Collecting Vintage Books

I've collected a number of old books over the years, but I don't know the history of them all.  I'm grateful to know about this one!  A precious possession is pictured here, my grandmother's book of French poetry, given to her many years ago by an aunt and passed down to my mother in 1936; mom was a high school French teacher, and I'm sure she used this book frequently.  I love having these old inscriptions.  The book itself was printed in 1880.


That large torn volume in the center here was my father's German dictionary.  He was a science major in college and became a bacteriologist.  I'm quite sure he used this dictionary in college.  (Did you know that German was used almost as much as Latin in the sciences?)  The thinner books are various language and grammar texts that I found in an antique store.  The two books to the right of the dictionary are theological books from my father's collection.  That's grandma's French poetry book on the far right.  (Aren't the bookends cute?  They're by Mary Engelbreit.)  Grandma did the tatting on the dresser scarf.  I have a few other handmade pieces that she did, including a baby blanket for my son that she knitted in 1972.  (I miss her!)

I'm always intrigued by old children's books.  These represent part of my collection of St. Nicholas Magazine for Children.  The red bound volume is a collection of the magazine's articles from 1886.  The two thinner magazines are from 1876.  I have a lot more of these.  I use the ones in the worst condition as ephemera in my mixed media art.  The illustrations and ads are just wonderful.  The content of these magazines is extraordinary.  While there are stories and poems for very young children, the reading level is quite high. 

More old schoolbooks.  I bought these from various antique stores.  I am especially fond of the Camp Fire Girls books.  I was a Camp Fire Girl back in the '50's and am still nostalgic
about those good times!  The old history book second from left is from a seventh grade boy who has his name, Dan W. Whitford, written in various places.  The book was published in 1920.  I wonder whatever happened to him...


The gardening and home decorating books in this photo belonged to my mother.  I display them with more of my father's theological books.
I do my best to make almost every room in our house a library!  I display my collections in the dining room hutch (I keep my dishes in a cupboard!), on dressers, and in a secretary in the living room as well as on "regular" bookcases.  I'll be adding more book collecting posts later.  Stay tuned!

Visiting, Shopping, Delighting

We love the North Carolina mountains almost as much as we love our farm.  Even the shortest drives are an adventure; this last visit took us to a beautiful pottery shop just outside of Brevard.  The two-lane highway curves up the mountains where the air smells almost metallic with rocks and streams. 

This is Mud Dabbers.  There are other pottery studios and shops along this road, but this one was so cozily lit and welcoming on a gray, overcast day that it attracted us right away.  Housed in a former general store/ gas station from the 1920's, Mud Dabbers represents the work of 28 talented artists.  The floors and counter are original.  There is a framed photo of the store as it was back all those years ago; the current owners are proud of the building's past.

I saw so much that I wanted to buy!  I settled on these three pieces:

The larger bowl at the top caught my attention when I first entered the shop.  I love its textured handles and variegated colors.  The smaller bowl came with a recipe.
Here it is, for Emmy's Oven Eggs:
Place dish in cold oven with a tablespoon of butter.  (Pottery like this can't stand up to sudden temperature changes!)  Turn on oven to 350 degrees.   When the butter is melted, remove the dish, and crack one or two  eggs into it.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper, bread crumbs, and grated cheese.  Add an optional teaspoon of heavy cream. Bake for around 10 minutes.
Now that the baby chicks are four months old and have started laying eggs, I'll have a nice supply of fresh "hen fruit."
Oh, sure, I could any other bowl, but this one is special.  I always use "the good stuff."  Every day is a special occasion.
The little butter tray was a pleasant afterthought. 
We'll be going back to this area in a few months.  And one of the first places I'll go is Mud Dabbers!  I've already decided on a fabulous platter that I simply can't do without.
Their website is worth seeing.

Sweet Lucy

  This is as close to a chicken smile as I could get!  How I love this girl!  Lucy is one of the older hens; she's probably about 6 years old.  A real sweetie.  

I suppose if Lucy could talk, she'd say that she's doing just fine after the recent loss of her two rooster brothers.  

And so am I! 

A Goodbye to a Dear Friend

My dear rooster Fred Mertz died this morning.  If you are a regular reader, you already know that Ricky Ricardo passed away a few weeks ago; he was nine years old, and Fred was seven.  Fred had been in declining health since Ricky's death.  He had lost the full use of his legs, struggled to walk, and sometimes just collapsed. 

It's never easy losing a beloved critter.  The Lord takes good care of me, though, and I know I'll see Fred again.  I have this heart image of my old buddy being welcomed in heaven, not just with open arms but with open wings.  (I have a bunch of chickens up there!)

