Tag Archives: yard sales

Yard Sales…The Thrill of Victory and the Agony of The Feet…

Here’s an archive post originally published March 30, 2010 (if you’ve received two notifications of this, I apologize – I’m reposting it for the second time today, because I don’t think the e-mail notifications worked the first time):

The best yard sale ad I ever saw was in a Moncton newspaper many years ago…it gave the pertinent details of the sale, followed by this: “Early birds will be ignored.”  My kind of vendor!  There’s nothing more frustrating than arriving at a sale at the advertised start time, only to find that vultures have picked all the best meat off the bones!

I’ve been going to yard sales/house sales/flea markets/auctions since I was small…we’d get up many Saturday mornings, and head for a nearby farm auction.  At one of these, my brother and I decided we’d really like to have a calf, but Dad convinced us that our mom would have a COW if he came home with one!  On Sunday drives, I remember us sitting in the car as Mom looked angrily at her watch waiting for Dad to stop talking to some stranger who had something to sell (my mom caught the yard sale bug much later in life, after she started collecting and selling Sherman jewellery).  In the late ’70’s, Dad started setting up his own stall at flea markets (he collected sealers and pretty much anything to do with farming, as well as books).

Forty years later, I still like calves, but don't really want one any more...

After I was married and had kids, going yard-saling was an inexpensive outing for a Saturday…we lived in Moncton and didn’t have a car then…we walked to all the sales we attended.  I’d set the alarm early, pack up the kids, and off we’d go, with a carefully-planned list of sales we wanted to get to and their start times.  I mostly bought books, clothes and toys then, although I would keep my eyes open for bells/wooden boxes for my mom’s collections.

We moved to Saint John in late 1997, and continued our yard-saling habit…since opening the bookstore in the summer of 2000, we also started looking for old/local books on our Saturday mornings.  We go to the Sussex Flea Market every summer, where over 1000 vendors set up outside to sell everything from antlers to zinnias.  I started training my middle daughter, Anna, how to “pick” old books at age 8, and today, at 15, she definitely has “the eye”…she knows what to take and what to leave behind!

I picked up this little book "Mary Queen of Scots" for 10 cents...it's listed online for $20!

I even yard-sale on vacation…I was in Belleville, Ontario for a college reunion, and went to a few sales in the east end where the beautiful old homes are.  Lying on the grass, I spied a beautiful Native Canadian print that I wanted as a gift for my best friend, who is of aboriginal descent.   As I leaned over to pick it up, someone with faster fingers snatched it out from under me…after shooting her a look that should have caused her to at least feel faint (it didn’t seem to have any effect), I let her have it…

I was tramping around the West Side of Saint John, when I found a gorgeous pen and ink drawing of a farmhouse – I liked it because it reminded me of my grandma’s house.  The problem was that it was huge – about 2′ x 3′, and I was on foot.  It was also in the most hideous frame I’d ever seen, with floral wallpaper acting as a homemade mat.  I asked the woman how much it was – $8!  I told myself that I would go to one more sale around the corner and then come back…if the drawing was still there, I’d buy it and call a cab to get home.  I was lucky that day…I forked over the money and took my prize home.  The next day, I called my friend, Amy, who has a frame shop on the West Side, Amy’s Custom Framing.  We made a barter deal for a proper frame and mat – $150 worth.  Amy did a beautiful job on the artwork, and I hung it over the fireplace in my living room.  I’ve never been able to determine the artist’s name – I assume it’s local though.

Since moving to Hammond River a little over a year ago, yard-saling has been more difficult…I don’t have a driver’s license, and Jim doesn’t like getting up early.  However, I was able to make the rounds at the Quispamsis Community Yard Sale last spring.  He even started to get into it, especially after one lady started giving us stuff!  I was buying a computer chair ($10) from her, and Jim had two routers ($2 each).  She pointed out the “free pile,” which contained a dehumidifier and two boxes of computer network cable that Jim said were sold retail for about $1 a foot!  We grabbed them!  Other finds that day were an apple peeler for $3; a gooseneck pole lamp for $5; two non-stick muffin pans for $1 each; a laptop bag for $2 for my stepdaughter, Brianna; a pair of Robeez baby shoes for $5 and a nursing pillow for $4 for my unborn granddaughter; and several books.  My daughters, Anna and Hope, got a High School Musical dance game.   Hope even picked up a stuffed teddy bear for our dog, Jake, which he wasted no time destroying!  A month or so later, we went to the Hampton Community Yard Sale, and got a good haul of books, but not much else.

