alskuefhaih
asoiefh

Saturday, June 20, 2009

a stop on the Silk Road

-
-
This isn't another ode to turquoise - but it could be.

You know those guys who threaded along the Silk Route with tin pots and trinkets clanging from their shoulders - from Chang'an to the Caspian Sea? I'm pretty sure Don was one of them in a former life. Lucky us we got to stay overnight in a caravansaray near Izmir, Turkey - one of the lodges for travelers on the Silk Road. I must say we felt very much at home there with the simple, modest furnishings, and was it ever something to look out our room's window like looking out a horizontal well through four feet of stone. As for me, maybe I trekked with Gurdjieff in a former life while he offered repairs of small machinery in the tiny villages of those mountain passes through the Ural Mountains. I had to get all my hyper-self-examination from someplace. Oh, and have you been to one of Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Project concerts? I love how he promotes budding young artists from the U.S. and Asia in order to connect the world's neighborhoods through the arts.

Even before I met Don, back in the mid-1970s when he worked the night shift, he went yardsale-ing with his mom on Fridays. There are still little affectionate grudges over who got to what treasure first. "See that Victorian rocker [in Mom's family room]? I spied it first across a table, but Mom nabbed it before I could get to it."

He has since proven again and again that he has an eye for the treasure in the junk. I have slid down out of view in the passenger seat when he stopped the car to curb pick through other people's cast-offs. At home, after the humiliation subsides, I am always pleased with his "purchases."

So a couple of Saturdays ago when I was planting flowers and mentally preparing the yard for the upcoming wedding here at the farm, Don announced he was leaving his veggie beds for a break and heading into town where he'd seen yard sale signs the day before. I asked him to look out for vessels for flowers to be placed among seating arrangements where people will visit during appetizers and the reception on Farm Wedding Day.

He returned with what you see in the three tiered photos upper left, and more. All of it - in toto - cost $5. The turquoise vintage metal chair alone goes for $20-40 on eBay.

So picture the canning jars and containers filled with sunflowers on long reception tables under the tent and on makeshift hay bale tables between old wooden chairs around the yard for wedding guests to relax and enjoy.





Years ago I found this chap on the right at an antique store, who now carries his load on our guest room wall. I can definitely see a resemblance to Don.













And this is my mountain trekking partner in a former life, G.I. Gurdjieff



-
-

61 comments:

Susan said...

Suh-weet haul! Way to go, Don, you're a man after my own heart! You wouldn't believe some of the stuff people put out with their trash. I've found original oil paintings, whole kitchen playsets for the grands, an oak tray with inlaid tiles, Razr scooters, perfectly good bicycles, trundle bed frame, four matching kitchen chairs. The list goes on and on.

In Dublin, OH, a snooty little suburb of Columbus, they actually passed an ordinance that you could be arrested for trash-picking. People put out such great stuff there that there were folks from other states coming to get stuff for flea markets!

Tell Don that I wouldn't scrunch down in the car seat. I'd be out there fighting him for the find! LOL

J.G. said...

He's got the eye, all right! Promise you'll show us all how it comes together for the wedding. I bet it will be lovely.

Around here it is hit or miss--some of what passes for junk really is JUNK--but that doesn't mean I'm not slowing down as I drive by. You never know.

Barry said...

Good for Don! Those are great finds, each with character.

Anet said...

The mother load!
I paid $4 for one blue jar a few weeks ago!
The jars filled with sunflowers are going to be breath taking!

I come from a long line of thrift store shoppers/yard salers/flea marketers:)

*jean* said...

ah gotta love a man that appreciates the finer things in life....lucky you

Don said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Don said...

I would definitely have a load like that on my back if I were trekking through the silk route. I wonder what those pots were used for?

I love the guy's pipe.

The rocker my mom ended up with was actually already in my "pile" O' goods to purchase and she walked up to the check out table and bought it. "Oh, I didn't know that was YOUR pile." All in good fun. (she really didn't know, but it is a lot of fun to keep the 35-year-old tease going.

Moannie said...

