Of Things Old

Old is a number. By number, I am old, but still active, healthy in habit, and fairly strong. I am older than my Mom was when she died by almost a decade. Old here in the mountains seems to be a lower age than I have reached, but I’m from a long lived arm of the family paternally. My great grandmother lived to 94, my grandmother to 88, my father to 92.

I love old things, but I’m not an antique collector. My parent’s home had many antiques when I was small, but most of them were replaced during the two years my mother worked outside of the home when I was in 7th and 8th grades. A few pieces were saved and a couple of those pieces have come to me. Two simple tables, hand built by past generations and kept in the family. One is a small table with three drawers that was in a kitchen long ago. When the top right drawer isn’t pushed tight shut, there is evidence of a mouse gnawing it’s way into the drawer, a small oblong hole and a keyhole with no lock.

My Dad cleaned this beautiful little table of paint and put a wax coat on it, it is repurposed as a side table in our living room.

I don’t know the history of this one, except hearing the story that my parents felt it was too tall, the legs had the same flattened ball shape turning at the bottoms of the legs and Dad cut them off. When it was given to me, the top was loose with nail holes in it, the finish damaged. It too had evidence of having been painted and the paint removed. I stripped the table, put L brackets under the top hidden by the drawer to tighten it and refinished it. It is the table between our chairs in the loft, where we put our beverages and my spinning bowl. It too is from my mother’s family home.

This cedar chest was in the hall at the top of the stairs of my in-laws home. When my Mother -in-law passed and their house was sold, we got the brass accented cedar chest. It smelled of mothballs and is full of old family photos and home movies from hubby’s side of the family. It serves as our living room coffee table.

When I was pregnant with our first child and we were moving from the duplex that I co owned with my parents into a larger home in which to raise our family, we bought me a Boston rocking chair for the nursery. It was used in the nursery for the older two children, but when we moved to a larger home in a nicer neighborhood prior to child three, I found this 1700’s pressed wood rocking chair in a shop where I bought the reed I used to make baskets. The gentleman caned chair bottoms and had begun making the pressed leather pieces that adorned some chairs from that period. This rocker came home to be in the nursery for the youngest.

Because of it’s age, it was used, but used gently. When youngest was about 3 or 4 years old, we elected to down size to a townhouse that we could afford on my salary as a school counselor so that hubby could open his own Law Office, knowing that it would be a while before his fledgling business would be solvent. Since the boys had to share a bedroom, the chair was put in the living room. Our children knew that if they used that chair, it was to be used gently. One Thanksgiving while we were living there, I hosted the meal for some of the extended family. One member, a large man sat in that chair. Son 1 suggested to him that maybe it wasn’t an appropriate choice just prior to him leaning back and snapping the back right off the chair. There was an antique repair shop that put dowels in the broken spindles and re glued the chair so that it looks okay, but it is now just a decorative piece. The seat is sound, and it is probably safe for gentle use.

Somewhere in our life history, a good friend purchased this antique treadle sewing machine at an auction. My husband purchased it from her for me as a gift. It has been in several locations in our homes, but fits nicely in this corner of our hallway and holds a landline phone that we must keep to have internet. The brown rectangular box basket on top is my great grandmother’s sewing basket. The machine has a leather drive band and still works, though I think it needs a good cleaning and oiling.

There are a few other small items, a child’s chair that is from my Dad’s childhood, another child’s chair that belongs to one of our Daughters in law, a bentwood doll’s chair made for my mother, and a small pottery jug that came from my mother’s family home. And in our loft, the large Walking Wheel seen in the header photo. That wheel, a gift from hubby a few years ago, purchased in an antique shop in Front Royal, Virginia on a visit to Son 1’s family. It is a functional wheel and knowing now what I didn’t know then, we paid about twice what it is worth, but it is beautiful and I love it.

Whether these pieces stay with our children when we are gone or not, this is so they know some history. I have thought about putting the history of each on a card and tucking the card in a drawer or under the lid. They haven’t all “fit” in some of our homes, but they are all perfect for this log home in the middle of a farm.


I believe in peaceful protest, but not riots that bring out people who use the crowds to vandalize, loot, and arson. I am a Caucasian female, born to a middle class family of two parents, so no, I don’t know what it is like to be a targeted black male. I am old enough to have lived through the 1960’s as a teen and young adult, drove a mini van with curtains in the windows, so got stopped a couple of times for minor offences or license checks, but never felt threatened by those stops. I was taught right from wrong, how to be polite, but not to be racist.

