking to the people who come. “There was this one guy once, you could just tell he was really shy,” she said. “Wouldn’t make eye contact, everything about his body language said ‘don’t notice me.’ He started looking through a box of books and grabbed one. ‘I've been looking for this book for three years!’ he said. It was part of a series and he had the rest but couldn’t find this one.” Isn’t it great to know you’ve made someone’s day? And she was fifty cents richer into the bargain!

Around the corner I spotted this homemade CD.

The two ladies having the sale gave it to us. One of them put together this mix when she got divorced. We were all cracking up over her play list. What a wonderfully cathartic way to celebrate the end of a bad relationship.

We moved on to the next neighborhood. At one place we walked up just as an old lady had finished buying a small skillet, and she and the seller were laughing. “Sounds like you’re all set now,” said the seller, “for cooking or killing!” The old lady said something about being married for 55 years, and how some days it could go either way.

Across the street Marcia tried out this beauty.

“Doris Day would sit in one of these to talk to Rock Hudson,” she said. We both loved it but lack of room or the inclination to pay the asking price made us move on. Down the street we met another nice kitty.
I asked his name. “Oiler,” said his owner, and laughed at our expressions. “He came with that name, I just never changed it.” She had an absolutely beautiful flower garden. We smelled roses and talked about plants, and she said to go look at the back yard. Her granddaughter took us through, and it was as beautiful as anything I've seen on a garden tour.

Besides the wonderful flowers, she had chickens. Lucky woman.
There were also some large aviaries for canaries, and the granddaughter brought us her parrolet Sasha to pet.
It was hard to tear ourselves away, but there was another large sale across the street. Should have stayed in the garden! The first thing I noticed at this one was the strong hit of cigarette smoke I got as soon as I walked up. Don’t think I've ever ranted about cigarettes in here, and I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings…but I absolutely hate them. I'm extremely sensitive to cigarette smoke. By the time I left this place my lungs literally hurt. I kept trying to move upwind of the smoker while Marcia looked at things, but then she and her ciggie would move and I'd get another snootful. M was rather taken with a Seth Thomas mantel clock but ultimately decided that fixing it would be more expense than it was worth. As we left I saw the seller (still smoking) and the guy she’d been talking to (also smoking) rush over and start examining the clock, as though they thought we’d done something to it. I halfway expected them to chase us and demand restitution or something.

But they were really the only sour note of the morning. Around the corner we talked to a pair of transplanted New Yorkers. The wife made us smell her sweet peas.
These are Father Francis Cupani sweet peas, dating back to 1695. You can read about them here. The colors were absolutely stunning. And across the street we talked to a nice lady named Donna, who claimed that her front garden was terribly neglected as we gaze in awe. Japanese irises must thrive on neglect!
I loved this little white flower. I think it's a bulb. Anyone know what it is?

I did a little more buying this week than last, but was still pretty restrained—to the tune of $4.40. I know nothing about these movies except that they have some good actors in them.
Mary Engelbreit’s magazine is now defunct. I'll enjoy looking through these old ones.
I picked up some prizes for my children’s librarians—dolphins…
…and a bunch o’ finger puppets.
And this funny frog planter came from the New Yorkers.

Speaking of planters, I made good on last week’s ‘use it now’ criterion. I replanted this pot for a shady spot by the family room sliding doors
and then added my new funny little bird.
Much less serious now! And the water garden tub ended up on the patio outside my home office. I moved around several pots to create this vignette.
All three of the plants are growing, especially one of the water lilies.

As soon as the water closed over their heads you could practically hear them sigh with relief.


  1. Love how you take us with you to yard sales. It is fun and furry and you buy good stuff!

  2. Yard sale tales. I really enjoy them. I'm sitting here looking at the rain that's preventing me from going to my first car boot sale of the year. :(
    Especially liked the frog planter.

  3. I really enjoy your stories. Either your neighborhoods are extremely friendly or you just have a way of bringing people out of themselves. I think people love to talk about their pets. And they keep them where you can visit. We don't have that here. Pets are always put away. People stay within themselves for the most part.

    You found the perfect place for your bird. I love the dish garden. That telephone stand was to die for. Not sure I could have passed it up, course I don't know the askig price. lol.

  4. It sounds like you have such a ball when you go on thrifting adventures! I agree, it's fun to go to garage/rummage sales for unique items, but learning about other people is facinating, too!

    Thank you so much for recently visiting my blog and leaving a comment! I appreciate it :)

  5. You always have such fun adventures on your yardsaling trips & that is so much fun. And the pets are a good diversion too. Thanks for playing again this year.

  6. We have moved to a small town and alas I do most of my thrifting alone.I have yet to do yard sales but I will thanks to all the fun you had!

  7. I'm adding meeting you to my bucket list. I sooo enjoy reading your blog and what you've found. I enjoy how you have a good time and take pictures of pets. I think we share the same idea of living and enjoying life!!! Thank you for giving me something to look forward to at the beginning of the week....

  8. I just love your garage sale stories!! I feel like I was with you : )) Loved the place the beautiful garden and chickens were!

  9. What a fun day. I am so glad you shared it with us! I just love finding magazines that are out of print is like finding an old friend! The chickens were so pretty, great coloring. Thanks again for sharing your fun day with us :)

  10. Pretty please...can I go with you? I am living vicariously through your adventures. Is this California? The gardens make me covetous!

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  12. Oh, those magazines look like they would be delightful to look through.

  13. Beautiful photos, thanks for sharing, and great finds, too.

  14. I agree 100% about the smokers! I walked over to what looked like an interesting stall the other day and was hit by a huge lungful of cig smoke. Not good especially since the volcanic ash has been affecting my asthma already. The seller had a cig in her mouth and the ash was going all over her clothes. YUK.
    BTW I love the beautiful gardens you showed.

  15. Thanks for taking me along yard saling. I really needed some time away from my desk. Plus I always love to me a new kitty or two. Thanks.

  16. great finds as usual! those bulbs look like tulips to me. least the ones in the background...

  17. Thanks for stopping by my blog! I'm loving looking at all the goodies you found. Wow, I would love to own that oven, what a find! And love the chickens...I would love to have some again, one day.

  18. I love your blog! What adorable kitties and beautiful gardens! I always enjoy taking a glimpse at the treasures you find. I wanted to warn you about _Year of the Dog_. I watched it a few months ago with my husband: be prepared for a very sad movie! I was expecting something a bit more cheerful considering Molly Shannon is the main actor...but I was quite surprised (perhaps even unpleasantly surprised). Maybe you'll enjoy it more than I, but I thought I'd pass along a warning. :)

  19. This post was almost as much fun as my recent thrifting adventure.


I really love your comments. Thanks for coming along on my thrifty adventures!

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