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Homesteading, gardening, homemaking and the Mandela Effect.

Published June 8, 2016 by AntiqueMystique1
All things embroidery.

Practice embroidery hankie (above far left), two flour sack dish towels; one rooster and chicks design, other a snail washing its shell with the word “Wash Day” embroidered on it. Date of flour sack towels unknown, appears to be 1940s or earlier.

And I practically killed myself the day after last tilling more ground around my garden by hand. And then I began to do some serious weed-pulling, too. However, I was very quick to discover why I need to wear long-sleeved shirts and jeans instead of shorts and short-sleeves, I broke out. Yep, I have no idea if I uprooted poison ivy, poison oak, or whatever kind of rash inducing plants I yanked out of the garden and rose bed, but I broke out on my ankle, my arms, even my face.

 

I have been using banana peels, aloe vera leaves and a tiny bit of Lotrimin ointment (I know it’s used for athlete’s foot but it’s the only thing I’ve found that helps clear up these nasty rashes I seem to break out in once in a blue moon). So, between that and keeping up on mowing the back jungle—err, I mean backyard, I’ve become consumed with my gardening the most and working on my latest embroidery projects.

 

Homesteading, what is that? Do I live in a log cabin? Do I chop down trees and add on to my house from scratch? No. Homesteading originates as far back as the Pioneer days and even that of the Wild West. I like using the term ‘homesteading’ since I do a lot of back breaking labor outdoors myself with primitive tools. If I could do so, I’d likely mow the lawn with an antique manual push mower, but the kind of large yard I have would take forever in a day (possibly several) at that rate to finish. So I use the ‘pull your guts out’ non-self propelled cheap crappy lawn mower that gives me a work out and is difficult to push at times.

 

I don’t run to town in an ox-driven covered wagon, although riding in one of those would be a first for me since they are a non-existent form of transportation nowadays.

 

I don’t dress terribly old-fashioned unless there’s a special event that would call for such attire which never happens. And I don’t turn on the lights during the day and refrain from using my central air conditioning whenever possible to cut back on the high cost of utilities. Thankfully my small house doesn’t get unbearably hot in the summer unless the oven is going and I’m trying to dry another batch of celery, kale, jaopeno peppers, chili peppers, making homemade pretzel bread, etc.

 

My appliances use electricity to operate and I’m still joined at the hip to the electric company. I do dream of the day when I can see my homesteading/off grid plans come to fruition at some point in my life (hopefully before I get too old to enjoy and physically unable do them). And I don’t plan to live in the city my entire life long, either.

 

I would like to see myself on a mini-farm and raising chickens on a patch of land. Depending on where a person lives they can have backyard chickens in the city, but per city code a chicken coop must be fifty feet from the house and in the area where I live, a person is only allowed to have fifteen chickens. I had chickens once long before I put in my big garden and out of the five, one of the pullets actually turned out being a very arrogant and aggressive psycho rooster. I named him Boss Hog after the Dukes of Hazard character, Boss Hog of Hazard County (a fictional town in the show, I believe). And also because Boss Hog lived up to his reputation and ate every scrap of leftovers and chicken scratch and wouldn’t let the hens eat anything! I also grew to fear going outside because Boss Hog attacked me constantly. Laugh all you want, but until it happens to you, you’d never relate.

He saw me as a threat to his harem of ‘girls’ and he left me with bloody scratches and gouges. I still have scars on my legs to this very day.

 

Boss Hog was very hard to catch when it came time to put the chickens in the coop for the night. I remember when my mother and I built the chicken coop using scrap lumber, we placed it up on top of cement blocks so wild animals wouldn’t gain access and kill our chickens. We kind of went in together owning chickens. She’d pay for the chicken feed, and I’d care for the flock. No doubt having eggs was a huge bonus and they tasted ten million times better than store bought. They were also smaller in size and the yokes were orange (not the sickly pale yellow store bought eggs have). We collectively decided to give the hens free range and be cage free as long as I was there to supervise. The only mistake we made was tacking wire mesh fencing to the bottom of their coop, but laid down ply wood to they’d have something to walk over and built inset nesting boxes. As it turned out, it was a sturdy chicken coop with a roosting bar built in as well. At night a wild animal bit off the claws of two of the hens I found out one early morning as I was running late to get ready to go to church. Thankfully the hens survived and we built a fence around the coop.

 

The only other bad flaw we ran into was the coop faced the north, and when those cold winter winds would blow, they’d seep right into the chicken coop. I didn’t keep the chickens very long much beyond the first summer and fall, I believe. I was dismayed that the hens and Boss Hog especially decimated my first garden. And Boss Hog constantly crowed at all hours. That was annoying on me and I also worried that I’d get turned in because the darn rooster wouldn’t shut up.

