Monday, May 30, 2011

weekend in the Catskills

A good weekend--snow gone, customers back, and oh my the scenery takes my breath away.
Our house is down a steep hill,  in a hollow with woods and water. Here's the view now (click pictures to enlarge):

Go back up the driveway, and just a short way along the road you'll see this:

A classic Catskills scene.

There used to be hundreds of small dairy farms in the region.
One of the few remaining is on our road.

 This beautiful log home belongs to our friends George and Gerry. 
We ate dinner there Sunday night.

These are their well-loved laying hens. 
I get fresh eggs every weekend I'm there. 
There's always a blue one in the carton.

I helped George feed them. They have to be completely fenced in--
the property borders a forest inhabited by bears, foxes, and weasels.

I put the sign I wrote about last week outside of the building, 
and George and Gerry, who also have a store there, 
put out flowers, which brightened the entry. 

Twice this weekend I got soft-serve ice cream here--
a vanilla and chocolate twist. 
Just thought you should know.

This handsome building is across the street from the ice cream store, 
which is 1/2 a block from my store, which is probably not a good thing for me. 
Or is it? Are we being sensible or not?
Speaking of ice cream and my store .....

How do you like this sign?????
I got it at an auction (of course).
Hope you also enjoyed your weekend.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Bovina earmarks

Bovina is a tiny village in the Catskills, lovely and rural. There used to be many family dairy farms; now very few. I wanted to buy a house there just so I could say I live in Bovina. So much more etymologically interesting than Andes or Margaretville. (There is also a nearby town called Delhi. Pronounced "Del-hi".)

Speaking of etymology, thanks to Bovina Town Historian Ray LaFever, I now know that earmarks aren't just Congressional pet projects--they are identification marks on an animal. Bovina farmers used them to identify their sheep. Mr. LaFever found, in the town records, a book of earmarks dating from 1820 to 1836. Next to each farmer's name is a description of the earmark and some drawings. You can read more on Mr. LaFever's blog, and I must give credit to the Watershed Post where I first read about it. Now, isn't that interesting?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

summer green

You may have noticed that I love the color green. If not, see here and here.
I made a new esty treasury called summer green. Here's a sample:

 If you want to see all 16 click here: summer green.


Last winter I printed a short poem by Robert Frost on textured paper and put a small stack out in the store with a note: a poem for you. Later I inserted the word free, because it is a store after all.

      Dust of Snow
    The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree

Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.
I was surprised and pleased that a fair number of the poems were taken, and that a few people even came to talk to me about poetry. So next weekend I'm going to take another poem.

The Lake Isle of Innisfree

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee;
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet's wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.

                                                                         - W.B. Yeats

Do you have a favorite poem?


Monday, May 23, 2011


I've had signs on my mind for a while.
I need some on the outside of the building my store is in. Inside it's divided into several stores. A few of them have their own entrance from the street. There are two general public entrances: one under the plum-colored awning, and one in the back where there is a parking lot. I have signs inside, but none outside. My store is on the second floor, so I rely on getting people in the building to find me. There used to be a cafe by the front entrance, that attracted a lot of business. Now that's an empty storefront. The landlord said I can put a sign outside on the second floor, but I want something people will see when they stroll by. Here's one solution I've come up with:

I got this blank sign at auction. 

Blank except for the cool fly-fishing fly.

I painted the word "shops" on it. 

I'm planning to put it next to the entrance (near the planters). I thought about painting smaller signs to hang from it, advertising what the stores upstairs carry (antiques, art, furniture, home accessories) but I'm not sure about that. Yesterday I saw a restaurant that had a statue of a chef outside with a large chalkboard leaning against it advertising their specials. I could do something like that--it would be fun to have the freedom to write random things on it.

Lisa, who painted my inside signs (you can see some of them here) and who is a talented designer and constant source of inspiration to me, is inviting people to link posts about signs they've made on her blog today. I feel a little guilty because I didn't make this sign--just put the letters on. So I found a piece of balsa wood in the garage, and with the help of stencils made this sad little sign:

Lisa makes it look so easy! It's not .... but now that I've done it once, I'll try again. I like words and I like paint.


what i know

The horse and wagon I got at the auction is a model of a Sicilian Cart.

I want to go here. Immediately. I need to see all of it, including "a 3,500-piece three-ring circus, with a brass band, a tiger cage and acrobats performing before an arena of spectators. But the figures are just inches tall, carved out of wood with a penknife and a jigsaw by Edgar Decker Kirk. Along the curved walls, glass cases display a 500-foot-long circus parade, with 4,000 miniature figures carved by another craftsman, Roy Arnold."  That's 7,500 miniature carved circus figures, folks. Speaking of miniature carved figures, I think I am going to sell the 1860 clothespin soldiers I wrote about here. They are in a closet. They want to come out.

Which brings me to the puzzling fact that I really want to clean out my house. I'm in the mood for streamlined and spare. I'm tired of stuff. And yet I keep bringing in all this stuff to sell. 

Like landscapes. You wouldn't believe how many old landscapes I have.

And I have banished my cat for the night because she caught a baby rabbit. I got it away from her, and I think it's okay but there will be a next one. She goes berserk when I put a bell on her. She goes berserk when I keep her inside.

How was your weekend?

Friday, May 20, 2011

last night's auction

I've been staying away from auctions. I have so much inventory, and business was slow through the winter--I haven't wanted to spend money. I went to one last night though, that had a lot of outdoor/garden items. Most of them went for more than I was comfortable paying, but I got a few odd things.

I got home late and so unpacked the car this morning. 

I'm always amazed when things that survived 100 years
 survive me jamming them into my car.

This is the time of year to buy vintage Christmas ornaments.
They were practically giving them away.

Three irons. Can you see the rooster on the middle one?

two oil paintings
I also got a great pastel that i forgot to take a picture of.

a mahogany gateleg table

a standalone fly fishing sign that i'm going to do something with (huh?)

an 1834 store ledger

and my favorite thing, that for some reason I don't have a picture of in its entirety:

a gypsy/circus wagon! 

Have a great weekend--

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

small scale and weedy

                                                           all pictures from my garden

I like to work on a small scale. I can't conceptualize designing or decorating large spaces. I'm a  better poet than novelist. When I was small I tore off the back of envelopes to draw on--I didn't want a whole piece of paper. I bake cookies not cakes. I like to stay home and read. Faced with a large expanse to garden in, I am overwhelmed. I like the odd weedy corner, battered containers.

That's the way I'm feeling these days--a little battered and weedy, though not without some small charm.

more this:

than this:

I occasionally manage this:

If I were a flower I'd be a Virginia bluebell or a violet. I could never be a rose (not even a wild rose) or peony or anything large and magnificent.
If you were a flower, what would you be?


Linking to A Beach Party

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

the mincing mockingbird

The weight of Country Weekend's inventory is antique and vintage, but I carry a number of contemporary items. The jury is still out on whether I picked well with some of them, but there's no doubt that the Mincing Mockingbird is a perfect fit. His pictures of birds, found on prints, cards, postcards and magnets, are beautiful.

 He often combines them with droll sayings. 

I love this magnet and it's been very popular in the store.
Teachers and English majors revealed themselves.

There's a gallery next door, and several artists bought this one.

I gave this one to my friend Jorge, who brings me fresh eggs every week.

These just makes me smile.

You can find the Mincing Mockingbird's work here.