"The best apple peeler ever!" according to my stepson, Devin...

I’m looking forward to the sales again this year…it will be a lot easier getting our purchases into the back of the van instead of the Corolla!
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Seedlings, Saling, Streamers, and School Picture Day…

It’s been a busy week in Hammond River:

1. A week ago Friday, Hope and I were on the way to Giant Tiger to get presents for Dad for his birthday.  As we approached a pedestrian light, Hope observed that it should be the type that makes a noise, “You know, for the deaf people.”

I looked at her and asked, “What did you just say?”

“Oh!” she said sheepishly.  “I meant blind people!”

2. We celebrated Kaylee’s 25th and Dad’s 74th birthday with a combo party last Sunday.  The sun even made an appearance!  We enjoyed sitting out on our deck for a while, although I was dismayed to find that some small animal had chewed a hole in the seat of one of our deck chairs that we just bought last summer!

Kaylee reading in the background while Elise plays with her mom's birthday balloon...

 

For dessert, we had pound cake (thanks for the recipe, Lenore!), and chocolate cinnamon cake:

Kaylee's Birthday Cake...decorated by Anna...note to self: remember that Kaylee loves pound cake but doesn't like cream cheese icing!

Dad's Birthday Cake, decorated by Brianna...

3. Seedlings.  Monday was a holiday for Canadians: Queen Victoria’s birthday.  I took advantage of the lack of precipitation to finally get seeds planted in the garden!  My seedlings, however, are still hanging out in my back kitchen, waiting to go outside.  It’s supposed to be decent weather tomorrow, so I’m planning to stay home from the bookstore and get them transplanted!

Mostly tomato seedlings, with peppers at bottom left and brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, and bunching onions in two trays at top left

4. Saling.  Saturday was the Annual Quispamsis Yard Sale.   It was misty, but not really raining, so Jim and I and the girls piled into the van, equipped with our highlighted map…we actually got away from the house within 15 minutes of the time we’d planned to leave!  Pickings were fairly slim compared to the first year we went, but I managed to get about $250 worth of books for less than $20!  Jim got a new leather wallet still in the box for a dollar (his old one is like George’s on Seinfeld!), 5 sets of Magnetix building toys for $1 each (which will be kept well out of Elise’s reach!), and a mitre saw for $15.  This was our best buy though:

My New Old China Cabinet (minus the shelves - we took them out to clean them)...reflections of my dining table in the glass

This china cabinet was sitting with a sign that said “Make an Offer” on it…it was filthy…I fell in love immediately!  After Jim saw me get all excited about it (and some discussion about where we would put it), he made an offer (I told him it could be my birthday present)!  After a little dickering, he got the cabinet as well as a bright green desk and chair for Brianna for $120.  Hope and I cleaned up the cabinet last night, and it already looks way better than it did when we bought it!  I’m planning to put my mom’s collections and some of my other family knickknacks in it.

5. Streamers.  I spent yesterday catching up on laundry, seven loads to be exact…I should have it all folded by Tuesday!  Dad worked on deerproofing the garden.  He installed the poles we got a few weeks ago, and strung them with string and streamers.  I hope it will do the trick!

Our (hopefully) deerproof fence...we are officially country folks now...only the best families have yellow caution tape flying from string in their back yards!

6. School Picture Day.  Wednesday, June 1st has been designated as School Picture Day by Clay Morgan at EduClaytion.  I will be participating along with my friends Leanne Shirtliffe (Ironic Mom), possibly Chase McFadden (Some Species Eat Their Young) and a bunch of other folks.  You’re invited too…just dig out your yearbook photos, write a little post, and then link up on Wednesday!