There was a neighbor on the same block that had a rooster when I moved to the location. I didn’t mind hearing that rooster crow since it was off in the distance. I was later told that the neighbor was turned in and the rooster was never heard from again. That’s the downside of trying to homestead and have a mini-farm in the city is neighbor-issues that can potentially arise. Not all neighbors will be bothered by it. But there might always be one out of the bunch that’ll never be satisfied or begin to see the money-saving, homestead benefits of city micro-farming or even understand when there’s a supermarket nowadays just about on every block. But some people such as myself prefer a more productive way of life. There’s an adage: You reap what you sow. If you plant a lot of seeds, you’re crops will yield food. If you raise chickens for their eggs, you can be certain you’ll never run out. If you raise a goat for its milk and cheese, then you can save yourself the time, frustration of waiting in long lines with only two checkout stands open out of say 12 lanes, plus you waste less gas going to and from the store.

When I kept my first chickens I didn’t raise them to turn around and slaughter them. I know since for the longest time I did eat chicken and meat, but my primary reason for keeping chickens was the expensive cost of buying eggs at the store, that and due to the very inhumane and horrendous living conditions those poor big chain store egg producing chickens exist in is awful. If you ever get on youtube and watch a few of those big cooperate farming operations and the shady (and shocking) things they do to the animals it might turn you vegan overnight.

 

I let my chickens run free all over the backyard. They kept the grass mowed for me. I didn’t have to wrestle with the lawn mower nor have it self-propel me all over god’s green earth. I liked that the chickens also kept the insects at bay and one of the hens in particular was very easy to catch and hold. She was a Buff Orpington. I named her after one of my great, great grandmother’s sister’s “Alta”.

 

And there was Fannie, Birdie, Opal, Boss Hog and my resident four-legged tenant: my cat. My cat and I at this point hadn’t formed a bond. She hissed at me whenever I came close to dump out the compost, yet she’d hang around and watch me work in my garden. She ate baked potatoes and devoured French fries like I’ve never seen a cat do in all my years. I fed her cat food too, but had to keep that away from the chickens since it does contain some of their distant relatives of the chicken family. That, and I’ve always been told DO NOT ever feed meat to chickens because it will turn them carnivorous and then they’ll peck and eat each other to death. So my cat also had a few feathered contenders to deal with when came to the compost and who got what.

 

My cat used to run from Boss Hog and that was funny, then if I was outside, he’d run up from behind and either head butt my legs, or peck or kick me with his spurs. Then he’d crow a really loud, almost air-horn sound. I eventually had to carry a tennis racket on my person, and believe me, trying to keep him at bay and hang laundry and pick what measly produce is left in the garden one-handed is a challenge! Boss Hog was making my life a living hell. It wasn’t a matter of who stays and who goes, I simply gave up trying to raise the hens and one very arrogant rooster. Trying to raise chickens from pullets was my first learning experience and I went at it not knowing that roosters will be placed in with the pullets in those farm and feed stores and they all look alike when hatched. I thought I was getting all hens when my mom and I picked them out on a whim (which again is very bad, by the way) since almost nothing other than the chicken coop had been pre-built. We had to construct a flimsy fence as the hens and rooster became old enough to go in their coop.

 

When they’re cute little chicks you can’t tell them apart until they produce a comb. And the other hens I had were developing mean streaks as well, minus Alta, who would honk like a goose. She was a blonde chicken and easy to catch, quite lazy, and friendly out of the five. My next door neighbors loved the entertainment value I so frustrating provided for them unknown to me, of course. Often times my neighbors would trespass into my yard just to see what my chickens were up to. I was aware of this because at the time I happened to be in the house when I overheard my neighbors talking and converging close to my bedroom window right where the fence line is. Now I don’t mind if they’d at least knock first and see if I’m home, then ask to admire my chickens. But that’s rather gutsy to just walk onto somebody’s property and automatically assume the neighbor won’t mind.

But one thing that doesn’t seem to exist (at least where I’m at) is privacy. That goes right out the window when you have neighbors close by. Thankfully they didn’t knock over my measly fence posts and wander in the backyard. Boss Hog would have put the run on them. I mean that rooster was psycho nuts toward anything that walked and would just attack for no reason. So I got to the point where I carried a super soaker water gun, and when that failed, I put the run on Boss Hog, and when I did catch him, I’d clamp his beak and pack him around tucked under one arm being mindful of his sharp talons. He hated being babied and carried around, but when I’d release him it was right back to attack mode after he got over his wounded pride.

