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Saturday, September 27, 2008

collecting chairs


Next Farm Day will be Farm Wedding Day, when Lesley and Brian get married late summer 2009 here at the farm, yay!

Lesley is a designer, and when she and Brian started discussing the outdoor orchard 'room' being set up with chairs under a tent, she confessed how much she dislikes those white plastic folding chairs you rent. Their pocked, stained surfaces and flimsy construction got us thinking what else we could do. I agree with her, so I suggested collecting wood chairs via Freecycle. Lesley loved imagining mismatched wooden chairs lined up in rows for the wedding ceremony, then moved to tables for the reception and PAR-TAY.

We already had about 10 wood chairs at the farm we can use. (I'm still kicking myself for not picking this one up from someone's curbside last year. Duh! But I'm not the trash picker in the family, ahem, so I didn't think of it, until someone said, "why didn't you put the chair in your car?" Silent stupor. "The chair's value to me was the photograph, it never occurred to me to take it - the chair that is.") So far through Freecycle we've picked up another 18. (This feels much better than trash picking to me. I don't object to someone else trash picking, as long as I can slither down in the car and be invisible to passers-by.) Only about another 125 to go! I'm not sure the barn will hold that many though. And my goodness, are some of them HEAVY.

I asked Don how hard it would be to spray paint them all white, and he looked at me like I was possessed. I'm glad, because I think all those eclectic chairs as they are will be homey. Oh, and they'll be covered with tarps until The Day - we don't want no bat poo on dem chairs.

43 comments:

Gwen Buchanan said...

I love this idea so much, Ruth.. can't wait for the photographs... free chairs and a great place to store them ... perfect.. and the eclectic combination of them all. a designers dream this won't be forgotten too soon..

Funny about the "Are you Possessed" look from Don... that made me laugh out loud!!!!

Sharon said...

What a great idea. And pat Don on the back for saving them from homogeny! I'm with Gwen and can't wait to see the photos. :)

Loring Wirbel said...

Another vote for Don, protecting yourself from your own best intentions! Paint them white? Gack!

Ruth said...

Erm . . . I meant to write that Lesley asked Don about painting the chairs white. . .

Too late? You don't believe me?

Hey, it was just a question! Did I say I wanted to paint them white? Did I say I thought they'd look good painted white?

Ohhh nooooohh! I'm already the mother-of-the-bride-W I T C H (with a "B")!!

laura said...

I totally agree with Leslie--those chairs are ersatz, just tacky! And they're so provisional--metaphorically inappropriate for a wedding! Freecycle's a great idea; perhaps you can enlist friends and neighbors to trashpick for you too!! Unpainted sounds more chic to me: elegant dilapidation.
So sad about Paul Newman--such a beautiful man, and so many great movies in which he played characters so painfully human that they're hard to watch! Cool Hand Luke and The Verdict leap to mind.

Ruth said...

Oh Laura I like how you think! That they are provisional is a great insight, and yes completely inappropriate for a wedding.

I admire Paul Newman too, as an actor, and for how he donated profits from Newmans Own products, and how he followed his daughter's lead into natural, organic foods.

Ruth said...

(I don't like how I sounded snooty in my comment about 'completely inappropriate for a wedding.' The way Laura said it was much better. I should have left it thus. If someone else rents white chairs for their weddding I won't be sniggering into my hanky.)

laura said...

Not snooty. All the white fussiness surrounding weddings does seem a little too pre-postmodern! ;-)

André Lemay said...

Well I'm back, I love all the pictures that you published while I was away. I really the floer the morning glory.

Amy - "Twelve Acres" said...

I think it's a great idea! But what will you do with them all afterward? You could send one home with each guest as a party favor I 'spose! Dontcha just love Freecycle?

Ginnie said...

OMG, Ruth! This is too fun and exciting. I can just see that barn being loaded up with chairs. What a brilliant idea. YAY!

Drowsey Monkey said...

lol@bat poo.

Yes, I think Don's right too ... altho I wouldn't look at you like you're possessed ... unless you asked me to paint them all.

Heather said...

