Monday, August 2, 2010

One Man's Junk is.....

a crazy lady's treasure!  I promised I'd tell you what happened, so here we go--  (and another CAUTION:  LONG post again!)

On Saturday afternoon after leaving the beautiful garden tour, since we were rather far from home, we decided to do some poking around in the local antique stores.  I guess the fancy, more dignified term for this activity is sometimes referred to as 'antiquing'; as in, "Carl and I were antiquing this weekend."  Sounds better to some folks than rummaging, bargain hunting or flea marketing, but anyway, that's what we did.  

The first place we came to had a sign up that said 'Three Barns Full'.  No argument there, except they forgot to mention the four sheds, too.  Furniture and stuff as far as the eye can see.  Wow, overwhelming.  We prowled through the dusty barns, avoided the puddles on the floor from the leaky roofs, and hoped the floor boards would hold us up. After an hour, didn't find anything which really spoke to us or we could afford, that is, until we went outside to the 'Bargain Area'.  Unfortunately, so many of the things offered are so high-priced; I suppose they do have wealthier clientele at times stop in and that's when they can turn a profit.  I imagine it is very hard to make a living this way, but we are cheap.

Carl prefers not to buy his junk...and those of you who know us well, know I am not kidding....people give him their stuff all the time, sigh.  Besides driving me nuts with his 'collection' (and there is SO much of it!) he has built many wonderful things with his stash. (Refer to an earlier post of mine: 'Married to MacGvyer' for more information)  So why do I take a risk and go look at more junk?  Because sometimes we find nice garden treasures and I don't have to worry about him bringing anything else home because he'd have to pay for it.  (The cheap thing again, ha)

So, here is the thing I saw sitting outside in the rain:
I realize you can't see it too well, but this column is eight-sided and quite heavy cast iron-- $35.
I know, it doesn't look like much, but I had this from an earlier 'antiquing adventure' this past spring:
Old light with a nice copper patina--a magnet won't stick to it, so might be the real deal.  The part which goes up against a wall is removable--and we have a lot of stained glass around who knows?  $15
So, when I saw the post, I thought of the lantern sitting sadly at home....and how they might look together:
Not bad!

As Carl is fond of saying, "Just needs some work".  He rolled his eyes when I told him I knew he could fix this for me, because he has four lifetime's of projects in the wings, but we bought it anyway. I don't think it matters if we electrify it or not, I kind of like it just the way it is.  Can you see some nice vines growing on it?

  I realize this stuff doesn't look too weird, well, maybe a little, but anyway, we aren't done yet.

We left 'Three Barns Full' behind and just down the road was another antique place.  This one was even more bounteous than the last, with lots and lots of garden and wrought-iron things everywhere.  The owner was a very friendly gentleman who came out to chat with us and show us his latest acquisitions.  He was so excited about some big, clear glass light shades he had gotten from a factory somewhere.  They look much like a very large punchbowl and if sealed, could probably hold ten gallons.  He took us right over to where they were perched.

"Did you ever see anything like this?! he asked.  "I just haven't found the right use for them yet, but it will come to me.  I used Gorilla Glue to glue some old plates in the bottom so they would hold water, and I tried gluing them together to make a plant stand, I mean just look at 'em and tell me you can't find a use for these?"

I hated to burst his bubble, but I had to tell him straight off that though they were very cool, we wouldn't be buying them because MacGyver, oops, I mean Carl--- has about 30 of them already! ( I could post a picture of what I'm talking about and save a coupla hundred words, but to get to Carl's stash of light shades is life-threatening so you'll just have to imagine, ok?)

The poor man was a little sad to hear we weren't in the market for additional light shades, but I did tell him I'd be watching him to see what he comes up with and may 'borrow' the idea for our use.  He sort of dejectedly walked off then, and said we were free to roam around and just let him know if we needed help.  We roamed all over the place and though he had some really neat things, once again the price (and our being cheap) was a problem.

So, we finished walking through the barns and asked about a few other odds and ends, but he only takes cash and we only had $40 left after buying the $35 stand at the last place.  I asked about a small garden urn ($94) and a basket ($100).  Ouch.

We chatted with the gentleman for awhile (I hate not buying stuff sometimes, they seem so sad, which is good for sales, right?) and then I told him, "We'll keep you in mind; there's some really neat stuff here, but unfortunately we spent too much money at the last antique place down the road."

"Oh, really?  What did you get?" he asked.  "I own that place, too."

I had a good chuckle over that, and told him about the cast iron base.

"Hmmm...I didn't remember where I put that one, must have moved it just recently."  I swear they have minds like steel traps, and Carl is the same way...they can remember everything they've ever picked up along the way, but don't ask them where they put it!

 So, sensing the end of our visit was over, we kicked the gravel around a bit and then just for the heck of it, I asked him one more question.