 

When the day came I gave away my chickens and their coop for free that ended it for the neighbors wandering over anytime they felt like without my knowledge or consent. And I was glad of that. I don’t mind neighbors, but do like to have my privacy. Next time I will invest in a high privacy fence to block the view and design a much better chicken coop and face away from the north. Around this time I was heavily involved in my church and other activities that I was biting off more than I could reasonably chew. I was still piling on the sugary foods, the soda pop, and the pre-processed garbage that it showed. Even though I was physically active, the weight never left and I knew in order to improve my outlook on life, I first had a lot of cleaning up to do starting with my diet. I remember going around feeling sluggish, had almost no energy which was very odd considering I hadn’t even reached being over-the-hill age and that was still light years away for me. Something had to be done. I didn’t feel quite right mentally or even emotionally and the emotional turbulence is what drove me to go nearly almost all vegan like I am now and cut out all chemicals in my food and just recently in my laundry soaps since a lot of them can contain cancer-causing dyes and perfumes. My clothes don’t have any scent to them, but at least the 20 mule Borax team and Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda (made for laundry only) gets them clean. And I don’t use dryer sheets, either.

 

Gardening is, and always will be, my second love. I’ve been a gardener since I was in my teens and became a full-time gardener now as an adult just this year. And when I couldn’t garden in the places where I rented from in the past, I’d have a garden space over at my parents. I was never without a backup source of home-grown food and it all boiled down to what I wanted to grow. In the beginning it wasn’t much more than spearmint and tomatoes. I didn’t get seriously into water-bath canning until 2013. And I must point out that I have NO experience whatsoever using a pressure canner, sorry. Those are just plain creepy for me because the contents are under pressure, and if something were to go wrong, the unit itself could explode. I have heard of various other food preppers say they can their own meats and chicken in pressure canners. But boy howdy, I don’t know about eating chicken from a mason jar. I know it can be done, but I’d be more worried about food poisoning personally and more leery of the chemicals, growth hormones, and antibiotics that are cooked out of the chicken and meats.

 

I have had a lot of success water bath canning my own tomatoes and cabbage even though according to the USDA they claim not to can either since there’s still a risk of botulism. However, tomatoes are acidic. The cabbage (if you’re me and make sour kraut) will contain vinegar and thus brings up an acidic level. And I tried making my own hot salsa but… wound up using way too much vinegar which I don’t believe the recipe even called for. I was making dill pickles that same day and somehow ingredients tend to get mixed in with each other. I have yet to make hot dill pickles or even can okra but do plan to try that this year hopefully.

 

I’ve been reading and like always, watching numerous youtube videos in my spare time about this soon-to-be phased out role of homemaker. Whether or not there’s any truth in all this, who knows. But making it illegal to be a homemaker that sounds to me to be very impossible. And then again maybe the videos I’ve been watching are simply all bunk or nonsense rather. And after watching many cookie cutter videos on the Mandela effect, I’ve come to realize too that yes, some product labels aren’t what I remember them as being/ looking like. For example Oscar Meyer vs. “Mayer” like it’s spelled now. That means you’d have to sing the song as, “I wish I were an Oscar Mayer wiener…” Mayer? Nah, from my memory it used to be “Meyer” and there’s more subtle changes with certain versions of the bible and the Lord’s Prayer being altered to having lines in famous movies being mysteriously replaced and there’s all the Quantum physics theories and the time parallel universe, time shift, alternate realities some claim in their videos were now living in the end times in regards to the logos and scripture changes, and a host of other things and it all has to due with Cern, and so-on, so-forth.

 

I finally suffered from extreme exhaustion from doing so much tilling and mulching my garden, having supper at a late hour than usual, then working on embroidery and watching those darn youtube videos that kept me up until the wee hours of the morning that I need to curtail it.

 

And after about the fifth Mandela effect video I came to the conclusion that it’s all repetitive with no new examples being presented. And it seems to be the narrators in these Mandela effect videos believe they have stumbled upon something freakish, creepy, and major that’s taking place. I believe it’s all to get views. Maybe they’re getting paid to produce such videos on the Mandela effect. But what the comment section doesn’t ever point out is that everything in these videos is the same the explanations are all alike in many cases as well. It kind of reminds me the old movie The Stepford Wives.

 

Until recently as somebody pointed out to me I’d never heard of the Mandela effect before. The Mandela effect is where a collective group of people remember something a certain way, while another group of people will remember something in a completely opposite way. And the lump sum that don’t know any better are spoon fed everything they see, hear, consume fall in the age range of pre-teen to Twenty-something hipster that doesn’t know any different because they were likely just born in the late 80s/ early 90s or even in the 2000’s sometime and just aren’t able to recall the way things once were because they weren’t around to see or experience it.

Twenty something hipsters and younger will spout off (like a know-it-all) everybody else 30 years and older are loosing their minds and our old age is getting the better of us and everybody 30 and older all suffer failing memories, weak recall, dementia, Alzheimer’s, etc. and the younger generation tend to laugh and be disrespectful. They do not question things in their environment and have no independent thought process and simply weren’t paying attention, if indeed, these changes have taken place.