Great idea. But (tiny question) what are you going to do with the chairs after the wedding? Put them up on Freecycle again? For my wedding party, we got metal folding chairs from the town hall office. They let you borrow 'em for free. Totally agree about lame white chairs. I would be able to suggest a great bluegrass band for the wedding, but unfortunately, the leader of the band that played at my party died unexpectedly of a stroke. I was quite devastated to hear it, because I really loved that band. I'm sure Leslie will find some excellent music, though.

'JoAnn's-D-Eyes'NL said...

Heh Ruth,
I Never hearded of this kind of day before Though I am not American thats why I quess...
Hmmm :"farm day"...
... and the chairs? haha!yeh Why not buying thise chairs? Old chairs are looking good ( sometimes even better than new designs) As long as you have a car and a bif Trunk hhh? what did you buy?

see my boattrip (sunset) fromlast weekend: www.joannwalraven.blogspot.com

Greetings JoAnn's D Eyes /Holland

Rauf said...

Ruth, much discussion and preparation for the wedding is a silly thing. Good chairs broken chairs or painted chairs is secondary. the invitees are the people who love the young couple would bless them even if there are no chairs and have to sit on the floor and have just a cup of tea or plain water.
they'll come even if there is rain or a storm or hurricane. a wedding should not be made a show piece or an exhibition of wealth or style. Its only love that matters and nothing else.

shicat said...

A barn wedding with recycled chairs, what could be better. Ruth I must confess,I have been composing a post in my head about all of my trash picked, flea mkt. finds. They fill my house. I have been an alley picker since I was born. My girl friends reluctantly come along when I make a find. I can tell they are worried about being seen. I on the other hand am in my glory.By the way, the chair you passed on is a pressed back circa 1920's ish,valued at around fifty dollars. Oh, I should add how uncomfortable my husband was with my finds,until he saw how well they cleaned up and how great they looked. Enjoy this special time with your family, I hope it passes slowly so that you may savor it.

Anet said...

I'll keep my eye out for some chairs for you. It sounds just charming and wonderful! :)

Sandy said...

This is a great idea. I have about five oak chairs from an old dining room set, that are sitting outside in my screen gazebo..wish I could pass them on easily...

This will be so fun following along. Since I wasn't the "planner" at any of the weddings we had here, I thought they were beautiful but sure wish I could have had more input.

I like the idea of ecletic personally...and probably would have done more along those lines.

Ruth said...

Hi, André! Long time no see! Thank you, I'm glad you're back, and I look forward to seeing your pictures again, always showing the beauty of nature.

Ruth said...

Amy, we will probably Freecycle them back into the community. Hopefully someone will need good solid chairs that have been blessed with love!

Ruth said...

Boots, I don't know how far we'll get! It's a lot of fun, and this kind of project is right up my alley. It gives me something to focus on while loving Lesley and Brian in the months ahead.

Ruth said...

Haha, Drowsey, I actually wondered if I was possessed after I asked the question, thinking about all those legs and supports and curves and angles. Yikes!

Ruth said...

Heather, I told Amy just now that we will probably give them away or Freecycle them to anyone who wants them. It might take a while.

It is sad about the leader of your bluegrass band. Your outdoor wedding party was the best, so down home and full of nice people. The band playing around the fire was the coolest. I'm so sorry about his early and shocking death.

Ruth said...

JoAnn, hi! I am not surprised you haven't heard of Farm Day, it is not a national event, it's not even a town event, it's very local - just at our farm! We have my family come every August for a big day of talking, playing and relaxing. We love having people come enjoy this place.

Sunsets on the water are the best place to appreciate them, as you see the reflections as well, so soothing.

Ruth said...

rauf, I agree with you completely. Our wedding had little fanfare, I think we spent around $500 total and I forgot to put makeup on. I cringe when I hear what people put into weddings, for one day, to impress.

Ah, this wedding is a bit different because it will be welcoming friends and family into our living room, an outdoor one. We want to make them comfortable, and feel that they are being loved as well as loving Lesley and Brian. My only wish is that everyone who comes that day will feel our love. And it's so much fun, rauf, to make these preparations. If anything falls apart, goes 'wrong' or unfolds in unforeseen ways, I trust that I will accept it, because I know the event is a symbol only, just a day to celebrate the beginning of a life together. I'm sorry, rauf, but you're going to probably have to witness a few more silly discussions and preparations here.

