A Day in the Life.........

                                 Morning comes early - sometimes at the crack of early........

When that happens, I find myself wandering with my camera, or seated at the computer, with a cup of tea, letting the words rattling around in my head spill out onto the keyboard.

There is no organization of thought this morning, but the piercing shrillness of the cowbird, lets me know that the bird feeding station is in need of replenishing!!!

The mornings usually start with the peaceful cooing and whistling wings of the mourning doves, the tapping of the woodpeckers searching for breakfast, cows in the distance bellowing for their breakfast.........then, the sharp whistle of those cowbirds telling me to get a move on!!!!

Cowbirds are not a favorite bird for some - but, I don't mind them. I enjoy watching them twiddle around the feet of the horses, looking for insects. I don't like the fact that they lay their eggs in someone else's nest, sometimes removing that bird's own eggs- to let the other bird raise their cowbird young. But, I do admire the cowbird tenacity - survival of the fittest, and all that!!!

                                                           breakfast is served!!

This is my norm for most mornings. Then, there was this morning!!!

It never fails, when I leave the garage door open (and ignore that nagging voice in my head saying DON'T DO THAT!), someone, or something, enters the garage who does NOT belong! Sometimes it is a bird, sometimes NOT!

As I was getting the feed for the horses the other day (kept in bins in the garage), I glanced down and saw a mouse caught and dead in one of D/H's traps. A further glance came upon a pair of steady eyes watching me intently, tongue flickering.

It was my resident garter snake, (and this one is a big one- at least 18" long, and pretty thick around the middle) who for a while, lived quietly near the back of the house, behind the garden hose. He/she, has since expanded its territory to around the perimeter of the house, also claiming my herb garden atop a rock wall. Favorite sunning spot is now among the fancy plumed grass and hen and chicks.

Now, it seems, the forgotten open garage door was too much of a temptation - or maybe it was the scent of the dead mouse in the trap!
Whatever the reason, there he sat, "my" garter snake- glaring at me, from atop a box, directly above the mouse carcass and across from my feed bins!

Now, I don't mind snakes. I had to remove one from the garage- all by myself- last year, scaring the crap out of myself in the process!!! The snake I removed was young and black, and very aggressive. I had gloves on (fortunately) because he bit me - and then rattled !!!!!

Talk about rattled - I WAS RATTLED!!! After getting this little black snake back to the great outdoors- and then flying up to the computer to research photos of rattlesnakes, I was relieved to discover that young black snakes, and racers, when disturbed, will make a rattling sound with their vibrating tail. They are non venomous. Altho', that does not make getting bitten (even when wearing thick leather gloves) any more enjoyable! Especially when I was unaware of what I was handling when bitten!!!

After that incident, I have decided to let snakes make their own decisions!! Or, let D/H remove them!!!

For Mr. /Mrs. Garter, I left the garage door open a crack, while I went to feed the horses, hoping the scent of fresh air, would entice him/her back outside. I knew if I tried to "encourage" the snake with the broom, it would only retreat behind some boxes!

I have not seen the snake since, so I am hoping  it  made it back out to the great outdoors and my herb garden. I'll be checking out there today!!!!


        I'm so excited - another of my blog posts has turned into an article in the local paper!


I may never get that book published, but at least I have some published articles under my literary belt!                                            
 I've moved beyond wordy Letters to the Editor!!!

Actually, with mentioning this article on Facebook, a new FB "friend" and author mentioned that he owns a publishing company, so I may have to check that out.

Lack of organization, procrastination, lack of funds for self publishing, and procrastination,  has put a big STOP sign on my road to getting a book out there.

Maybe I need to get motivated and move beyond the blog.......we'll see!!

Meanwhile, here I am in print - exciting!!!! Maybe this will bring more readers to the blog, who knows!!!

Tea and Treasures

Well, I missed Tea on Tuesday- forgot it was Tuesday (the holiday threw me off) and planned to do a late afternoon tea, but the hellacious thunderstorm here took out the electricity. Soooo, there went any thoughts of the post!

But, since I have tea every day- figured I'd have a cup, while I  share some of the treasures brought home from the Quicksburg Mill.

Yesterday's tea was home grown sage, in my English Denby mug. LOVE this mug, found on a thrift store shelf. (Today's tea is a lemongrass green tea combo)

There were soo many things brought home from the mill over a period of 4 visits this past weekend- from buttons, to boxes and rusty bits of this and that. Lots of rusty bits of this and that!!!!! Too many things to list in one post.

                                                       I'll just tell about a couple!

One of the last finds,( and this was great to stash all my other treasures in!)  was a mop pail on wheels - the perfect planter!! I am hoping a vintage white enamel washbowl I already have, will fit perfectly in the top (less dirt to have to fill up the whole pail with!)

              Goes nicely with my old wash pail filled with basil and dill, don't ya' think?