 

And to those young things I say this: go eat your CAPTAIN Crunch. It was never, ever called “Capn’” Crunch when I was growing up. Whether this was due to cut back on the expensive marketing of this cereal, or what have you, if folks from many walks of life can recall there’s been a definite change in how logos once appeared to them, then maybe there is truth in the Mandela effect after all. Froot Loops is another one. It used to be Fruit Loops. Now I won’t argue that it could be due to marketing changes.

 

But it would be very easy to trick the masses when it comes to altering antique advertisements in print if said advertisement is scanned, then ran through a photo shop program to alter it, but that would take many hours to manipulate. Now the bible scriptures being changed was a new one on me. However, I’m not one of those that devotedly knows the scriptures by heart, either. I have several different versions of bibles, and all are vintage (1941-1990s). I have yet to turn up an antique bible from say the late 1800s/ early 1900s in English to see if these changes also exist those copies too.

Everybody’s heard of the Lord’s Prayer, and depending on which version, it does contain either lines: “Forgive us our trespasses and we forgive those who trespass against us,” This was the common one I was taught in religious schools growing up. The new one that stuns many religious folks is something to this effect; “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” But I’ve heard both used. And the “On earth as it is in heaven,” has changed to “In earth as it is in heaven.” Something nefarious, perhaps? Or could it be just a simple trick of the mind? The way I remember that line was always, “On earth as it is in heaven.”

 

And there’s more about the one particular bible verse that has people going back to their old bibles and re-reading, “The lion will lay down with the lamb,” and some now claim it states: “The wolf will lay down with the lamb,” and there’s many who stand by their bibles and claim that “wolf” was never found in this parable before.

 

My mother pointed this out to me a while back and I was very much in the dark, so to speak of the Mandela effect. Yet, even I myself have noticed lately a few subtle changes on products that caught my eye. I have noticed the Captain Crunch cereal now saying, “Capn’” instead of Captain and a few more logos that no longer look like the way I remember them being.

 

And I’m going to fall in line with all those “cookie cutter” Mandela effect youtube videos, but here it goes:  Kit-Kat is missing its hyphen. Here again this could all be due to simple label/ company changes for who knows  what or why. Companies change their products so often anymore that most products I don’t even buy if it doesn’t look familiar to how I remember seeing it. And if it states: “New look, same great product,” or “New look, same great taste!” this might be an indicator that the company was a.) either bought out or b.) outsourced their labor to either China or Mexico c.) are ready to go down the tubes and disappear entirely. And sometimes even d.) all the above.

 

But how does the Mandela effect have any correlation blogging about homesteading, gardening and embroidery? Not much, but the idea that homemaking might become illegal was extremely vague even though I did try to research this and came up instead with one article that dealt with Stay at home mom’s and keeping a house and the myths and the biblical teachings that were more geared around the Christian mindset. And even that didn’t fit my interpretation of ‘homemaker’ and keeping a home.

 

The other articles I found deal with “in home” health care services and they tend to blur the lines between ‘homemaker’ and ‘housekeeping’ which appear to be used in the same context when in fact, a homemaker is a person that keeps a home. They make sure the house is presentable and company-ready, clean and tidy, plus if they’re on their own with no husband to help out, they also do outside yard work and minor house repairs as needed if they’ve got a knack for it.

 

A housekeeper does the house chores like sweeping, mopping, doing dishes, dusting, vacuuming and maybe some meal preparation is involved if it’s part of their duties. But all these in-home health service articles aren’t what I’m getting at. In fact, they were and are way off the mark. I’m referring to a wife back in the 1950s and before that kept a home that kind of homemaker. Not a homemaker of today’s times who is licensed and board certified to go into disabled people’s home and help out. That’s what a care-giver does, not a homemaker. I’d wish they’d quit confusing the terms and replace the word home maker with ‘care-giver’.

If I type too much info into the goofy search engine I will wind up way off track and I’m not even past the first page of garbled wrong results. And since I can’t find any evidence that a woman’s role in the home as a homemaker is about to or will ever become illegal, I’m going to safely assume that the youtube video narrator got their facts wrong and could provide no concrete source(s) and/ or links to verify or even clarify this. And they were simply too vague when they said homemaking will become illegal in the future.

 

Well… I’ll believe it when I see it. But until that time comes (if it ever remotely does in my lifetime), I will continue to be a homemaker and a homesteader. 🙂

And the embroidery patterns are something that I collect, scan (if they won’t take to a hot iron anymore), trace onto fabric then I embroider them. It takes time depending on how large the image is, but worth it. The two flour sack dish towels aren’t my own creation. I simply purchased them because they’re vintage and/or antique.