Ruth said...

Cathy, oh! You know the provenance of that lovely chair. The adventure of finding recycled junk and bringing it into good use and beauty is a skill and a gift. My grandma was an artist who picked up junk pieces and painted and spruced them up. I still have one of her cabinets. I wish I knew something about the people who had it before her, who built it, etc. Just touching something old is a treat.

Ruth said...

Oh Anet! That's terrific, thank you so much. It's fun to watch for them, I think. If you find some, we'll hop in Don's truck and come over to Lansing. I would love to meet you in person, so I hope you find some. :)

Ruth said...

Auntie Sandy, that's actually another great idea: borrow! Thank you for that lovely thought, how kind and generous of you.

rauf's comment got me wondering about the fuss and preparations for a wedding, and I'm glad I had a chance to reflect on how enjoyable it is when it's out of love and not to impress. My goal is that people will come and not even think about what they see, that it will just feel comfortable, that they won't want to leave, that whatever they are wearing they are beautiful, no more or less beautiful than the bride and groom. I think there will be a lot of bare feet.

Rauf said...

Ruth, those who really love Lesley and Brian would not demand any comforts would never complain. Yes the preperations are fun.
You will be amazed to see the money spent on weddings here in India Ruth and there is so much of wastage. The number of guests attend the wedding is the index of the their presteige. i have seen pictures of weddings conducted in Stadium and the Groom landing in a helicopter. the wedding ceremony goes on for nearly a week here.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Just dropped back in and had a good read through the comments.. very thoughtful...I enjoyed them...

freefalling said...

Very cool idea.
Personally, I think the "white" idea is a good one!
Couldn't ya just get one of them electric sprayers?

Ruth said...

rauf, nearby we have a county named Oakland that has the highest per capita income in the country, I think. My sister Nancy knew a wedding planner who talked about some weddings in Oakland County. There were entire tables made of chocolate, with a chocolate fountain. There were tents the size of football fields. Maybe some were Indians, rauf. I know that we have plenty of serious wedding extravaganzas of all ethnicities. I've heard about the week-long weddings in India. The bride, groom and parents must need a month's vacation after!

Ruth said...

Gwen, I find it so interesting to see where a post's comments will take us, bringing together ideas, memories and reflections.

Ruth said...

Hey, Letitia! Hahaha, oh thank you m'dear. Yeah, we have one of those. But imagine all those nooks and crannies of a hundred chairs. Would Vince wanna do that, even if you offered him canned peaches?

Bob Johnson said...

NOOOOOO don't paint the chairs, what a great idea, I learned of Freecycle from Don's blog and joined the one here in town, great deals.

Ruth said...

Oh yay, Bob! You'll have to let Don know what you've gotten or given away through Freecycle!

So, one more vote against painting, ok!

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't part with those "yet to be found" chairs so quickly.

Don't you have a son, Peter?
I know that traditionally the brides parents host the wedding, but with FARM DAY being such a grand tradition (and traditions evolving), who knows. There might be another wedding someday, his or perhaps one of the many neices, nephews, cousins......

BTW, I love Leslie & Brian's engagement story. Thanks for sharing. I just got back.
Sam

lesleyanne said...

they are PERFECT!!!! i love that they're all different color woods, even with different color cushions! i thought about spraying them white as well, but i think they will be so much more farmy as they are!

that chair is so beautiful, but at least you got a beautiful photo out of it! :)

i can't wait to see all of the chairs come together! thank you again for doing this, you and papa are amazing.

lesleyanne said...

omg, i didn't even THINK about what to do with the chairs after the wedding!!! hahaha, favors for the guests, hahahaha. that'll make the wedding day memorable!

Anonymous said...

You'll definately have to play "musical chairs"

Ruth said...

Hi Sam! Welcome back. In the back of my mind I was thinking about that: what if Peter wants to get married at the farm someday?

Ruth said...

Wesrey, yes, Amy's idea was cute and funny! Party favors! But maybe we should hold on to them, as Sam suggests.

It's a fun adventure for Papa and me to collect the chairs, gives us something to do.

Ruth said...

Anon., ooooh, good idea!