Sadly, yard sales are not the thing here in the UK, but Car Boot Sales are and here in the Bay there is one every Sunday that I visit [when I remember]. Last time I bought a large box of good old fashioned Kilner Jars. I love the idea of using old vessels for plants and will be back to see pictures of the wedding, can't wait, it will be spectacular.
Great chairs too.

CottageGirl said...

I can think of nothing as relaxing as wandering through odds and ends at my leisure looking for hidden treasures! Don has the right idea!

I know that your mind must be spinning a bit, planning every detail for your daughter's special day. It will be so wonderful and mean so much to her because of all of your special touches!

Loring Wirbel said...

You know about Route 125 in Tennessee and Kentucky, "The World's Longest Yard Sale," right? There's your Silk Road. But I don't think Gurdjieff ever spoke in a drawl.

Carol is obsessed with yard sales. Every now and then there is an ancient treasure, but usually it's:

"Look at the price I paid for this veeblefetzer!"
"But we have three veeblefetzers in the garage."
"Ah, but this one is gold-flaked."

Jane said...

I just love your blog. It's beautiful. I can't wait to see photos of the wedding!!! What flowers are you planting for it pray??

shicat said...

Hi Ruth, This is going to be some wedding.What a deal on the flower containers. The gross-o dollar store would have cost you more and with none of the charm.

Hopefully you will share some wedding pictures.It sounds like it's going to be some affair.Wonderful.

amuse me said...

I love the chair in the last photo. The imagination runs wild with how to repaint it, or just put a pot of flowers on it in a garden. :) M

Lover of Life said...

I can see a beautiful, happy event in the making!

PurestGreen said...

How I love those photos. That is one talented man - he could do all my shopping if he likes. I am in love with the colours you capture. Sounds like you're having a great time organizing for the special day. Can't wait for the photos!

Arti said...

What great finds! Your pics are beautiful too... love those jars. Yes, it's always gratifying searching for bargains in flea markets and of course, used book sales! (I went back again today and hauled back some more treasures!)

As for Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Project, I haven't been to the concert but I have the CD. It's a wonderful experience just listening to it. Thanks for a post that stirs the imagination of the exotic!

Oliag said...

Wonderful photographs Ruth! The colors do make a nice collage...my favorite is of the single chair...beautiful...Love the old photos too...great finds!

I love flea markets, thrift stores, antique stores, yard sales...etc, etc...so it's a good thing Mr O could care less about them or my house would be more full of stuff than it is:)...I've got my eye on that nice looking turquoise tin Don found...it looks like a tin from the pic...

I would love to go to Any Yo-Yo Ma concert...he is so interested in all types of music it seems...

Moi said...

ha!
Thank you Don for aiding Ruth with such a charming post...... :)
I loved the whole description of farm wedding you picture of farm wedding you created in my head, Ruth. I have often wondered that when we die, can we get a choice to go to heaven/hell or a farm!!!! When all is said and done,I sure would love to live on a farm :)

ds said...

Oh, those jars, that chair!Sunflowers in the jars will be so fresh & summery--an idyllic wedding, to be sure, and it will look effortless, though we all know it is not...
Like Arti, I have not seen the Silk Road Ensemble, but I do own and enjoy the CD (but I love everything Yo-Yo Ma touches; there is musical magic in those fingers).

California Girl said...

$20-$40 for the metal chair. wow.

shoreacres said...

Around the marinas we call it dumpster diving. My best haul ever was the wooden surround for an opening hatch on a Cheoy Lee sailboat. I pulled it out of the dumpster, cleaned it up, varnished it and sold it on ebay to a guy in - Michigan!

Of course, dumpster diving at marinas provides a glimpse into the seamy side of life, too. What WAS that man's elegant charcoal pinstripe suit with firecracker red lipstick on the lapel doing in a dumpster? Next to the black leather Gucci handbag... With the drug counselor's business card inside... and the stiletto heel broken from the pair of raspberry evening sandals under the suit..?

Every single detail was true. Sometimes you just get lucky. I sold the Gucci bag, too, after figuring out who it belonged to and discovering she'd gone back to Austria ;-)

shoreacres said...

Went to your Gurdjieff link and have been digging and digging, trying to figure out why his teaching sounded so familiar. Finally found it at Rauf's - "It's time to wake up". Is Gurdjieff his influence for that?