Graphic courtesy of ironicmom.com...

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It’s My Birthday, and I’ll Pie If I Want To…

Today is my 49th birthday…yes, I know…it’s very hard to believe!  I am fortunate and grateful for good genes and good health!

We woke up early this morning, as we had planned to go to St. Martins for the Town-Wide Community Yard Sale they were having as part of Old Home Week…I love yard sales (see https://writerwoman61.wordpress.com/2010/03/30/yard-sales-the-thrill-of-victory-and-the-agony-of-the-feet/).  We had planned to leave the house at 8 a.m.  We did well to get out the door by 8:20…after stops at the Credit Union and the gas station, we were on our way.

Passing through Fairfield, we saw our first “Garage Sale” sign.  It was in front of a shabby country house with even shabbier outbuildings.  Anna decided to stay in the van – she said it looked “too sketchy” for her to get out.  The rest of us (minus Devin, who hates shopping) headed up the driveway towards a large garage.  It was a complete surprise: inside, an older man in overalls greeted us warmly and made small talk about the weather.  Everything was laid out neatly on tables, or displayed on pegboards along the walls. I found a pretty Ironstone cream and sugar set made by Ridgway in the Jacobean Brown pattern.  I paid $3.

This is the matching cup and saucer for my cream and sugar...

Jim found another bird feeder (just what he needs)…one with small holes for finches.  Hope bought some jewellery.  I found a book I might have purchased had it not been musty-smelling.  We headed back to the van.

Our first stop in St. Martins was the Village Market Building.  This was where the Book Fair was advertised to be.  Unfortunately, there were very few books, and a lot of yard sale stuff.  Jim took Hope in search of a washroom while I bought three books for $7.  Once Jim got back, we headed down the very busy Main St.  We decided the best course of action would be to get out and walk. 

After a couple of hours walking and shopping (along with an ice cream break and another pee break), we had accumulated some more treasures: two more books ($2), a Beanie baby bear, a ceiling fixture with a fan, a large clamp, a Five-Star binder, and a pair of soundproofing headphones.  We were tired and hot, and close to one of Jim’s and my favourite places in St. Martins: Fiori’s Restaurant (see https://writerwoman61.wordpress.com/2010/05/07/eating-around-new-brunswick/).

This is Hope's Beanie Baby bear for July...her birthday is the 31st...

We went in…Brianna added a tongue and eyebrows to the happy face drawn on the whiteboard beside the door…I quickly herded the family in and we sat down at a table.

The restaurant was busier than usual…one waitress was running her buns off!  She took our beverage orders: Brianna ordered “Chocolate From The Cow.” Then we studied the menu, some of us longer than others:  Hope took forever to decide what she wanted…after another bathroom break, she finally landed on the children’s breakfast with a pancake (Jim told her he’d pay extra to get sausage and bacon). 

Jim had the Mexican Fiesta Platter (which is what he usually orders).  Brianna ordered the Chicken Caesar Salad in a tortilla bowl.  Anna settled for the BLT Wrap, and I had the Veggie Panini.

Everybody’s food was excellent: the Ciabatta bread in my Panini was amazing!  The filling was tomatoes, cucumber and baby spinach.  A side salad with lettuce, cucumber, dried blueberries, and raspberry vinaigrette completed the plate.  I ate every bite (including Anna’s dried blueberries!).

The waitress was still having difficulty keeping up, so one of the owners, Mike Fiori, came out of the kitchen to clear our table.  He told us a story about an artist who lived across the street.  When the waitress came over, I asked what the desserts were today:  She advised that there were three kinds of cheesecake, Death by Chocolate cake, a brownie with brownie frozen yogurt and caramel syrup, or pecan pie (all desserts are homemade by Barb Fiori).  I informed her that since it was my birthday, I would have the pecan pie.  The staff brought out my piece of pie with a birthday candle stuck in the top, and they were singing, “Happy Birthday!”  I wasn’t a bit embarrassed!  Mike said I must be “29”!  I agreed that I was “29 again.”  That pie was absolutely heavenly (of course, I’ve rarely met a pie I didn’t like, except cream pies!).  Jim, Anna and Hope had the blueberry cheesecake, and Brianna polished off every bite of her “Death by Chocolate” cake.