 

Thanks for reading, liking, re-blogging, commenting, sharing, and tweeting. I sincerely appreciate it. 🙂

 

 

 

 

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Antiquing during a stroll

Published March 24, 2016 by AntiqueMystique1
mirror found 3-23-16

Mirror in “as found” condition. Before gluing the joints.

There’s a lot of stuff I’ve come across quite often on my walks. I have found money anywhere between $4, $10, and $20. I have even found a full book of postage stamps another time. And I’m always grateful to find anything while on my strolls. So, it pays to look on the ground. Take the time to scour parking lots, alleys, sidewalks, curbs when you take a walk because you never know what you might find.

It was a strong windy day. Hold on to your hat. Well, my beloved straw cowgirl hat was battered in no time. And the gusts would blow sand and dirt. Good thing I wore my shades. But the sand and dirt stung my legs something fierce.

 

How could there be any remote chance of snow later on? I thought as I merrily enjoyed the day getting my natural dose of Vitamin D from the sunlight. I didn’t think very favorable of the cyclone-like day we were having. But I didn’t despair and kept trudging right along getting blown off course (literally) and into a grassy stretch of an empty lot. I was originally going to take the over pass sidewalk just to avoid waiting on non-stop trains that love to just slow down and stop at every intersection. Then the trains will back up, creating a long line of cars backed up for miles. There should be a law against the trains doing that. It’s not only a frustration for motorists, but also to people on foot that have to wait for an incredibly long time.

 

I believe I wasn’t even half way when the gusts decided it for me: my stroll was going to be short-lived. Sure, I’d get to where I intended to go, maybe just not right when I wanted to. Trying to walk into the wind was challenging, and painful when the sand hit my body. Then I look toward the train tracks. They were clear, and instead of me hoofing it clear out of my way, I headed several blocks (hoping there wouldn’t be another train to block the intersections). And as luck would have it, I made it across safely and there were no signs of any trains. Strange, because I kept hearing the blaring noise of the train track signals every few minutes it seemed like today.

 

But my eyes spied a green bean seed packet. Could it be? Aw, drats! Empty. Well, if you’re a serious green thumb, a newbie to gardening/ herb container grower or live on a farm, then the urge to inspect any discarded garden seed packet for potential overlooked beans or seeds is always worth a look. Never know where you might find free food. I say that because green beans are easy to grow. I don’t recall the particular brand of the green bean packet other than it caught my attention on my walk.

 

So I mosey on, keeping a firm hand on my hat or what’s left of it. Ahead of my sights are more shuttered businesses that ceased. It’s not surprising considering the area of town isn’t part of a tourist trap. In fact, it could so use some revitalization if city planners and tax payer money would go to good use to re-hab some of the most forlorn eyesore properties, but I can safely bet, nothing will ever happen. The buildings will continue to decay. The ‘for rent’ and ‘for sale’ signs will remain indefinitely. And it looks straight out of an episode of The Walking Dead. But it’s an area of town that’s for lack of a better word, ‘antique’. I mean the buildings have their roots some dating back to the early 1930s, and maybe a little before the Depression era. But that’s not particularly what drew me to stroll down this area of town. I see a junk yard of cars enclosed by a long span of chain link. Between the links are white broken plastic (think in terms of mini-blinds), and behind that is a mini-salvage yard for vehicles. It really doesn’t impress me, but junk yards, in general, are nearly all gone nowadays. I cross the street and see a business that doesn’t have any customers. It’s a very old antique-looking brick building.

 

Very old by out-ward appearances. Interior-wise, looks like a 1970s slapped together in one day look and vibe about it. I feel as though I’ve transcended into the past. I suppose it was the overcast day and everything was hazy even the sun. And right in front of me was an antique mirror with an attached Art Deco light fixture. The mirror is leaning against the old building. I catch a glimpse of myself in the mercury coated beveled glass staring back at me.

 

Lord knows I’ve been praying to happen across by chance an antique mirror. The light fixture and antique incandescent light bulb were a plus. Instead of giving it much thought, I carry on my way and then… back-track. I do a double take. The mirror is in tact, but the frame has seen better days. In fact, I surmise it was originally yanked out of a bathroom due to its added on light fixture and partial two screws holding two broken pieces of plastic in the lower corner. Could have been a tooth brush holder, maybe a soap dispenser.

 

I try to talk myself out of even inquiring about said mirror. But something about the mirror appearing discarded and forgotten latched onto me. Maybe it was that white chipped paint, weather-beaten wood underneath. Good grief, I think to myself, I’ll never get it home on foot, and definitely not in this cyclone of a day. But wait—the light shade is milk glass. The shade itself practically screams “I am Art Deco!” and so loudly that it would make the nearby resident want to chuck rocks at it. Maybe that’s how the shade got broke in the first place.

broken fixture shade before cleaning

On the ground I discover three fragments of milk glass in the parking lot. I study myself in the large mirror. The mirror I would have to guess was manufactured even before the late Twenties when Art Deco became in vogue. Oh, and the light fixture retains an antique incandescent light bulb.

