I’m just a flea market floozie…

Yesterday was my birthday trip to the world’s largest and greatest flea market EVER:  Canton, Texas.  As they say: If you can’t find it in Canton, you just can’t find it.  And it’s true!  Yesterday I saw everything from a disassembled full-sized windmill to a 1960’s Lady Clairol bejeweled electric razor.

I brought along two helpers, my dear Jason and one of my dearest bestest friends, JJ (who is also a man, yes we made an odd trio).  Anyhoo,  so as always we hit the ‘Unreserved’ section, which has the highest percentage of the Junk-Which-Is-Most-Likely-To-Come-Home-With-Me.  First things being first, after over an hour in the car, and being as I’m getting older, we had to locate the “facilities”.  Granted, I wasn’t to the “I’m-Gonna-Wet-Myself” phase, but still…

After locating Bathroom #1, I just had to laugh.  There was a line of no less than ten women standing on the outside of the bathroom door.  Yeah, right.  So, after another 5 minute walk, we came to Bathroom #2.  I was initially on the Exit side, and thought, “Oh thank YOU, Lord…no line.”  Well, got around to the Entrance side and there were NO LESS THAN 30 WOMEN in line.  I marched back over to my helpers and wondered aloud the following:

“What are they DOING in there?  Why do women take so long?  I mean, I can really only think of TWO THINGS that you’d normally do in a bathroom stall, and I’m willing to bet that most are in there for the FIRST reason!  Are they having a social mixer in there? This is ludicrous!”  Please allow me to further elaborate that these are NOT the kind of facilities that you’d want to spend any more time than absolutely necessary.  Allow me to explain, please.  First off, if you’re expecting a stall with a door, you’re kidding yourself.  Virtually all of the bathrooms are door-less, but they were nice enough to give you a shower curtain. Okay, I can handle that.  But, where they really went wrong is that the stall depth, when seated upon your potty, is only adequate for toddlers and possibly (is this P.C.???) little people.  I hate to use the word “midget” or “dwarf”, but this is what I mean by little people.  Therefore, at my perfectly normal and average height of five foot four, my knees extend from the stall by a good couple of inches. And they have the dreaded ‘Grade School Height Toilets”.  You know, the ones that you have to do almost a full squat to reach and your legs fall asleep? Yep, that, too.  Also, forget the possibility of any hooks for your bags.  So here you are in a row of about 50 stalls, squatted down eight inches off the ground, trying to balance your cumbersome upcycled, bulky shopping bags/purse, with your knees hitting a creepy shower curtain and sticking out further than your stall, just praying that you won’t topple over into the waiting throng of women and rip down the shower curtain, exposing your bum and spilling every content of your purse/bag on the concrete floor.  It’s a fun game, let me tell you.  I probably have quads of steel after all that exercise, not to mention the balance ability of an Olympic gymnast.

Finally, after we had reached Bathroom #3 (a little known facility next to a tool salesman and a pan flute CD vendor), I noticed there was no line.  YES!  I found an empty stall, and after taking the absolute minimum time, I turned to flush.  No flush.  I won’t go into details, but normally the rule in our house is: “If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.”  This didn’t really meet the “Mellow” category, either.  What to do?  I got out, snapped the shower curtain shut and informed the line of about 5 perfectly good strangers that this toilet indeed did NOT flush and whomever chose to go in would get a ‘nice surprise’.  That’s just how it went down.  Or not.  Anyway.  On to shopping!!!

Fairly quickly, I found my own version of Heaven:  three huge long rows of all items for a dollar.  I quickly snapped up a pair of Japanese tomato salt and pepper shakers, a Japanese ceramic potbellied stove, which was a pincushion and a measuring tape, several old farm journals, a baking pan, some calligraphy pens, and more.  Apparently, dollar tables were a big hit yesterday, because I found every last one of them.  Poor, long-suffering Jason and JJ shook their heads as I oohed and ahhhed over every vintage dollar-priced piece.  “Oh, but doesn’t everyone need a ceramic owl/thermometer?  What about this embroidered Kleenex box cover?  I mean, someone out there put a lot of work into this…”  Jason drifted off to tool vendors, JJ, just being along for the ride and the sights, was stuck with me while I pondered every piece of nostalgia known to mankind.  “Oh, look at this hand-powered sharpening stone! And this hand-powered drill!  Isn’t that awesome?”  I don’t really know why I was wasting my breath;  JJ and I are virtually  incapable of changing out wiper blades on a car and can injure ourselves with a screwdriver.  It’s not like we are mechanically-gifted people. Still, you get caught up in the nostalgia, no matter what the thing is.