Heavenly Pecan Pie...

The best part of the meal (besides the fact that I didn’t have to pay for it) was that five of us ate for $76 and change…great healthy food including dessert and taxes!

We were all stuffed as we walked back to the van…

When we got home, I headed for my computer…wow…lots of my friends had sent me birthday messages!  I thanked them all, and then caught up with some of my friends’ blogs (check out the links on the right – not a bad writer among them!).  The kids gave me their presents (Dad gave me some money earlier in the week to get my hair done): Hope gave me a gift card for Shoppers Drug Mart, Devin gave me small earphones for the computer at the store (so I can listen to music, but still hear the customers come in), and Anna and Brianna gave me big headphones for my computer at home (so I can drown out the sound of the TV or the kids’ music while I listen to mine!).  Jim and I are going tomorrow to pick out my big gift from him: a new bike!  Kaylee, Scott and Elise are coming over for supper tomorrow night too.  I finally bought a playpen for when Elise comes over…she finds every bit of lint on my living room rug when she’s here, and tries to eat it!

Kaylee, Elise and Scott in June of this year...

After the presents, Jim, Anna and Brianna took off for Hampton – Jim had arranged to photograph a friend’s wedding, and took the girls along as helpers.  Devin helped me hook up my new headphones, and then I looked up my St. Martins book purchases: not bad – spent $9, and got about $105 U.S. worth of books.  I was pleased…

I paid $3 for this book...it will be listed online for $20 U.S.

Hope was happy too…her friend who just moved to Miramichi was in town visiting her dad, and invited her over to go swimming…Hope had been feeling left out about not getting to go to the wedding, but she was okay now!  Off she went with her friend.

Dad and I watched one of the Ron James DVDs that I got him for his birthday…I love that guy…he’s hilarious!  It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve seen it – it’s still funny!

This is the DVD we watched tonight...there are three more...

So…it’s been a good day (and the only work I’ve done is make supper)…I’m still looking forward to the birthday party at Jim’s mom’s on Wednesday (that’s his 48th birthday – she’s having a party for both of us).  I’ll post pictures of that too!

Thanks to everyone who made this last birthday of my forties a happy one!

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Monday Mishmash…

The Queen of Procrastinators strikes again…I have let several days go by without posting…I apologize for the delay.  Here’s what I’ve been up to:

1. We celebrated Dad’s 73rd birthday on Wednesday night…his actual birthday was the 28th, but not everyone was going to be around on Friday, so we moved it up.  We had lasagna, and German chocolate cake for dessert (I bought the cake – it was good, though!).  Hope gave him a “Grandad” mug she bought with her own money, and Jim and I ordered a set of Ron James DVD’s for him (which haven’t arrived in the mail yet).  For those who don’t know who Ron James is, he is a hilarious Canadian comedian from Nova Scotia, who once visited our store (he collects “Big/Little” books).  He’s kind of a Canadian version of Robin Williams – ADHD on wheels.  Check out his website:  http://ronjames.ca/

The Birthday Boy...

2.  Wednesday night was the first night we saw hummingbirds at our feeders – we have determined that we have at least three of them: a pair of ruby-throated hummingbirds (a male and a female), and possibly a second female, but she has different colouration.  Anna saw all three at the same time once.  Here are some photos Jim took:

Male Ruby-Throated Hummingbird...

The Mystery Guest...

Female Ruby-Throated Hummingbird...