1458769540467

Perhaps an original Thomas Edison light bulb? In 2016? I crook the brim of my hat to get a better look. Yeah, right. It would have to be a Chinese knock off “Edison” bulb found at Lowe’s. But no. It pre-dates the Chinese knock-offs and its about as authentic as the day it was produced eons ago.

 

The filament and connecting wires are very different than any past or current incandescent light bulb I’ve seen. I know Thomas Edison invented the light bulb and this light bulb looked like a familiar design of his. I also own Edison phonographs, and researched him extensively for my phonograph restoration and that has nothing to do whether the light bulb still works or not.

 

before cleaning of the wall mount light fixture

There’s dirt and grime and I wouldn’t trust testing out that light socket plug. In the old days bare wires were covered with a piece of inset cardboard between the prongs of the plug to prevent two bare wires from crossing. Yikes!

Despite the broken milk glass lamp shade, the porcelain wall mount bolted to the mirror is in excellent shape for its age. It screams 1920’s. I know this because all throughout my years growing up I lived in many Victorian homes split into apartments where the electricity (and the light fixtures) were never updated, replaced, or even new, and most were straight from the Twenties in those homes. They were very antique, all white porcelain, and something clicked in my brain trudging up a memory from long ago.

 

Studying that very light fixture mounted on the antique mirror took me back to a happier and much less different time in my [then] extremely young childhood. It reminded me of a special place in time, one that can never be replaced. It was a feeling I received that I hadn’t felt in many, many long years. Why this antique mirror struck me with that overwhelming emotion of familiarity I have no idea.

 

“Antiquing” has always ran in both sides of my family. It goes way, way back and I’m no different. But I still try to convince myself “This mirror will likely shatter if I inquire about it,” and “It’s not out here for looks.”

 

I must have passed by the building three times debating whether or not I should inquire about the antique mirror. And by the time I made it to the end of the third block, something was practically nagging at me not to pass it up. It might be a good deal and it was something I had in mind rather than buying a new mirror that would be straight from China and an overpriced piece of junk.

 

I had that old Victor 78 song stuck in my head, “Don’t Wait Too Long”. I forget who the artist is that sings this particular fox trot. All I know is that my late great grandma and I have similar tastes in music. Don’t Wait Too Long was one such song in our record collections. We must have been on the same wave length, or perhaps it was a nudge from her in spirit when I began my fascinating antique phonograph hobby when I was 26 years old and wound up with that new old stock song on a Victor 78.

 

After much thinking about the mirror and seeing my stroll was going to be cut short due to the gusts, I turned on one heel and started back for the abandoned-looking business. The lights were on inside but the door was locked. I was smack dab in a crime-ridden area of town, on foot, fighting against the massive strong gusts that pummeled me with dirt, grime and sand.

 

I didn’t see the Keystone cops running after the likes of Charlie Chaplin or that of the great stone face, Buster Keaton, so I figured crime had taken the day off. For some weird reason I could envision meeting up with the like of Charlie Chaplin on this particular day in this area of town (don’t ask me why). I suppose it was the almost sepia overcast sky that made me think of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton (two out of three of my favorite silent film comics along with Harold Lloyd in no particular order).

 

I was almost worried about knocking on this business’s door since you never know who might answer. I could see into the business through a large window. But for what business this was, I have no idea. And I have no idea how an antique mirror wound up leaning against their establishment.  I hesitated at the door thinking of a million excuses not to inquire. Maybe the business was remodeling. Maybe they weren’t intending to toss out this beautiful antique mirror. Maybe it was placed outside just for looks. (I was thinking in terms of tacky lawn decorations). But no, I didn’t get that impression. I swore I distinctly heard my late great grandmother (who lived in a museum, *ahem*, a house), encouraging me “…never know until you try.” It sounded so clear as a bell that I turned and looked to my right, then my left. And if it had been her instead of me coming across this mirror, she would have had no problem knocking, and in her own sweet outgoing way, could charm the pants off the person who answered with just her smile.

 

So, I knocked and didn’t have to wait long. A young man answered. I kept my inquiry brief and pointed to the side of the building where the mirror was. He told me the mirror was free and I could have it. I thanked him, and went to the side of the building and tried to lift the mirror. The frame was rickety and I noticed a silver fish (a small insect) running for its dear life to hide under one wooden shim nailed to the frame. I replaced the mirror just as it was, resting against the brick building. This calls for the vehicle. I was hoping between the time I left and returned, the mirror wouldn’t be the unfortunate victim of the cyclone gust’s fury. And I worried to that someone else might happen upon this mirror and snatch it out from under me. Surprisingly, it was still there when I returned and in one piece. I loaded it myself, then returned to pick up every piece of broken milk glass and plucked one wood shim that had detached from the mirror and headed to town.

