Thursday, December 03, 2015

The Dish cabinet.

One of the things that I like to do is to restore furniture.  Specifically furniture that I will use and that has belonged to someone else in the family.  I've done a dresser, a library table, the Hoosier, and others that aren't coming to mind right now.  This most recent project is exactly like all the rest, it was a piece of furniture that belonged to the family.  I really thought I'd taken a picture of it "before", but I can't find it now.  Maybe I never did take that picture, but always thought I should take it.  That would be completely in character!

Sitting in the garage, ready for its new home!
 This cabinet belonged to Grandma and Grandad Woodruff.  Before the tornado, it sat in the kitchen, right inside the kitchen door, to the right hand side.  It's a solid black walnut cabinet, probably homemade.  There aren't any shippers marks or makers marks anywhere on the piece.  Grandma didn't have a "modern" kitchen, she had this cabinet and the Hoosier and I think the sink had a few cabinets under it.  This cabinet was the home of her dishes.  Silverware went in the drawers.  Under the drawers, she kept those dishes she didn't need as often. Boxes of cereal were kept on top. On the south end of the cabinet (or left side as you look at it), they kept a wire hanger that had been un-twisted.  Then they'd stick all their receipts on that wire.  Sometimes, it was behind the cabinet, but later in the year, it would stick out to the side.

After the tornado, Grandma and Grandad moved to town and left this cabinet in the basement. (Which was covered by a metal roof to protect everything they left at the farm.)  About 3 years ago, I finally convinced Kevin to bring this cabinet home for us to restore.  It sat in the garage until this October when we finally decided to get it restored and to give it to Andy.   So, we washed it and assessed its condition.

We knew there was some termite damage.  Everything stored in the basement suffered in varying degrees with terminate damage.  (The termites were discovered and eradicated during the 80's, after Grandad died.)  So, Kevin looked at the cabinet to decide what he would have to do.  I thought all the termite tracks could simply be filled in with wood putty, but Kev disagreed.  He took the back off, which was a walnut tongue and groove.  It was so brittle that it splintered when he tried to remove it.

One of the shelves was too far gone, so Kev pulled it out and replaced it.  Fortunately, he had an old piece of wood that was exactly the right dimensions.  One other shelf he could simply fill in the few tracks with putty.  One front edge, we just sanded the remaining tracks down until they were stable and left it.  One of the lower cabinet shelves had a knot hole about 3 inches in diameter.  The knot had long ago disappeared.  We left the hole.  We also left the spot where mice had chewed into the bottom corner.  There were huge gouges in the top.  Several deep dings in the sides  One of the sides still showed the saw marks. We left it all for character, and because, well, it is an old, beat up cabinet. It had survived at least 7 children and 20 some grandchildren and a tornado.  It's old and it's a survivor.  We wanted those scars to be a part of its story.

We bought some new tongue and groove car siding and replaced the back with new wood.  The top of the cabinet wasn't centered.  One edge was flush with the side of the cabinet, so we pulled it off and centered it.  We had to replace one of the pieces of glass.  All the hardware was sanded to remove rust, but we didn't remove it from the piece because we were afraid of losing screws or stripping them out and we wanted to retain the original as much as possible.

We wanted to keep the character, but we just didn't think staining and refinishing was the answer.  So, I convinced Kev to let me paint it with chalk paint.
 I'd been wanting to use chalk paint on something, and this became my first project.  Andy wanted it to be black.  I chose Rustoleum new line of chalk paint. The inside is painted in Aged Grey and the outside is called Charcoal.  I wasn't sure how we were going to like it once I had it painted, but then I sanded it and distressed it a bit.  And once we got the top coat on, I really quite liked it.  It looks old and rustic, and yet the paint gives it new life.
We took it over to Andy on Thanksgiving day.  My folks helped us deliver and set it up.  Dad thinks his grandad, (Harvey Woodruff) made it for his Grandma.  I wouldn't be surprised.  It had been built using square nails, finish nails,  and 16 penny nails--in other words, whatever was handy and available.  It had been varnished, or waxed, and stained, but not touched in a very long time, so not much of the original finish was left.  I'm not sure if the latch on the bottom doors is original, as there were tiny nail holes right above this latch that looked like it was for a latch.  But, then again, maybe he started to put the latch there and realized it wasn't centered, so moved it down.

I sure wish someone was around who knew the origins of this piece just so I would know and could pass that history on down with it.  It doesn't really matter though.  I'm  very happy we could save it.  I'm even more happy that one of my kids wanted it.  That Andy wanted this part of his roots means a great deal to me.  He never knew my grandparents.  He never knew the farm as it was when they lived there, and yet he wanted a piece of them.  Hopefully, this piece of them will live on for a very long time.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Yoga thoughts

I went to a yoga class on Thursday night and again on Saturday morning.  It was the perfect class for me, it was small.  There were 6 of us each time.  I knew all but two of the ladies.  (Since I'm still a "foreigner" in Bucklin, knowing this many ladies was comforting!)  And, we were all "older", the youngest is in her late 30's.  None of us are without tummy rolls either, which is comforting too!

I had a nice time, enjoyed the work out.  And had these reflections:

1.  I'm more flexible than I thought I was.

2.  My balance isn't what it should be!

3.  I do more yoga poses when I stretch than I ever knew I did!

4.  I know some folks who won't do Yoga because it's a false religion.  So, I enjoyed the irony as we worked out to Christian music.

5.  It all felt really good and I didn't think I worked that hard until I got home and realized that i was tired!

Monday, April 27, 2015

reflections down memory lane

It's been a long time since I've blogged.  Mr. Blue is fine, he's growing and is a handful! But he's a sweetie.  I say he's a smart dog.  Kevin says he's not very smart but what does he know!