3. When I went out to water the garden on Wednesday night, I was delighted to discover that some of the seeds I’d planted on the weekend had sprouted…several kinds of lettuce and greens were up!  Unfortunately, there seems to be a bug that has something against my yellow beans – they have been chewed down to the nub in most cases – it started with holes in the leaves, then the leaves disappeared.  I didn’t really like yellow beans anyway…

4.  I spent most of Thursday and Friday at the store assessing books.  We are to the point where I have no idea where we’re going to put the next bunch that walks in the door…my chair is surrounded by boxes now (I have eight boxes to put away!).  We need a room-stretcher (and more shelves).  Hope was off school on Friday, so we had Chinese food for lunch.

5. Saturday morning, Jim and I and the girls got up early and headed out for the Quispamsis Town-Wide Yard Sale (Devin is not a shopper, so he enjoyed some extra hours of sleep).  We had picked up the map at the grocery store a couple of weeks ago, and I had carefully mapped out a logical route (which Jim estimated would take in excess of eight hours to complete – we had 4-and-a-half!).  Jim got a palm sander for $10.  I found a beautiful painting of a blonde cocker spaniel that looked like the one my dad had when he was a kid (although Dad said the dog in the painting looked “too intelligent” to be his dog).  I also got a lovely art deco painting for a dollar (I will take it to my friend, Amy, to have it reframed).  The kids picked up a few small things too – Hope was happy to get a karaoke machine for $3 to continue her singing.  About noon, we started smelling something burning – our van had an issue with its brakes, so we dropped it off at home and picked up the car instead.  Our last stop was an estate sale: they had lots of old books, and I bought a boxfull.  I totalled up my finds today – for the $25 I spent, I got over $725 worth of books!  Not a bad haul…

6. We stopped and picked up a new hose and nozzle on Saturday before going home…it made a big difference when I watered my garden on Saturday night!  Talk about “more power!”  A package of cinnamon buns also forced its way into my cart at grocery – have no idea how that happened!  We had pizza and some of last year’s spinach (fresh from the garden!) for supper – nothing tastes as good as just-picked veggies!

7.  I spent Sunday morning trying to get caught up with laundry (which has been badly neglected since I’ve been gardening in the evenings).  I washed and dried five loads, and folded about eight (still some there from last week).  Poor Anna informed me that she didn’t have any shorts that fit (funny…her pile of clothes was bigger than anybody’s…).  In between loads, I made clam chowder and started rereading “The Pilot’s Wife” by Anita Shreve – it is our next book for book club, and since I read it last September, I felt the need to read it again (especially since I’d suggested it – I thought I should at least know the character’s names when we talk about it!).  I loved it the first time!

The Pilot's Wife...

8. Sunday afternoon, Jim and Anna and I went to see the Shrek 4 movie: Shrek Forever After.  I enjoyed the soundtrack, and there were a couple of funny lines, but it didn’t come close to the first one.  One of my friends commented about how “dark” the movie was.  I got some new Mint Crisp M&M’s at the dollar store to eat at the movie…they were yummy!  We saw a double rainbow on the way home…

M&M Mint Crisp...Mmmm...

 9. I was happy to discover last night that I had several more new seedlings in the garden…morning glories, sunflowers, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, brussels sprouts, a few tomatoes, and a couple varieties of winter squash.  I expect the sweet peas and pumpkins to be up soon.  No sign of carrots, peppers, broccoli or cauliflower yet (except for carrots, these are seeds I replanted directly in the garden last weekend after Jake destroyed the ones I planted in the house).  The peas and broad beans are doing well, as are the pole and bush beans.  My weeding last night was interrupted by a brief thunderstorm…I wish it had rained a little longer…it’s been dry.

10. This morning on the way to town, we saw a “fisher” cross the road in front of the car…it’s kind of like a big weasel, and apparently is the only animal able to eat porcupines without suffering any ill effects from the quills (they also eat cats and small dogs, as well as mice, squirrels, and rabbits).  The one we saw was about three feet long…neat to see!

A fisher climbing a tree...don't try to pet this guy...

I continue to enjoy the posts my blogging sisters are writing lately…it amazes me how much we seem to have in common with each other!  They are amazingly gifted writers – each has her own special style.  I look forward to Jane and Nancy’s return to regular posting…I miss you girls!

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