 

I was still debating just returning home and tilling more garden space by hand, but on this particular day, I’m sure the wind would have planted my seeds in various places in my backyard instead. I still need to make more seed tape (this is so the crops will grow in evenly spaced rows and made using toilet paper and a mix of flour/water paste to glue the tiny seeds in place. Allow it to dry over night and you’ll be ready to plant them the following day or whenever the danger of frost has passed). But instead of going home and playing farmer Brown, I decided to see what the thrift store had to offer. Not much so I then stopped by the store on my way home and bought a pineapple. They’re on sale, can’t beat that. 🙂

 

I didn’t take the mirror inside. I left it in the vehicle and worked on removing the light fixture in there. I will assume that the gaudy layer of white paint contains lead (as most paints pre-1970’s contained lead) and it was flaking so bad I didn’t want it everywhere in my house. I managed to get the light fixture removed safely including the light bulb, then disassembled it and washed the shade, porcelain wall mount and plan to get the rust off the screws. I assumed after much “Righty tighty, lefty Lucy” elbow grease using nothing more than a pair of Ford Model T pillars and a Chinese brand pair of needle nose pillars and hands like a brain surgeon, the bolt and three little rusty screws released their firm death grip on the porcelain wall mount and milk glass shade.

 

cleaned mirror glass 3-24-16

I scraped away some of the flaking old paint. Underneath the white paint was somewhat of a salmon-pink hue in areas. The paint still flakes off very easily when touched and the mirror requires a lot of TLC when handled which I do with work gloves on. The wood shims holding the glass are the consistency of match sticks and very brittle. It’s still in rough condition.

And I did it all without breaking anything or causing myself seven years of bad luck. I was suspecting at any given moment the mirror would break, but it didn’t although the wood frame was coming undone at all four corners. I’m still not even sure how I managed this feat. I’ve worked on antique phonographs, but never an antique mirror until now. I’ll worry about repairing the glass shade another time. I was more fixated on finding a solution to glue the frame back together with the glass still inset. The logical approach would be to gently remove all the wood shims holding the glass and remove the mirror, but working in cramped confines of the van would make this step impossible.

 

And when in doubt, think like MacGuyver and that’s what I did. I returned inside with each light fixture piece, disassembled the scary outdated chord and light socket, set those aside, and placed the shade and porcelain wall mount inside a dish pan of sudsy/ Clorox bleach warm water. Not too hot, and definitely not too cold. Porcelain should never be subjected to extremely hot water or else it will break and crack. I resumed my task and let that soak in the meantime and brought out the Gorilla glue, some elastic snagged from my sewing box and a stick I found in the yard.

In order to get the joints aligned to the best of what I had at my disposal, I devised a very weird  clamp/ jig method using the elastic and stick and twisted it around the stick and mirror frame until I could see the gaps in the joints of the wood getting smaller. I knew that too much tension could spell disaster. I wound it with enough tension and called it good enough. I placed the stick under a tool kit and jumper cables to hold it taut so the glue could dry in the joints overnight. I then used a bungee chord to create tension to the other end of the mirror and hope and pray that it holds, which it did. I closed the door and put the tools back in the house. It was a cloudy evening. I overheard my neighbor exclaim they wouldn’t be surprised if we got a tornado and earthquake in the same night. The neighbor was talking to somebody else, not me. I gazed at the sky. The temperature was steadily dropping. It wasn’t extremely hot out today, but it was just right for shorts and short-sleeved shirt weather. And by evening it was very cold.

I washed up and ate a late supper of leftover Smoked Herring/ Flax seed meal and Chia seed patties combined with boiled Cactus leaves (a very good source of vitamins), some Cauliflower, and Broccoli mashed potatoes. I also had an apple and some brown bagged micro-waved plain popcorn.

 

Tomorrow I shall see what became of my improvised restoration efforts. Before I even begin to think about taking this antique mirror into my house it will require a new coat of either paint on the wood frame or I may strip it down and go over it with a clear coat varnish and call it good and let the weather beaten look shine through.

 

I detest the ‘shabby chic’ job that ruins antique furniture, dressers, and mirrors even though this mirror wasn’t given that look. The paint suffered from a severe case of weather-element damage and who knows what wall it had been bolted to for so many years.

