Thursday, December 12, 2013

Needful Things

Below is the old wooden door that LC and I found when we were living in Cody.
I think that it used to be an old trailer door.
It is very heavy, is surrounded and held together by iron, some of the wood is rotten, and it is decorated with a couple of old reflectors.
I love this thing, and because I love this thing we dragged it with us when we moved to Idaho.
My original thought was to make a coffee table top out of it, and maybe that will still happen, but at this point I am not sure that I want to take up so much room in the living room.
LC wants to take it apart and insert all new wood into it.
I won't let him at this stage because I like it so much the way it is.
Until inspiration arrives and we figure out where this thing will go and what it will be, it leans up against the wood storage room door.............
There is a 20 acre piece of property close to where we live, and over the years the owner of that property has collected piles and piles of.........stuff.........some would call it junk but LC and I don't.
The owner has had this stuff-junk-treasure site for a long time, is eager to get some of it cleared out, and has therefore told LC that he is welcome to take anything and everything that he can make use of.
There are old doors, metal, cinder blocks, piles and piles of old lumber that is weathered by not too badly because we live in a high desert plains environment, old tools, so much more.
These bricks were located in that place.
And a couple of months ago we eagerly collected them.
They are currently stacked against a storage building on our property, in anticipation of being used as the floor for an outdoor patio.
They are beautifully weathered and were beautifully free, and you simply can't mess with either of those qualities.............
My girl.
I miss her..............
My Mountain Boy and I have dragged this thing all over the country.
Rusted metal and ridiculously heavy, this old box has traveled from Tennessee to Alaska to Wyoming to Tennessee to Wyoming to Idaho.
All in the span of under three years.
My youngest son Chris found it at the bottom of a thigh deep river when he was about 12 years old.
I watched bemused and mystified as Chris struggled to retrieve it from the river bottom and then struggled with the weight of it as he waded 100 yards back to where I was standing.
I watched as my young son struggled just so he could give this to me as a gift.
It was a "treasure chest" and he was proud as hell of it.
It is one of my very favorite possessions and truly IS a treasure chest.
At least to me it is.............

Although our home improvements have slowed down a good deal recently, LC and I continue to do things to the house to improve and update both its appearance and functionality.
We now officially need crown molding in every room and hallway in the house with the exception of the laundry room.
There is not one thing in this living room that was bought new.
Some things were bought in Tennessee, some in Alaska, some in Wyoming and some here in Idaho.
Some things were even free (including things we made, and things I found that had been thrown away and which I unselfconsciously retrieved )...........
Looking from the living room into the kitchen.
Last year we did not decorate for the holidays and did not celebrate Christmas.
I did something this year that forced me to dig out some things.
A few people have left town and headed to points south for the winter, but there are still a good number of residents who will be seeing out the cold along with us.
I invited everyone to the house for a Christmas potluck dinner last weekend.
And so I pulled out some decorations.
Because if I hadn't had a reason I wouldn't have pulled out those decorations, and I think I owe it to LC to try and do normal people things.............
We bought this old set of scales at a storage unit sale just outside of Blackfoot, not long after we moved to Idaho............
I really really love this funky, weird, bird-thing.
Not long after we moved back to Wyoming, an old man down the road from where we were living at the time told us that he had large sections of cut down trees on his property, and would we like to have them.
It was summer at the time, but since we knew that we would need wood for the stove that coming winter (and since we lived in Wyoming where wood was sometimes hard-to-come-by and therefore expensive) we said yes.........absolutely.
When we went to look the wood over we realized that it was good and dry, that there was a LOT of it, and it was in very large chunks.
We made a few trips back and forth to the man's house so that we could get it all, and basically just dumped it all in a corner of the yard when we got it home.
By the time we were done we had a HUGE pile of logs laying haphazardly all over that section of the property and in truth it looked a little overwhelming at the time.
That was a lot of wood to split, to stack, to burn.
Both of us knew at the time that we had a lot of work in store for us, but we had gotten it all for free and were ecstatic about that fact.
A month later, on a very hot summer day, LC began to split the wood.
We laid palettes in a straight row along the length of the outside of the barn, and as LC split the wood he threw the wood in my direction and I stacked it all on the palettes.
After doing this for a couple of hours straight we were both running on auto pilot - split, throw, pick up, stack.
And then I picked up a piece of wood.
As I looked for a place to put it on the pile, I looked down at the piece in my hand.
And then I stopped moving and studied the piece some more.
It looked like a bird.
I could see the beak, the eye, the feathers.
When I showed it to LC he liked it as much as I did, and (as we stood in the heat of summertime Cody) we decided that we liked this piece very much.
Not knowing if we would ever do anything with it, I tossed it to the side and we both refocused back onto the task at hand.
Split.  Throw.  Pick up.  Stack.
Split.  Throw.  Pick up.  Stack.
The bird-wood eventually got tossed into a container in the garage.
Maybe we would do something with it at some point in the future.
Maybe we wouldn't............