Ruth said...

Ha, Susie Q! I can see the two of you pushing and shoving and starting a scene so the police come, and I would slowly drive the car away, invisibly crouched down in my seat. I would leave you two to fend for yourselves. (But I'd come back for the loot later.)

But I really don't believe in that ordinance I suppose. You would be arrested for disorderly conduct, not for trash picking. Because I really do like getting the stuff.

:|

Don has gotten several little bikes too. He puts them in the barn for the kids on Farm Day. Maybe one day we'll have grandkids of our own. Sigh.

Ruth said...

J.G. - for a really serious someone, there will be good and bad. I think I got tired of the bad, the looking. But I used to love the adventure of it. Now I just don't have the drive or the will, because we don't need much now.

I will show you pictures of the place for sure of the day - whether from my own camera or the photographer's.

Ruth said...

Barry, I've always thought finding used things is more of an adventure, and the reward is greater.

Ruth said...

Anet, I know, it was such a deal. And finding deals at yard sales means more craft projects for people like you!

Ruth said...

Don, it reminds me of the auction story between your sister Pam and me - I didn't know she was also bidding on the china set! I still feel bad about that, sort of.

Ruth said...

Moannie, oh, I looked them up and Kllner jars are like our Mason jars I see. You'll have to wait about 6 weeks for the wedding pics, but I will definitely share.

Ruth said...

Thank you, CottageGirl. Don and I are having a lot of fun. You know how it is, you focus on your home, like when you're going to put it on the market, and it starts to blossom. Having Lesley be a designer makes it even more special, because she has excellent taste, and we love her ideas!

Ruth said...

No, Loring, I do not know about the Kentucky Silk Road, but I am not surprised to find out about something you know that I don't, ha. I do think you might be wrong about Gurdjieff and a Southern drawl though. I think he might pick up the local vernacular.

I think Carol and Don must have been twins in a previous life too. Is she good at selling veeblefetzers to others?

Ruth said...

Hi, Jane, welcome! Did you want more coffee? (Or was it tea?)

We are primarily planting sunflowers. Correction: DON planted sunflowers. At least a thousand of them. They will be the backdrop for the ceremony too. Since we will have rights to the photographer's photos, I will share a view of all the important things after the big day. You'll have to wait about 6 weeks.

Ruth said...

Oh, but I planted different flowers around the house: too many to name. While they aren't for the wedding, they will blend and of course we are doing a little more than we normally would.

Ruth said...

Cathy! I really dislike those cheap, thin glass vases, but I would still use one if I had one.

We have now also obtained four boxfuls of discarded clear glass vessels from a lady who sorts the clear glass at a local recycling center, through Freecycle. There are some gorgeous pieces in there. She just couldn't bear to recycle them through the grinder, but recycled them through us. Luckily! There are such interesting shapes and styles.

Ruth said...

Hi, Marion, I don't think it will get painted. I like distressed things as they are.

Ruth said...

I hope so, L o L.

Ruth said...

PurestGreen, if you knew Don, you would know how remarkable it is. He declares he has no taste (and sometimes he doesn't, poor thing), but he always always always - well 99% always - knows what I will like.

Ruth said...

Arti, you have done SO well this season finding books. Paying $1 a book puts the $25 for a new hardback in perspective, doesn't it?

I do love Yo-Yo Ma - both his musical art and his persona. He is funny, witty, and seems genuinely nice. I hope you can go to one of these concerts, Don and I enjoyed it immensely.

Ruth said...

Thank you, Oliag - and good eye, I love that tin too. I can see it sitting with a potted flowering plant in it, with the lid on the side.

Ahh, we all make different kinds of music, yes? Such joy in the world.

Ruth said...

I love that, Moi!

I think there is a little farm in everyone.

Ruth said...

I agree, DS, Ma is gifted in ways beyond music. He has insight into Life.

I will enjoy sharing images and stories from the wedding in a little over a month with all of you.

Ruth said...

CG, I know.

Ruth said...

Holy cow, Linda! How many short fictions could be written from those details!

Ruth said...