 

And yes, I inspected mirror prior for any sign of black mold and/ or rotting damage to the wood frame. I didn’t see anything wrong and used my scrub brush to dust off the cobwebs and leaves before loading it up, so that tells me this mirror’s been sitting outside for a week or more. And perhaps this antique mirror was rescued in the nick of time since tonight it’s raining. Thanks for liking, re-blogging, commenting, tweeting and sharing. I always appreciate it. 🙂

 

 

Live and learn; why joining may not be such a great idea after all.

Published June 19, 2015 by AntiqueMystique1

But was it worth it going through all the stress of joining my local Y? Actually I’m still very undecided on that.
I’m trying to find ways to pinch every penny and joining any place to be a member comes with balancing one’s budget to see if its feasible. However, this was my first time joining a health center of any kind. And after I presented them the money, I began to have second thoughts shortly after I paid.
I get indecisive at times and I suppose this was one of those moments. But on the bright side I wasn’t required to give out any personal account information. Regardless what the person claimed with all sincerity that, “You’re information is very safe,” sounded like a familiar line I’ve heard many times before, usually from pre-approved credit card scammers.

I’m not saying that the health center is a rip-off because there’s plenty to do there and that would be a wrong assumption to make right off the bat. What I didn’t like was their high-pressure approach, “We’ll get you set up with a personal trainer, but only if you want to.”

No thank you.

Not that I don’t trust them I thought the Y would be a place where anybody could exercise at their leisure on their own terms without a personal fitness trainer planning your exercise routine based on your height/ weight (I used those as examples) or forcing you to take on more than you know you can physically handle.
And the only other two things I disagreed with was having my picture taken. I know this is for (______) fill in the blank. I’ve heard everything from preventing identity theft to making sure its truly ‘you’ coming in to exercise. I knew I couldn’t evade that, but I absolutely didn’t agree to be filmed, photographed or uploaded to the internet and I pointed this out since I firmly believe everyone should have some right to privacy. They agreed to waive that part of the sign-up agreement for me. But until I signed my name on the line, they admitted nobody ever had a concern over that before. Here again, my little voice of reason is telling me, this might not be such a good idea after all. Some folks don’t want to be publicly shared, viewed or “tagged” by the world wide web. To me that’s beyond intrusive and rude. And it did prove to me that there’s no such thing being private… maybe it was like that some twenty or thirty years prior, but not in today’s times where everything is expected to be out in the open and accessible to everybody.

With a heavy heart, I trekked back to my vehicle and contemplated if I really wanted to work out in the gym or simply return home and do something more productive. But why did I have the nagging pressing feeling that I made a three month commitment mistake? “Well, it’s just three months,” I tell myself and then it expires. Whether I choose to renew or let the membership lapse is up to me.

I forced myself to go in and try out the exercise equipment. Most of the men I saw at the Y were very much into body building and muscles and very little else. Another man was totally absorbed in a touch-screen flat phone giving off a “don’t bother me” vibe. Another man scowled in my direction the entire time he was weight-lifting.
Technology… we are lulled by it so much that we can’t seem to exist a single minute without it or we drive ourselves bonkers.
And me? I zoned out everyone else and tried the stair master, ab roller, exercise bike and that was it.

No swimming for me since after my last go around really made my hair look like a limp, thin, stringy nutrient-deprived mess. That and being restricted to the shallow end when the water slide is in use in the family pool (lap lanes weren’t open, yet) was kind of irritating on me the last time I went as a guest.
I look at it like this… one, they were paid in cash and I got a receipt even though I realize membership fees are non-refundable. Secondly, they didn’t get a whopping amount out of me, either. Call me extremely tight-fisted when it comes to such things like this, but every little bit could be saved for a rainy day if ever needed.

Sure, nothing beats exercise. And I know there will come days when I won’t feel like socializing just to get in some time on a stair master or exercise bike.
I just get a sinking feeling in the pit of stomach, the kind a person gets when they have ‘buyer’s remorse’. I guess in my case it was ‘membership fee remorse’. I also didn’t agree that they’d watch your beverage bottle for you if you wanted to go work out in the gym.

As a good rule of thumb, if I ever set down a drink, then I don’t consume it afterwards. And I can’t afford to keep replacing water bottles right and left and don’t trust that the only vending machine they will allow is just purified water. It could be fluoride city water from some other city.

I won’t guzzle just any brand of bottled water anymore since I’ve switched to distilled. I make tea from distilled water and pack distilled water on my person wherever I go. I know….

Rules, rules—we all must abide by them. I realize this.

But I don’t agree with the front desk babysitting my water bottle of distilled tea just so I can work out for an hour or so and then the ice is all melted and the tea tastes like stump water. So, it was back home after about an hour. I seem to have either lost my enthusiasm or perhaps its just my sense kicking in, letting me know there’s free forms of exercise I just have to find.

Thanks for reading, commenting, re-blogging, sharing, tweeting, etc. I truly appreciate it. 🙂