I'm kind of in a reflective mood today...on Saturday, My Mom, myself, and my Aunt Sandy (Mom's sister) went on a trip down memory lane.  More their memories than mine, but it was fun.  I drove them down to their Grandparent's homestead.  It's on the Oklahoma border, on the Oklahoma side.  It's now owned by someone outside of the family, but they were kind enough to let us go and explore.  My Great Grandfather settled the place in 1912ish.  (I add the ish because I'm not sure of the exact year they bought the place.  And I think all 12 of their children were born there...probably 10 of the 12 were now that I think about it...)  But I still think they moved there in '12 because my Great Aunt Leatha wanted to hang on to the place so she could be a century landowner.  She was the last person in the family to own the place.  I just wish she'd put some money into it and had taken better care of it...but that's another story for another day.

Mom spent quite a bit of time at her Grandad's place.  The youngest Aunts were 7-10 years older than Mom, and she had 5 older cousins who were there often to play with.  Of course, by the time Sandy came along (10 years after Mom), there were more cousins for her to play with (all boys).  So really, both girls have lots and lots of memories.  I have a few...a very few.  By the time I came along (I'm 10 years younger than Sandy is,) the family had spread out and didn't come home for holidays.  Grandad lived there still with Aunt Florence and she was raising 2 of her grandchildren by then.  Mike and Oleta were my age, so I remember going down and playing with them a bit.  So my memories are very limited compared to Mom's and Sandy's.  But, we walked through the house and they remembered where Grandad's chair sat, where the piano sat, how little the house was for 14 people!  Grandad had built a small "house" right outside the kitchen for the boys to sleep in.  It's called "The Boys house."  It was built on top of the cellar.  But they also had a basement under two rooms of the house.  I know when Grandpa was a boy, all the kids slept some in the basement, until they built the Boys house.  Then the girls got two bedrooms inside the house.  Grandad and Grandma slept in a screened in, unheated porch.  My Grandma said when she first started going there, they still had a dirt floor in their bedroom... (this would have been 1939-1940.)

The doorway to the cellar is starting to fall in now.  In fact, we were careful about going down due to the falling in brick and because of the 6' snake who wanted to stay outside sunning, but kept going into either the brick or down into the cellar because we scared him.  (hey, he made us nervous too!)

We also walked back to the garden areas.  Grandad had built 4 or more dams that he used to irrigate his garden and orchard.  I'm guessing 10 acres of garden and orchard.  Both Mom and Sandy remembered the gardens and the fruit trees.

It was fun for me to listen to them talk about their memories and adventures.

After lunch at Mom's house, we then drove out to where my Grandparents lived...where Mom and Sandy grew up.  Grandpa leased it, but they lived there for 20 years before moving in to town.  Their own house was small...4 rooms.  Let me repeat. FOUR rooms.  A kitchen, the "north" bedroom, Grandma and Grandpa's bedroom and the living room.  Notice the missing bathroom. Mom and Sandy spent a great many years of their childhood without indoor plumbing.  In fact, Mom shared that w hen they moved into this house, they didn't have running water.  Grandpa ran water to the house, but it wasn't until after Sandy was born that they had Hot water.  And the water went to the kitchen only.  (Remember, no bathroom.)

The girls talked about how much stuff grandma had in the kitchen.  Her Hoosier, kitchen cabinets, stove, washing machine, sink and table.  It's not a 10 x 10 room...  Then the girls laughed about every time Grandma added something to the kitchen, something got put in their bedroom (the North bedroom).  Like the Refrigerator, later the freezer, the cream separator, etc.  (In my memories, the North bedroom had those items, but was also where Grandma kept her ceramic supplies.)

I can remember having Mom, Sandy and Grandma taking me out to the Outhouse as a little girl.  But when I was 3 or 4, Grandma and Grandpa finally got a bathroom--by moving in a trailer house and using the bathroom there.  (In those days, you only needed a cess pit.)  And, you know, the kitchen drained through a long pipe outside the house that drained somewhere out in the trees.  (Steve and I used to sit on that pipe, or do flips around it...but only until Grandma came out and yelled at us to get off it!)

The Chicken house has fallen in...the brooder house was still there.  And we walked out to the barn.  I don't have many memories of playing in the barn.  But Mom and Sandy did of course.  My only memory of playing in the barn was when Steve and I were playing in the fleeces of wool--and getting in trouble for it.  The barn is falling down now, but it really was a cool design!  I'm going to take Kevin out.  He'll get a kick out of how it's set up.

We ended our day by finding the trash pit and digging around in it some.  Found some glass jars and other treasures that were partially covered by years of dirt and weeds, but we found it!

I really enjoyed our trip down memory lane and laughing and wondering how our memories meshed and differed.  There are 20 years between the 3 of us...and it was funny what we remembered differently.  For example, we each remembered Grandma's garden in different locations!  And we are all correct because they did move the garden over the years.  But Mom and Sandy argued about if the Windmill was there the entire time.  Mom says yes, I said yes, but Sandy said no.  There is one there now, but it's a newer "model".

My reflectiveness revolves around those who could answer all our questions.  Those who aren't here.  I'd love to ask my Great Grandfather about building those damns.  I would ask if they went dry during the 30's.  I'd ask about why they built a separate building for the boys bedroom instead of just adding on.  Heck, I'd ask WHY they built the house down in the hole instead up above where it was more accessible during bad weather!  I've got a million questions for my grandparents.  It's funny...I asked millions of questions.  That's my job in the family, to ask questions!  But now I have a million more and they aren't here to answer them.  I miss them...