After eight hours of meandering through miles of junk-filled tables, we were ready to call it a day.  We typically end our day with the reward of a funnel cake, so that’s what we did.  What I didn’t realize was that the vendor made his funnel cakes the size of a small table.  As he handed us our cake, I wasn’t really sure how we were ever going to even BEGIN to finish this thing, even with three people attacking it.  So, we all were laden with bags, and I balanced the funnel cake waitress-like with one hand and my bags on my other shoulder, and off we went.  I took my first bite and literally inhaled a breath-full of powdered sugar.  Note to self:  Never breathe in whilst taking a bite of sugar-laden funnel cake.   As the guys were laughing, JJ took his bite and also inhaled sugar.  With both of us intermittently gasping for breath/laughing our heads off, I’m sure we looked a pair.  Then, a woman walking beside us sidled up to us and said,”Didja breathe in some of that sugar?” Well, thank God weren’t the only morons who had had that happen before.

Following my pioneering dear, sweet husband back to the truck, I began to realize that we were getting to the edge of the vendors, but I couldn’t see any way to actually reach the truck.  “No, you have to cross the creek.  See?  It’s right down here.”  After nearly falling over a vendor’s trailer hitch and losing the funnel cake and all my pride, I looked down, down, down, and there was Jason, literally crossing a creek.  Not at an official crossing, mind you…no, we had to slide down a bank, walk through the (mostly dry) creek, and climb to the other side.  Now how in the hell was I supposed to balance a giant funnel cake bigger than my head and 5 inches tall, and two bags and make it across?  I couldn’t help but think I’d surely be on YouTube within five minutes of this incident that was about to happen.  Jason crossed first, then JJ.  I somehow managed to slide down the bank with no incident.  As I was attempting to walk up the (steep) bank to reach for Jason’s outstretched hand, I couldn’t help but notice him gyrating wildly, like he had an imaginary hula hoop contest with himself.

Me:  “What are you doing?”

J: “I have to go to the bathroom!!! HURRY!”

Without embarrassing my dear husband, let me just say that when this man has to go, he has to GO immediately, Do Not Pass Go, Do NOT Collect $200, and stay out of  this man’s way unless you want to be injured.  Well, between the powdered sugar, my exhaustion, and the situation unfolding in front of my eyes with a wildly gyrating man with eyes about to pop out of his skull and me balancing my precious funnel cake in a creek, I got to laughing so hard that tears ran down both cheeks.  There was no way possible I could reach up and grab his hand.  JJ was absolutely no help, either.  Holding his sides, he, too, was crying on the banks of the creek.  When I looked up next, Jason was gone and here were two idiots on the banks of some obscure creek in the middle of nowhere, balancing a plate full of funnel cake and 50 dollars worth of dollar-priced items.  Needless to say, with the help off JJ, I did make it up that creek and back to the truck.  Sadly, by the time we got there, the cake was already cold and greasy and none of us even wanted the stupid thing anyway.  But it made for a good story, didn’t it?

Can’t wait to go back and do it all again.  Maybe next month?


Bit of a Change

Okay, so I’m tired of the whole Martha Stewart-look blog, so I’m trying something new.  You’re talking to a person who used to re-arrange furniture every two months, after all.  Enjoy.

TV Free

So about 2 years ago, our Directv box bit the dust.  Just plain up and died, as they say.  We made a decision at that time to not request a replacement, get to the end of our contract and see how we felt about it.  Obviously, we didn’t miss it too much.  We still have the tv, a DVD player, and we do subscribe to Netflix.  We also watch YouTube or Hulu occasionally.  So, we’re not completely without a television.  Does that make us a bit more “normal”?

If you ever want to be considered a total weirdo, cut off your tv service and tell people about it.  You might as well tell them that you had your dead dog freeze dried so it could ‘live forever’, or that your collectible dolls speak to you.  Trust me.

The truth of the matter is that by ditching tv programs, it gives you gobs of time.   It’s very easy to flip on the boob tube and zone out for an hour or two or more.  You would be shocked at how long the day becomes when you aren’t watching Dancing with D-List Celebrities or Kim Kardashian’s 80th Wedding and Subsequent Divorce.  Now how you fill up that time is just as important.  I get easily sucked into staring at my laptop, which I feel is even worse than tv.  After all, the internet is also interactive…you seek and so you shall find.  And I can look up stuff all day.  So, I’ve been limiting that mostly for when I wake up and right before I go to bed.