A year later we were living in Atomic City, Idaho.
As we tediously opened and unpacked one box after another I eventually came across the bird-wood.
LC found, stained and clear coated a piece of lumber for a base.
I clear coated the bird but did nothing else with it.
The two were screwed together and now we have this amazing bird-thing sitting on an old sewing machine in the living room.
We love it.
A one-of-a-kind piece of art that happened totally by accident.............
An old sewing machine bought in Wyoming, a basket bought in Alaska, an old sprinkler bought in Tennessee, a Santa bought in Tennessee, and the bird sitting on the floor until after the holidays..............
LC tells me that this reminds him of a Norwegian Santa.
I guess it does look Scandinavian, and we keep it out all year long because I think it is a very sweet thing..........
Another of Chris' finds.
He, I and our pup Roxie were walking along the lake shore after a storm in Hendersonville Tennessee.
We had only be in the US for less than a year, and my son was still just a young boy.
He found this old rudder hidden in the soaking wet fallen leaves that were on the ground at the park, picked it up and handed it to me.
One more treasure that reminds me of my boy............
A framed cowboy picture...........
Chris' hood ornament.
From an old Dodge Ram truck that Chris bought with his own money when he was a sophomore in high school.
He loved that huge beast of a truck, and actually stopped dating a girl once who criticized it and called it ugly.
He, and four of his rowdy friends piled into that beast more times than I can remember.
A bunch of redneck boys who never met a fishing hole that they didn't like...........
We bought the table and chairs after we arrived in Idaho.
I bough the green cabinet a few years before meeting LC.
On the way up to Alaska LC left this cabinet at his brother's home in Minnesota because he had wedged it between two kayaks and it was getting battered around.
With not even one square inch of truck space left, he reluctantly left the cabinet at his brothers home because he feared that it would get broken on the trip.
I assumed that I would never see it again.
We retrieved it after making it back down to the Lower 48 and it has moved far too many times since then.
There's no way that it should still be in one piece but it is.
There are so many things that we have that should have been destroyed from being moved too many times, but by sheer luck they are still OK..................
The angel lost her head somewhere between Tennessee and Wyoming.
Thankfully she repaired easily and now sits in the kitchen window............
The kitchen still needs a lot of work.
It will require the most work and the most money, and therefore all that has been done so far is painting the walls and ceiling.
Carpet needs to be replaced with hard wood.  Kitchen cabinets need to be painted and have hardware installed.  Kitchen counters need to be replaced.  Ceiling lights need to be replaced.  The built-in stove needs to be replaced.
Too much time.  Too much money.  Too much energy.
All are in short supply these days and so it will wait............
Another one of those weird home-made things that we have on the wall in the living room.
We picked up the eagle (which is actually a wooden puzzle) for 25c at a thrift store in Bonners Ferry.
LC stained a piece of wood and we glued the eagle to it, and now we love this thing...........
We bought this coat rack in Cody at a yard sale, and when we took it home we oiled the bone dry wood of this hand-made thing.
Once it was oiled, LC and I realized just what an awesome piece this was.
It is very big - about three feet long - and it takes up one entire wall in the laundry room............
On the laundry room wall..............
We are in the processe of transforming one ugly bathroom into a cowboy themed bathroom.
A Kevin Costner picture (from the movie Open Range), a western wreath, a bucking-bull cowboy Santa, a home-made driftwood-antler piece of art, an old cowboy-joke calendar from 1964, a home-made toilet paper holder, a cowboy picture frame containing a photo of LC and me (taken while we were in Bonners Ferry a few months ago) and a very awesome painting.
All in one tiny space...............
I bought this painting at a yard sale in Cody, and the canvas is attached to a piece of sheet rock.
LC and I tore apart an old wooden dog house that was located in the yard at this house in Idaho.
It's not exactly the "barn wood" that people like to make rustic crafts from, but it IS weathered dog house wood and I guess that's close enough because LC used some of it to make a frame for my sheet rock painting..........
When we get to it, we are also planning for a dog-house-wood chair rail in this bathroom.
Looking back towards the laundry room again............
We used sanded and oiled dog-house-wood as crown molding in the laundry room.............
My Alaska-found bear rock in the master bathroom.............
LC made this small and light-weight shelf (to hold my little Alaska Eskimo kids) out of two pieces of wood from an old wine barrel............
The wooden armoire that we bought in Idaho Falls a few weeks ago.
It was only bare wood when we purchased it, but I stained it and now it sits in the bedroom - next to a couple of signs, a couple of birds, a picture I took while in Sitka Alaska, an old chair that I bought at a thrift store in Cody, and Kory's cave.
As with most other rooms in the house, an eclectic mish-mash of things we both like............
When I lived in Tennessee (at a time long before I met LC) there was a thrift store that I liked to frequent.
I bought the green cabinet that is currently in our kitchen at this place.
I also bought an occasional piece of pewter there (and now I have a lot that still has no home in this house).
The thrift shop was a mish mash of odds and ends, and (just like at yard sales) you had to dig around to find anything good.  
A dusty, disorganized place that quickly opened and then unsurprisingly went out of business.
The name of the store was Needful Things.
I had been a Stephen King fan ever since I was a young girl.  
The first time I walked into the thrift store, a few weeks after it had opened, I wandered around and then began to talk with the owner.
I asked him if he was a Stephen King fan.
He smiled at me and said "You're the first person to figure out the name."
Maybe residents of small town Tennessee didn't grow up reading horror stories.............

There were people who lied for gain, people who lied from pain, people who lied simply because the concept of telling the truth was utterly alien to them . . . and then there were people who lied because they were waiting for it to be time to tell the truth...............Stephen King, Needful Things 

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