One Man’s Junk…..

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The day we came to look at our property one of the things that caught my eye was a huge metal heap partially hidden by some trees. As we got closer my eyes grew to the size of saucers. Right in front of me sat a huge piece of old farm equipment and a 1930’s logging truck. First thing I asked was if it all came with the property. I figured it did since trees are growing right up through it.

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The W’s is what I’ll call the previous owners. Mr. W grew up in our house. He told us back in the 60’s his Uncle parked the old logging truck and what I learned was a combine in that very spot. Supposedly the combine is one of the first self-propelled PTO combines. Over time it was used as target practice and a garbage dumpster for cans, glass, and old tools.

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Since I first laid eyes on what others might call junk my mind has been racing with all the different things we can use that heap of metal for. Before I got ahead of myself I checked with an agriculture museum to see if the combine had any historical significance. It has been a couple of weeks since I talked to them, and after two phone calls and an email of pictures and a full description. I think it’s safe to say they think it’s a pile of junk too. Now I can set my imagination free!

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Before I get out my tools and start dismantling things there is one thing that is holding us back. The heat. I grew up in Texas, but like everywhere else the weather just isn’t what I grew up with. Don’t get me wrong this summer has been much less brutal than the past two. Two summers ago we had over ninety days straight of triple digit temperatures starting in May! This year it has been fairly good the triple digit temperatures started at the end of July. Most of all, we need the rain.  Even our native plants aren’t doing well. Critters are out in full force looking for water. We have set out a couple of troughs to help them out. The one critter I don’t want to mess with is the Copperhead snake, and that truck and combine is a snake condominium at the moment. With Lil’ Buddy always wanting to help, that is one risk I don’t want to make. When fall arrives the snakes usually mellow out and prepare for hibernation.

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Hurry up and get here Fall! We have a roof to replace, a metal heap to dismantle, a garden to plan, dead trees to cut down, our list goes on and on. Until then we have many indoor projects to do, but that pile o’ junk is calling my name.

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Waiting For Our First Harvest

We are waiting till next spring before we plant our garden. We have a lot to do to prepare, and I can hardly wait!

In the meantime I have been waiting patiently for our prickly pear cactus fruit, known as tunas, to ripen. I have been gathering recipes to experiment with these spiny fuchsia fruit. I found recipes for prickly pear margaritas, pie, lemonade, jam, and cupcakes. There is a danger of getting stabbed by their little spines, gloves must be worn when gathering them and removing their skins. I am hoping it is worth the risk! I have eaten the cactus pads, called Nopales, before. In Mexico the cactus is known as Nopalitos. One way of preparing the cactus pads is making them into a salsa. I have had it prepared this way and served over eggs. It was pretty tasty!

I hope to make a weekend out of experimenting in my kitchen, cooking, and taste testing. I will definitely be sharing the results! Have you ever tasted prickly pear fruit or used it in a recipe?

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Today I was in our mud room and noticed a visitor in our backyard. A road runner, they are also known as Chaparral. He just jumped up on one of our metal chairs and hung out for a bit. I think he was trying to get a better view of his breakfast, lizards! He soon left and set out into the woods. He was beautiful. Little by little we are getting glimpses of the animals that live around here. They are always a sweet surprise.

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Downsizing

Downsizing 1000 square feet is easier said than done.  So far it has had its ups.  Less to clean is always awesome.  Our kitchen is the same size, we didn’t lose cabinet space.  The closets and storage are actually better than we had before.  So what is the problem you ask?

Well, the problem is my love of collecting.  I am not a hoarder.  Whew!  I just have many small collections and less room to display them.  I don’t believe collections should be tucked away in a box somewhere or crammed into a dark closet.  They should be on display for others to see.  In our new place that’s exactly what I am missing.  Room to display my collections.

Right before I had Lil’ Buddy I traveled the states picking for treasures.  I had a space in a vintage shop and sold the treasures I scored.  I would hop in my suburban and set out on the open road.  Most of the time I planned every stop on my trip, shopping flea markets, garage sales, and antique malls.  Sometimes I would just play it by ear and just head out without any plans at all.  It was amazing!  I met people from all walks of life and saw things I didn’t think I would ever see.  I usually packed food and snacks, but sometimes I craved a hot meal after a day of loading up treasures, so my rule was to stop at a local Mom and Pop diner.  It was never a mistake!  The food was always delicious and my belly always left happy.  Soul food.

I always had an attraction to things of yesteryear.  I was always curious about where they came from, who had them, their story.  My first collection, outside of my childhood collection of cats, unicorns, and coca cola, was vintage lamps.  Especially lamps from the 1950’s.  I still have my first pair.

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My other love is vintage western.  Wagon wheel furniture, western suits, chalk ware horses, paint by numbers.  Kitsch galore!  They tackier the better in my eyes, studs, fringe, and cowhide! I have made a home for all of that in our guest room/ craft space.  It’s a little tight, but I like to think it’s cozy.  ah hem.  I have given this room a name, but I will save that and the room for another post.  Here is a peak!

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Since having Lil’ Buddy a lot of my collections have lost their meaning and importance.  It’s just stuff.  It might take a while, but it’s all replaceable.  Nothing can replace Lil’ Buddy.  Having him has made it so much easier to give them up, find them new homes.  Plus, as a family in a new home we have things we want to collect together.  Treasure hunting is fun, but even better when you do it with others.  At this moment Lil’ Buddy likes to collect sticks, rocks, moss, Cicada shells, lizards, frogs, flowers, and toads.  My Hubby likes to collect cactus and succulents.  We haven’t started a family collection yet.  I have a feeling it will be animals.  We all love them and we can’t wait to have a place for them.  There are fences to be built, coops, and a barn or two.  I can’t wait!