Bucket full of vintage horse shoes - (oh, wait - not from the mill- but from a yard sale I stopped at on the way to the mill !!LOL) There are some good old and large, and hand made ones, that I don't already have in my collection. And, the bucket full was only $2!!!

A group of 3 vintage cameras- had to run down to Fulks Run Grocery (they have an extensive collection of old cameras on display) to find out how to close the Polaroid without breaking it !! Thanks, Ron and Peggie!
These old Polaroids are heavy!! But very cool- slides out with old fashioned bellows(?)behind.

                                 In perfect working order- despite the dust and cobwebs!!But, I don't imagine we can get film for these anymore - in this age of digital cameras.......The Polaroid weighs 4  1/2 lbs!!! Equal to 9 of my digital Canons!

This Brownie has some film inside - back to the grocery to find out how to rewind and view it!!!

Also got a 35mm circa 1918 b & W silent film docu- so VERY cool!!!!!! In the original canister, from Brayer Productions of the pre-talkie era !! Now, to find an 35mm projector (that I could afford!!) to view it on!!

In honor of my grandfather, Joe Caldwell, who worked for Con Edison his whole life, a vintage volt meter/tester. This may be a keeper, but may end up on Etsy after a while. I'm assuming it works, but electricity is not my forte- it just looks cool!!

Assorted goodies below- local wooden hangers (which I use- no wire!!), an English ceramic retail jewelry display, a horse, (of course), a cow horn being mailed to a nephew to turn into a powder horn for his Civil War re-enacting, one of several vintage pin cushions - this tattered one with lamb's wool stuffing, and a metal '60's address book, never used..

Cool box pin cushion - the two parts found quite by accident in different boxes- the padded lid slides off.

                    The tattered (mouse eaten) 5 sided wool filled and a silky apple pin cushion.

Assorted miscellaneous - check out the cool watch and sterling pin. Click on for closer look.


                                       More bits and bobs and rusty things!Love the RR spike!

I LOVE this rug hooked Scottie pillow - velveteen backing and hooked on burlap-sorry, blogger again won't rotate the pic. He will either be in my shop at Shenandoah Valley  or on Etsy- so cute!!!

There was so MUCH more - but I won't bore you anymore in this post. There was a very cool church whatsit (that might have been used to light candles or gas lamps), a wood walking stick, a puzzle of little dovetail box pieces to be put back together, another wooden box for a planter, a hand hewn lap desk, an Alice in Wonderland pj sack, a rather vicious looking rusty 3 spiked whatsit (maybe for hanging meat?), some vintage wood clipboards, little doll baby carriage spoked wheels, dinnerware for upcycling and way too many mid 1800 books for my collection, and so much more, to be saved for another post.

Hope you enjoyed looking thru my treasures!!!

Hot Time in the Ol' Mill..........

                 When the temps hit the upper 80's- where would you want to be???

Ordinarily, I would say "in the A/C", but 3 days in a row, I have been rummaging around in a circa 1908 mill.

At one time it was an operating seed mill, but now, it is a fabulous catchall for all manner of antiques, junque and cool, needful stuff!!!

           It's a place the American Picker guys would LOVE to be knee deep in!!!

Owned by Ann Austin and her husband, Sandy, the mill appears to have all of its inner workings intact.

It even has an outdoor light fixture that has been glowing almost continuously for at least (if not more) 35 years with the same bulb!. That has got to be a Guinness Book record for a light bulb !! Ann was told by the previous owners that they always left the light on, because when they turned it off, it was sometimes hard to make it go back on. So, they just never turned it off- and neither has she!!!

When I first pulled up to this building, next to the railroad tracks, in the tiny 120 mailbox town of Quicksburg, Va, I was intrigued. Not only by the vista spread out before my eyes across the railroad tracks, but by the pile of STUFF  on the porch and outside of the mill ! It is a packrat, dumpster diving, junquer's DREAM !!!!

You must be prepared, I discovered, with good shoes, a bottle of water, sometimes gloves and a flashlight. Altho' there is ample lighting within the building, quite often, there is a dark and hidden corner chock full of treasures that you might miss- without that flashlight!!!LOL

It is almost overwhelming- a place you cannot cover in just one short visit! 
Not that it's a huge building- but, just that it is crammed full of everything imaginable. Anne told me one man came and actually hung around for 5 days, just so he could make sure he did not overlook anything!!!

You can find Civil War era sheet music, bound periodicals from the mid and early 1800's, furniture, fabric, old porcelain doorknobs, tools, honeycomb frames for beehives, common yard sale junk, and more.

                             The book section is a bibliophile's dream!

As jumbled as the interior is - Ann Cain Austin knows exactly where everything is!