I joined social media to connect with friends and family that I rarely get to see, to get updates on groups to which I am a member, but between the 24/7 onslaught on the news about politics, Covid, and now BLM, and every other post addressing one of those issues, social media has driven me away. I try to avoid the television, but if it is on and I want to spend time with hubby, I am in the same room with it and it is like a train wreck, you can’t avoid watching it. Last night after Trump had a peaceful protest attacked with tear gas, flashbang granades, and rubber bullets so he could have a photo op, I couldn’t take it anymore. I turned my chair away from the screen, put on headphones and played music, probably louder than I should have to drown it out.

I go outside, play in the dirt, take walks and pictures of the pastoral scene. I spin, mostly on my Jenkins Turkish spindles, and knit with the yarn I spin. And still I am stressed and have trouble sleeping.

The Jenkins spindle spin along in which I participate, starts new every month. I started the month with empty spindles and a brand new braid of wool in Peacock colors. The goal each month is a minimum of 25 grams of spun singles or plied yarn. That is less than an ounce. In two days, I have already spun 23.49 grams. I started with two colors pulled off of the gradient braid and divided it lengthwise into two equal pieces, weighed them to be sure they were.

This is half of the purple and blue, the next part to spin.

Here are the 23+ grams still on the apple wood spindle with the other half behind it and the rest of the braid under it. I can’t spin that much every day, but it is my sanity for now. I thought our country had made progress in social relations, but the past 4 years have changed my mind. It hurts my heart and soul that such bad behavior occurs. We are all the same color on the inside. Children aren’t born racists, they learn it. Stop teaching it to them.

“To make a difference in someone’s life, you don’t have to be brilliant, rich, beautiful, or perfect. You just have to care.”

Morning Song

Last evening as the night chores were being done, the sky had this gorgeous pink swathe in the sky.

As I was planning last evening’s meal, the frozen green vegetables in the freezer did not appeal. I knew I had among the last of this spring’s harvest of asparagus, which I love, but are not favorites of hubby, I remembered that 4 of the plants in the row of spinach I had planted survived the chicken onslaught a few weeks ago. A quick pop over to the garden and the two smaller heads, a handful of pea shoots, and a couple of asparagus that had emerged were harvested and a salad plan was made. Fresh raw spinach with pea shoots and shavings of the most delicious vintage aged cheddar cheese and a mild vinegarette. A nice fresh from the garden addition to dinner.

The morning chores were greeted by the song of the cicadas that have emerged up the hill in the woods. I stopped during my walk yesterday and recorded their sound. In our south woods or in the tall hay, a gobbler was sounding his call. No traffic sounds, no jets like I grew up with, just natures calls and bird songs.

Soon there will be fresh peas, the two beds are full of white blossoms.

The potatoes look like they need topping again. I am excited to have potatoes in the garden again this year, though they aren’t a long keeping variety, they will be enjoyed fresh, maybe a few small ones will be able to be dug from the edges when the bush beans are ready, that is a delightful combination.

On summer mornings, when I go out to turn the hens out, I carry a hoe with me and in the cool of the morning, the weeding is done. More mint was dug and pulled this morning and I realized that I had not put down cardboard around the potato bed and covered it, so that task needs to be undertaken. Though I don’t like plastic in the garden, that feed sack is tucked under the edge of that bed and will have to remain there until the potatoes are dug unless I can tug it out before putting down cardboard and spoiled hay.

More spring flowers were cut last night for the dining table. The Dutch Iris are blooming now that the Bearded Iris are fading, the Coreopsis is blooming and lots of Comfrey flowers.

I am a failure at flower arranging, but love a bouquet of fresh cut flowers on the table during the season.

After chores last night, I finished spinning the second bobbin of the gray Shetland and plied a very full 4 ounce bobbin. There is still about 6 more ounces of the wool, some on the two bobbins that didn’t fit on the plying bobbin, so I will weigh them, subtract the bobbin weight, divide the remaining Shetland so that each of those bobbins end up with 2 ounces and spin and ply another 4 ounces. I think there is plenty now to knit the sweater for me for next winter.

It was spun with a pattern in mind, then I bought this Peacock gradient braid and I think a yoke style sweater with the Peacock at the yoke and the gray below would be stunning, so now I am in a quandry.

This morning is cool enough for a light hoodie, too cool to enjoy my coffee on the deck, so maybe I should take advantage and though I have already spent some time in the garden this morning, I should put down the two paths of cardboard and hay and put a layer of mulch on the asparagus bed that will now be allowed to send up it’s pencil thin ferny shoots to feed the crowns for next year’s harvest. The cycle of life.

“When the power of love, overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.” Jimi Hendricks