Oh, Linda, about Gurdjieff and rauf. How fascinating to link the two. I think I have done so in my mind once or twice, subconsciously.

rauf would say he does not follow anyone - philosopher or spiritual leader. He thinks for himself, but he also learns from others. His Daylight Again blog title is from the Crosby Stills Nash & Young album of the same name.

I was into Gurdjieff for a time during an intense three year spiritual path. My poetry mentor Diane Wakoski introduced me to him and gave me a book about him titled Undiscovered Country by Kathryn Hulme. I came to find him just too strange and outlandish, but I still think of his practice to stop every hour and ask yourself, How am I, What do I feel now?

Bob Johnson said...

Wow, I love that chair, great finds. We used to go yard sailing all the time, never did find real cool stuff..like that chair,lol

ps don't paint it what ever you do.

Peter said...

I dream of taking the silk road one day (have some vague plans), but I'm not Don, so maybe I can travel without a lorry to bring things back home!

The Silk Road Project is great!!

Loring Wirbel said...

Ruth, heavens no, Carol has to convince others that something from a garage sale doesn't have cooties. Me, I like second-hand just fine, Abby won't even take anything shrink-wrapped that's been out on someone's lawn.

Ruth said...

No worries, Bob, me and a paint brush rarely meet, especially in front of an old chair like this.

I do have to pick up a brush soon to spruce up a couple of things around here before our wedding - unless my sister gets her first (hurry up, Nancy!). I'm glad your daughter's wedding went off so well!

Ruth said...

Peter - we dreamt of it too, even wanted to live in Central Asia. Don has always wanted to take the trans-Siberian railroad too.

Did you see a concert in Paris?

Ruth said...

Loring, Peter went through that too, nothing used. But Wesrey, now she's another story altogether. But now she is the queen of designer shoppers. What happened??

VioletSky said...

I have always wanted to go on that yard sale that Loring mentions.

Old chairs make great lawn sculptures.

mystic rose said...

Turkey(and Persia) was the cross roads between East and West, so many centuries ago, right? That must have been an awesome trip.

hmmm... it takes a good eye to see the beauty that can be restored in these things, I think :). I sadly dont have it.

I love that picture of the man carrying all those vessels on his back.

Peter said...

To answer your suestion: Yes I did, a Georgian group in a church ... and of course mini-concerts in every street corner! :-)

Deslilas said...

Very fine Dutch "antiquités". Petula Clark's male dancers were the best !

dutchbaby said...

I can picture it all! With Don's eye and your sense of style, it will be nothing short of glorious!

lesleyanne said...

WOW!!!! i'm so glad i got to see photos of the goodies that papa found! i'm so excited, everything is going to be so absolutely gorgeous for our wedding day!!

i'm going to have to teach Brian to be a thrifty yard saler...maybe when we move to the suburbs. although he's not much of a shopper. i'm lucky if i can keep him out for 30 minutes! :)

Ruth said...

Sanna, and I had never heard of it! But when I read it to Don, he had (of course). We have a Route 66 in Michigan, not the famous cross country one, this one goes up north to our cottage. And there is a stretch of it that is like what the Kentucky Silk Road sounds like. Some of it is pretty junky, but some pulls us in once in a blue moon.

Ruth said...

Mystic, maybe you don't have the knack of zipping through a store with piles of goods, but I bet you know what you like when you see it. Sometimes the piles are overwhelming.

I think you have made your home a lovely, tranquil place for your family.

I love that picture too. My great grandparents trekked in the Himalayas early in the 20th c.

Ruth said...

Peter, of course, and always surprises in Paris. It never ends.

Ruth said...

Daniel, I think she enjoyed them, don't you? She seemed quite amused. The males were much more intriguing than the females (isn't that the way of animals?).

Ruth said...

Thank you, Dutchbaby, and don't forget Lesley's designer eye. She is behind it all. Don and I were talking last night that the event will be rustic and simple. I hope the farm will speak for itself. I don't want to make it something it isn't!

Ruth said...

Wesrey! I'm glad you like them!

Well then, about Brian, it doesn't matter if he is thrifty or not - if he doesn't shop at all!

:D