My young rooster Ernest T. Bass has some mighty big rooster shoes to fill, but I know he's up to the task.

Freddy dear, it's been quite a journey.  I thank you for your great kindness and gentleness.  You've added so much to my life. 

A Rooster in the Bunch

The baby chicks are pretty well grown by now; they'll be laying eggs in the next couple of months.  Now I know that there will be more baby chicks, though, because one of the girls is actually a rooster! 


Here is Ernest T. Bass, formerly Clarabelle Morrison.  I think Ernest T. is absolutely magnificent.  Those colors you see in these photos are real.  I've suspected this for a little while now.  I've observed some nifty rooster behaviors: putting out a wing and pushing a hen or two to another place in the yard, watching everything very closely, and over the last couple of days practicing his crow (three syllables in a low octave).  This morning my senior rooster Fred Mertz sounded his usual "time to get up" song, and Ernest T. answered him back.

Hooray again!  And happy "cockadoodle doo" to me!

Here's a fun clip from The Andy Griffith Show featuring the real Ernest T. Bass.  Great classic tv!

History Lessons

Here's a little series of photos from my trip to North Carolina's beautiful, historic Outer Banks, one of my favorite places on earth. 

First, here's Island Farm, a living history farm that portrays daily life around 1847.  I am a believer in historical interpretation as long as it's as real as possible; Tilden's  Interpreting Our Heritage says it this way:  " Interpretation is a growth whose effectiveness depends upon a regular nourishment by well-directed and discriminating research.  There is no substitute or it, and no historic preservation should be attempted without (it)."  Yes, this is a lovely restoration.  I know it's not exact, but the hard facts like slavery and hard work aren't ignored.  There's local color.  There's atmosphere.  There's a devotion to this place in spite of the hardships the family faced all those years ago.   I was encouraged by one of the interpreters to sit on the beds, try out the chairs.   I declined but was charmed by the freedom to do so.   One almost expects a resident to be seated in one of the rooms or to be supervising the workers. 

A welcoming little corner of the porch.  Those lovely hydrangeas grow by the bush-full on the property.


                                        A view of the front porch --- and a beautiful quilt.

This magnificent ox is Charlie.  He pulls that wagon on popular little farm tours.

                     Visitors are treated to this view when they exit the visitor center.

        Even on the hottest of days, work on the farm continues; the interpreters all wear        historically accurate clothes.  This gardening lady wore a long cotton dress, white stockings, and heavy black shoes.  I loved the hat.  I wouldn't have loved gardening this way.

                                       A small section of the garden.  Simple and beautiful.

                               It's wash day, here done with lye soap  and a washboard. 

    The house is light and airy this time of year.  There are no window screens; there was no such thing back then, but the summer air was delightful on the day of my visit.
                                                             You may enjoy this link:
                                                                       The Island Farm

Now to Cape Hatteras and one of my favorite lighthouses.  Its history is fascinating and very extensively detailed, so I won't cover it here.  It's impressive. 

A very interesting side note about this lighthouse --- it was moved from its original location where it was just too vulnerable to the ocean.  Here's a link to the story:

                                                           Moving the Lighthouse


A little collection of my Outer Banks books with a Great Lakes reader in the mix.  I bought that "Old Salt" hand-carved figurine in Petoskey, Michigan, about 45 years ago.  Doesn't he look great with them?  Every now and then I'm inspired to dig into these books again.  That time has come; history awaits.

Chicken Antics

Some fun photos of the babies.  They'll be three months old the 19th of this month.  Big girls.  Sweet girls. And so much fun to watch!

Jennifer Morrison, also known as Little Round Jenny, is on the left.  That's Aunt Bea doing the lovely ballet step on the right.  Jenny is an araucana like her sister, Mrs. Mendelbreit.
Here's Clarabelle Morrison, Clara for short.  She's amazing.  She's the biggest of the bunch, and we don't know what breed she is.  Clara was with the araucanas when I bought her, but I know she's not that breed.  The blue feathers in this photo are actually deep iridescent green in real life.  The red ones are cinnamon brown with burgundy highlights. 

Clara again, this time with Daphne.  (Or is that Skippy?  Aunt Bea?  The leghorns all look alike.  I just pick one of the names when I need to use one.) 

My older chickens are doing fine.  Thelma Lou even hangs out with the babies in the evening before she beds down in her hut, and Fred and Lucy are sleeping in one of the pine trees again.  I wonder if they still miss Ricky since his passing - it's been almost three weeks.  Fred's turned out to be a good leader, though.   All is well with my precious, quirky chickens.