Sunday, August 12, 2012

What Goes Up…

Got a bit of a late start on Friday morning for garaging. I took Edward and Zoë to the dog park for their morning run, and they had an awfully good time. Zoë met up with another puppy she’s played with before, and they romped through the wet grass, and tumbled each other around on the dirt path, and got quite, quite filthy. Didn’t show too much on the black puppy, but my white puppy had to have a bath as soon as we got home.


Fortunately she still fits into the kitchen sink, so her bath didn’t take too long. I don’t imagine I missed too many fantastic buys. And almost everything I did pick up came from my first stop. They were still setting things up but said I was not early, they were running late. The younger of the two ladies was pregnant and dealing with morning sickness, which had slowed them down. And the older wanted everything to be Organized – but they had way too much stuff for that. I picked up some fishing line for making former-xylophone windchimes, and actually ended up making a couple. I’m so proud of myself.


I also bought this Fiskars paper cutter thingie. I’ve used one before, at a school I used to work at, and it does one thing pretty well: cut a straight line. Which I cannot for the life of me do with scissors. You’d think by this age I’d know how to cut, but if it hasn’t happened by now I strongly suspect this is a skill I will never acquire. So for a quarter I can just let that one go. Such a deal!


While I was looking around their carport at Stuff, I noticed this clever border on a flower bed.


They seemed quite jazzed that I took a picture of it, and we started talking gardens. Our relandscaping project is growing nearer (new retaining walls in a couple of weeks). Turns out the older lady works in landscaping. “I’ve got this other kind of cool piece of wood I’m thinking about getting rid of,” she said. “Come take a look.” I did, and loved it.


It’s actually a piece of root from what she called a sweet gum maple, which I believe is a Liquidambar tree. She said the tree came down in a storm and she wrestled this section of root home, intending to use it in her garden, but never did. She wanted a good home for it, and I will certainly provide that!


So five bucks later I had this big tree root in the back seat of the convertible. Can’t wait to see how we end up using it. We used an old section of log at another home when we did up the yard, positioning it in the front yard and planting things around it. As time went by it developed its own ecosystem, with ferns and rattlesnake grass growing on it, and each year it relaxed a bit more into the earth.

Hmmmm. I’m sitting here feeling quite nostalgic about a log. Seems like it encapsulated what the last part of life should be like…and it was beautiful.

Well, off I drove with my root. My next stop was a few blocks away, and had a gorgeous yard. Thriving vegie beds and lots of flowers. An older couple lives there, and their two middle-aged daughters were on hand to help with the sale. The daughters were sitting under the arbor attached to the house discussing how to determine a cubic measurement. They were selling an old cooler and wanted to be able to say how many cubic feet it was. But none of us could come up with anything that made the slightest bit of sense – the numbers were huge. Finally one of them said, “I know what it is. This calculator is broken.” We all agreed that must be the case and felt way better about our inability to remember this particular geometry lesson from our youth. Their mother came and sat down with them, and the conversation turned to the beautiful yard (when you’re working on a landscaping project, you end up having a lot of these conversations). I mentioned that pretty much the only thing that has survived in our yard was the daffodils, and it seems they have a nice bulb show in spring too. “There’s one spot out there on the corner though,” the mother told me, “that’s still awfully bare. But I think I’ve figure out what to do. It’s on a hill so it’s hard to get to, so I’ve got this bag of bulbs, and I’m just going to scatter them over that spot. Then I’m going to pray to the dirt fairy so she’ll come and cover them up for me.” I thought this was a fabulous idea, but one of the daughters was a bit indignant. “Mom, I’ve got that spot in my yard that needs some dirt,” she said. “How come you never told me I had to pray to the dirt fairy?”

The root and I continued on to a few more sales, but found nothing to add to our bag. At one stop a couple was gazing in admiration at my root when I got back to the car and seemed a bit jealous that they hadn’t found it first. It’s always nice to have your good taste confirmed by an independent judge. Root and I headed home, where two of the neighbors across the street had lively sales happening on their drives. Actually at the tops of their drives, because they’re across the street on the uphill side of our slope. I trudged up there, feeling very, very glad I live on my side of the street, especially in the winter. At one sale I succumbed to the charms of this…guess I’ll call it a cookie jar.


Flare Ware by Hall China. I love that name, and the Fifties-looking stars. And at the other house I picked up this little hand bell.


Picked it up because of its (to my eyes) midcentury modern look, and it turns out to have a lovely sound. I’m wondering if there’s a way to hang it somewhere it can blow in the wind.


On Saturday I headed out for a different adventure. It was the one-year anniversary of my retirement (still the best thing I’ve ever done!) and I had a birthday a few days ago too, so the family came down and we did an excursion cruise on the Willamette Queen, a river boat that lives here in Salem. That was followed by a ride on the Salem Carousel. I never get near a carousel without riding it, I love them, and this one is quite wonderful. It was created by local artists over 10 years ago, and they continue to carve new animals. There’s a carving room where you can watch the work going on. I love the local scenes depicted on the top of the ride.


I rode a lovely steed

and thoroughly enjoyed every moment…until the last. The carousel began to slow down, and I thought darn, it’s almost over. Then I though, wait, my horse is still going up. I sure hope it keeps going long enough to go down again. But ever more slowly my horse and I rose, until the ride stopped when I was at the exact apogee of my horse’s trajectory. I looked down at the floor, and I could tell it was farther away than the length of my legs. And I am no spring chicken. My husband was on the horse next to mine. “Ummm, I don’t think I can get off,” I told him.

These are the moments that tell you how fortunate you were in your choice of mates. He quickly got off his horse and came to my side, and told me I could do this. I didn’t believe him, but between us we got one of my terrified limbs over the back of the horse, and I started to descend. “You can do it!” he assured me, and I did. But I was right about the floor being farther away than the length of my legs, and one of my knees was pretty unhappy by the time I was standing on the ground. I guess you can do what you have to!

Now I come to think of it though, the alternative would have been to keep riding that beautiful carousel, round and round and round. Steven’s such a good husband, I’m sure he would have brought my meals to me…at least until my horse came to a stop much nearer the floor!


  1. That's twice you have recently mentioned having the right mate recently. You are a lucky lady to have that blessing. I'm happy for you.

  2. Belated happy birthday and retirement anniversary!! lovely root, I love branchie pieces and driftwood too. We collected a car full of it last year on vacation, including a 12ft log/branch/big piece! I could not tell from the photo....was the flowerbed border curved branches???

  3. Happy belated birthday!! Happy anniversary! I have been missing your posts! I have so much to tell you, I will have to send you an email! I can't wait to see what you will do with the tree root also! I have the matching teapot to your jar. Thanks for sharing about your adventure on the carousel! You have a great man!! I'm glade Edward and Zoe had a great time!!


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

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