Monday, February 17, 2014

Allowing You To Grow

This building is close to where we live.
I have no idea how long it has been here in Atomic City or how long it has been closed up and simply forgotten.
In front is a wonderfully weathered old sign telling passers-by what this structure used to be in a former life.
Painted on the side of the cinder block building - in large, sad, fading black letters, is again the name of the bar-slash-cafe and a declaration that it is an "Oasis In The Desert".
Annoyingly for me, it is boarded up tight but I would really love to see what the inside is like.
I have heard that there is a huge old wooden bar inside and with that, my imagination inevitably takes hold and allows me to concoct a story of a time when this little nothing tiny town used to be a busy and rocking larger town.
I HAVE heard that the matriarch of the town (who died recently) was a lovely woman with long dark hair when she was much younger, and that a local sheriff died in a gun battle while fighting another man for her affections.
Maybe that's true and maybe it isn't, because it is difficult to get the real story or history on very much, from current local towns people.
But it adds the mystery of this little run down cinder block building in the desert.  The stuff of Hemingway novels.................
Now that the weather is beginning to moderate just a little as spring fights to claim a foot hold in SE Idaho, seeing the deer in town is a hit and miss proposition.
From late fall and all the way through winter, it was almost a given that we would see the deer whenever we walked in town.
One of the small and welcome joys of living in a very quiet and isolated and rural Idaho town.
Even though we still see them more often than not, there are no longer any guarantees.
And so I was surprised yesterday when I walked into the kitchen, looked out the window and saw a small herd of them grazing across the road from me.
They seem to have made it through the winter just fine.
They have survived sometimes brutal cold and constant frozen mist.  They have survived on minimal food and water.  They have survived the low-life hunters who disregard both official state hunting seasons and city ordinances.  They have survived coyotes who are rampant in the area, and who (as I have seen from tracks in the snow) come through town after dark.
At least some are pregnant, and I have even seen the deer once or twice recently who limps as a result of a broken leg long ago.
She made it safely through the winter..............
Not long ago I wrote about LC and I rapidly turning into desert rats.
There is a piece of property outside of town that belongs to a resident.  It is filled with small and large piles of.......stuff.
A lot of it is junk but a lot of it is not, and this land owner (wanting very much to have that land cleared up) enthusiastically told us not long after we moved here, that we were free to take whatever we wanted.
The combination of a structurally sound but dated house, a man who loves to tinker and create things out of nothing, a limited budget and unlimited time meant that we could find a lot of different uses for a lot of different things.
Over these past months wood boards have been used for a rustic chair rail in one bathroom and less rustic crown molding in a laundry room.
More wood has simply been cut up and chain sawed for firewood in the garage through this winter.
Still more boards have been used for picture frames.
We have found old solid wood doors, old hinges, old tools, an old oil can, horse shoes, hundreds and hundreds of bricks, cinder blocks and so much more.
Neither one of us can believe that such things were just thrown away
Neither one of us can believe that these things have not been taken away by other desert rats before now.
Neither LC nor I grew up in a family with much money, and we both learned over the years how to be creative and how to make something nice from something others might pass over.
And every time we find something useful (or even better, something incredibly wonderful) we get excited.
A cheap and creative way to do some of the things around the house that we want to do.
A link to a previous blog post on some of our surprising desert finds:

The last time LC and I were out to the "junk piles" we were filling a large plastic container with metal stuff.  LC knew what he was looking for (he happily found a couple of handfuls of turn buckles) while I just threw any kind of interesting things in his direction to see if he was interested in what I had found.
One of those things was this picture below.
It was half buried in the dirt and was very rusty.  Barely glancing at it before tossing it in the pile, LC picked it up and excitedly told me that it was a rock hammer.
After taking it home I spent the next hour or so sanding the rust off it, until it looked the way that I wanted.
We bought a new handle for the hammer a couple of days ago, banged it up a bit so that it did not look brand new, stained it and now it sits on the wall in the laundry room.
I love this thing..............
These old solid wood doors were buried under a pile of palettes, and were covered in dirt and ice and snow and even some pieces of insulation.
After the snow and ice melted from the doors I spent a few hours cleaning them and then eventually taking the hardware off of them.
We can't use them in the house, and so I sold them to a lady in Blackfoot recently............
A very heavy and very rusty hoe............
We need to be careful collecting all of this junk.
As I said to LC recently, there's a fine line between salvaging and repurposing, and turning the house and yard into an Idaho version of Sanford and Son.............
This will eventually be a door for the storage closet in one of the bathrooms (and will replace a very ugly, 1970's, patterned vinyl, collapsible door).
Lead painted pink on one side and lime green on the other, I spent a lot of time cleaning and sanding this door.
Originally the plan had been to paint the door white and use the hardware that we had found with the door.
After a few coats of paint though, LC and I decided to paint it brown instead and make use of some of the horse shoes we found.
It's going in the "cowboy bathroom" that (interestingly enough) is the smallest room in the house, and the room in  which we have spent more time working, than any other room to date...........
I have had this picture for probably 15 years and in all that time have never gotten my act together enough to get the thing framed.
I love this painting.  
Bought at a yard sale in Tennessee for $2 I cannot believe (in all the moving that we have done over the past few years) that it is still in one piece.
LC made a frame for it this past weekend.............
More uses for horse shoes
A hose hanger............
And a piece of art................
LC's picnic made from reclaimed lumber and old skis................
One of two piles of bricks waiting to be used as flooring for an outdoor patio.
It's going to be a busy spring and summer............
We didn't find this in our junk piles, but I thought that I would post a picture of it anyway.
There is only one person in the world who would immediately recognize this and immediately know what it was and where it came from.
Margie.............I dragged this thing all the way to Alaska and back, and then all the way to Wyoming and Idaho.
It's as heavy as it looks.  And one day soon it will be a lamp.
I posted it to make you laugh.................

A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow.............William Shakespeare

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