A kind and entertaining soul, Ann used to own a business furniture store in northern  Va- in Arlington and Vienna. Her business started with furniture, she kind of segued into selling fancy, vintage fountain pens, which led to her to collecting and selling antiques and more antiques, and widening her inventory.
 Quite impressive, Ann Cain was a VietNam War widow, running her office furniture business on her own. She  told a story, of a movie producer coming in to her shop one day, offering and paying her $700 ( a princely sum at the time) to close up shop early, so his movie company could come in, and  use her shop as a backdrop for several scenes in the film they were shooting.

Ann's equally colorful cohort and now husband, Sandy, is a WW II veteran and a retired sheriff of 40 years.He even wears a sheriff's star belt buckle!!
Oh, the stories they can tell!!! It's as much fun to sit and chat with them, as it is to rummage thru' the mill!

I first went on Thursday, after hearing some ladies talking about this little treasure of a shop. It was closed, but there was a phone number on a chalkboard outside the building. I took a chance and called - Ann kindly said she would be right down - she lived a few doors up from her mill.
One thing led to another, I mentioned the place to  some friends, and they met me back at the mill on Friday! Several hours later, and a car full of treasures later, sweaty and exhausted, we left Ann and Sandy, with promises to be back on Saturday- and maybe even Monday!!!

I think I have blown most of my discretionary income for the month, at the mill - but, I know there are more treasures to be found. Since most of my money, lately, has been spent on horse feed and vet bills, I felt I was due for a little antique splurging!!! (pics of my finds,and some I had to leave behind (!) will come soon in another post!)

The mill is really only open twice a year - Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend. But, I bet, if you call the number on the chalkboard, Ann will be more than willing, if she is home and able, to come down and open the doors and welcome you in!

Hi Ho Silver.......Away!!!!!

You might think, by the title of this post, since I love horses,  this  might be about one of my favorite childhood TV series - The Lone Ranger!
                                          Fooled ya' !!

Thought I'd just jabber on about another favorite thing of mine - vintage silverplate, and old silver.

Gone are the good ol' days, when there was a day of the week designated for polishing the silver- when silver was what you set your table with, not the stainless steel forks and spoons we now purchase at Target.

Real silver, not the silverplate stuff, is still kind of out of my reach pricewise.

But, I LOVE thrift store and rummage sale finds of silverplate, and on occasion, if I am lucky, REAL silver!!

I have my grandmother's very nice silverplate serving spoons and utensils. I have a couple of Great Aunt Taimi's monogrammed shrimp forks, and serving platters.

                                      Monogrammed "K" for Kahkonen and below "C" for Caldwell

I have a weakness for Deco designs, and sometimes the most gaudily ornate mid to late1800's butter knives and jelly or bonbon spoons will catch my eye. A bonbon spoon- can you imagine????!!

Above: a bonbon spoon(or maybe it's a berry spoon) is now a necklace; an English captured faerie wing, Mexican cuff, and bracelet, sterling ring and brooch.

I love to uncover utensils that served a purpose years ago, when now, sometimes only hours of research will yield their extinct name and reason for creation..

I love old silverplate, tarnished and pitted, for repurposing, upcycling, and just plain decoration.

                                                             A pile above awaiting altering............
                                                             a pedestal to be, below.......


Much of .925 silver made today, does not, to me, wield the charm of an older piece- whether it be from England, US, or Mexico.
It is fun for me to research the marks, sometimes almost indistinguishable, stamped or incised on the backs or undersides of a newly discovered thrift shop or yard sale score!

I love to use old silverware, mismatched, of course, in a table setting, sometimes with a cast off orphaned vintage dinner plate or teacup of the same era. I often wonder where these might have originally been used, or what years ago dinner party, did these fancy plates and silver pieces grace the table of ?
                                                                   iced tea spoons

A tarnished, ugly and blackened with age spoon, sometimes surprises me, and cleans up to a beautiful glistening piece of silverplate (or with luck- actual SILVER!).

A blackened pedestal in the trash, cleaned up quite nicely to become a jewelry catch-all!

                                    Assorted servers and ladle that cleaned up pretty well

Others that are worn in much used spots,down to the base metal,  are perfect for artsy upcycling, taking on new life as a piece of jewelry or wind chime.
An old silverplate lidless sugar bowl becomes a planter for an African violet. A silverplate pedestal urn is now filled with a miniature array of spring garden plants. A knife is stamped with words of wisdom, or cut and recreated into a candle holder.

 A mid 1800's silver hand mirror (score!) adorns a same century dresser, as a companion to a silver clothing brush. It gives us a glimpse into an era of days gone by...........holding that mirror and gazing into the streaked glass, wondering who before you owned this, their visage stored in the mirror's memory.

                                                closeup of the detail on the hand mirror below

                                             (plant stake/spoon coming soon to my Etsy shop)

It's a treasure hunt that never ends- with a Hi Ho, Silver...............AWAY!!!!