Here's where you're all going to think I have totally lost my mind----------

We had noticed a hunk of granite (yes, it was a gravestone, but remember my earlier kayaking misadventure??  Why not invest now while I'm still among the living?!) lying in the weeds earlier when we were admiring the clear glass light shades with the owner, but there was no price on it.  You know I love rocks, so I thought, what the heck:

"What do you have to get for that piece of red granite?"

"Oh, that old gravestone......?  Huh, I don't know."  He stood there for awhile, took a drag on his cigarette and scratched his head.  "It is kinda unique, now that you mention it."  We all took a walk across the long grass to stare at the gravestone sitting in the weeds.  "Ain't nobody's name on it or nothin'.... I guess, well, how about $35?" 

Carl's wallet was out faster than an old-time gunslinger and it was a done deal.  Then, sensing the iron was hot, so to speak, the gentleman decided to strike again and took us around to the other side of the yard where another gravestone was sitting, "How about this one?  Ever see such pretty gray granite?  Looks like he died the day he was born, but you could kinda work around that.  Or, you could leave it the way it is and it would make an interesting conversation piece."

Yes, well, that probably would make for a REALLY interesting conversation piece right before the FBI tore up our yard looking for the rest of our victims!  We decided against the gray one, we have enough excitement in our lives right now.

So, now we were the proud owners of a gravestone.  Yes! but how are we going to get it home??  Hmmmmm.....we didn't have the trailer along and we're driving a newer (to us) car that we really don't want to destroy just yet. The tales of how other large rocks came home from all over the place would make a mechanic's hair turn white.  (Our Mighty Buick died just two years ago---may she Rest in Peace!)

The store owner eyed our car and said, "You're going to be hanging pretty good, but what's say I get the Bobcat and hoist her in the trunk?"  We loaded up and were on our way home.  The trailer hitch only dragged once in awhile. ;-)

Both of our sons know we have bizarre ideas and very little surprises them.  For years we have driven through graveyards admiring the artwork and the stained glass windows in mausoleums, and I said on more than one occasion that though the headstones were lovely, wouldn't it be better to have it in your garden before you die so you could enjoy it?  I mean, to spend that much money on a beautiful stone seems like such a waste, and though you can't take it with you, I always thought having it before I was six feet under would be a good idea. Creepy, yeah, ok, a little, but why not?

I text-messaged our eldest son, Joel, when we were nearer to home, and told him we would need the tractor when we arrived.

His text back was:  "what did you get now?"

I typed back, 'a round rock- red granite at antique store'

"is it heavy?'


Do you know what his next text to me was?

"You bought a gravestone!"

That Joel, I can never surprise him.
Here we are, home again, safe and sound...ok, how do we get it out of the car?
Joel was ready with the tractor when we pulled in:

Carl rigged up a sling
Joel hoisted it out without a mishap!
So, if you've lasted this long, you may wonder what I'm going to do with it.  I'm not sure....
Years ago, I cut out some lead 'leaves' from a sheet of lead that Carl was given--(doesn't everyone have a 6' sheet of lead lying around?)

I made the 'leaves' to look sort of like the concrete casting ones--these are supposed to resemble hosta leaves...and I can bend them in any shape I want.
We have an old sundial sitting around, so I put the leaves underneath it to hold the dial temporarily
Temporary use until we come up with something else
So, there you have it.......I know, I should seek help.  

Thanks for reading!  Karen


Junebug said...

Oh Karen, you and I could get into so much trouble if we went junking,I mean Antiquing together! I love both of your finds and isn't it fun figuring out what to do with them. To me they make great additions to your already beautiful yard!

Jester said...

I LOVE IT!!!and your mind!!!just wish I had a husband who would at least try and understand why I pick up odd things and bring them home. I love the man, but if it doesn't have fins or antlers he has absolutely NO imagination whatsoever. Its nice to know I'm not the only person who things cemetaries are beautiful. If you are ever in the NYC area, take a ride out & up to Hyde Park. The old Roosevelt & Vanderbilt mansions are there along the Hudson & accross the road from them are some fabulous old cemetaries. Well, the whole area really, but those are the ones that got me hooked!Great work my dear!

Alison said...

Once again, an immensely entertaining post! I just loved your tale of buying the gravestone (and it is lovely!), but the biggest laugh was the knowing response from your son! I love how sometimes we can never surprise our families! And you have a great attitude about having that beautiful piece of granite in your garden ahead of time so you can enjoy it!

That sundial kinda looks like it's about to take flight. Doesn't it look like it now has wings and a tail?

FlowerLady said...

Great finds! The granite already looks lovely in it's setting.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Karen, you are one creative lady! You could put these items together and resell them.


Ginny said...

Great story and great finds!

Gail said...

That was fun~Can I go junking with you! Love the creative uses of the post and lantern and the granite is delicious~gail

Karen said...

Wouldn't it be fun to go junking-ahem-'antiquing' as a group? Oh, the things we could all come up with!

Thank you to all!


Marguerite said...

What a wonderful story. I love bumping around in other peoples old barns, you just never know what you'll find. You have great imagination and vision to put it together into something wonderfully new.