Another bonus for parents who scrap the tv is the lack of kid commercials.  No commercials mean no begging for junky toys that will end up at Goodwill or in a yard sale anyway.  I’ll never forget the year that my then-3 year old could sing the Peek-A-Boo Barbie jingle.  It was cute, but also a little scary and a LOT annoying when she would beg for every single toy that came across the screen.

So about a month ago, I asked the kids what they wanted for Christmas, and I told them to pick three things.  Now, normally you know that most kids can fill up pages and pages of toys that they want (we’ve all seen the lists printed in the newspaper, right?), but my kids just sat there.  They thought and thought.  After about 15 minutes, they came up with: pajamas, a gold locket, and a fleece horse blanket.  Nothing name brand, and NO TOYS.  That’s worth losing the boob tube right there!

Last of all is the cost of having service.  We were paying, taxes included, about fifty eight dollars a month for the bare bones minimum service.  That was with 2 receivers.  The fees for service seem to go up astronomically every year.  At one time we could get the same thing for a little under forty dollars, tax included.  So, I am saving almost $700 a year right there, which is going straight into paying off debts.

My husband calls tv the ‘living room billboard’, which, if you stop to think about it, that’s exactly what it is.  You are paying to have endless commercials pumped straight into your home.  And who really likes commercials?  Isn’t that why they came up with the whole TiVo/DVR thing to skip past them?  It becomes very apparent when you have been tv-less for a while and go to a person’s house who has one on.  I swear I nearly threw up while my friends had ‘The Doctors’ on the other day.  I just wanted to stick my finger down my throat.  I’d much rather be out in my garden pulling weeds or sitting in the chicken pen, throwing scratch to the hens.  I suppose that my biggest issue with the entire thing is that it makes you stay indoors, and we are almost never indoors unless it’s very hot or very cold.  I just do not believe that anyone or anything was meant to stay inside for an extended period of time.

So now that you’re squinching up your face, wondering if I talk to glass-eyed dolls all day, I’ll leave you with this:

In eighth grade, we had this fad going where we collected keychains with tacky and/or witty sayings.  My favorite was always “I’m not weird, I’m gifted.” I still have it and I’m gonna go with that!

The Three Year Reflection

As of October 18th of this year, we have been living on our farm for three years, and entering our fourth.  So what have I learned since last year?  Well, probably not much, I’d say!  This summer pretty much melted any last remnant of a brain cell I had left, but I’ll try….

1.  If I have said this already, I apologize, but here goes:  Don’t plant what you won’t eat.  Sounds ridiculously simple, doesn’t it?  But what another farm woman once said to me always rings in my ears every time I’m wading through 47 tons of banana peppers.  I can grow a banana pepper like you won’t believe, but I don’t eat them.  How dumb is that?  Sure we chop one up now and then and add it in our eggs, and I tried my hand at canning them, but they just ain’t my thang.  So why do I currently have about 10 plants out in my garden fully loaded?  Beats me.  But I’m telling YOU not to do that.  So when I get tempted by those little banana pepper plants in the spring, I’ll toss them to the side this time!  Seriously though, why waste your time and water to take care of something that you will end up composting?  Just don’t!

2.  Good fences make sane farmers.  Okay, just go ahead and forget those idyllic, pastoral scenes of a farm that we grew up with in story books.  If you are to have any sanity whatsoever, you have to put up good fences to keep your livestock contained and separated, and to keep predators out.  Just go ahead and forget that image you have of Mr. Pig, a flock of chickens (many with chicks), Mr. Horse, and various other critters all happily intermingling in perfect harmony whilst standing in your garden.

Let me tell you what really happens.  Chickens allowed in your garden can totally destroy a tomato crop in minutes, not to mention eat up all of the winter rye you just set out (ask me how I know this).  They also make the biggest most God-awful mess you’ve ever seen out of your garden paths.  Oh, and they also loooooove to make their sand bath pits right by your baby blueberry bushes, which leads to their demise.  Not to mention the fact that they enjoy flying over their (too low) fence into the neighbor’s yard, which contains two chicken-eating dogs.

Goats eat just about everything.  That also includes your newly transplanted grapevines and your new herb garden.

Pigs will eat a chicken.  Don’t ask.

Geese leave Chihuahua sized grass poo pretty much wherever you even thought about stepping.

Turkeys love watermelon leaves.  Not the vines so much, just the leaves.  And figs.  Lots of figs.  Hope you didn’t want any melons or figs this year!

The point is, I have seen many people posting about their critters in total desperation.  Either the critters ate up their garden/messed up their yard or porch or whatever/got eaten by a predator.  You can’t just get animals and then have no proper place to put them.  For your sake and theirs, get up some  strong, good fences and a secure place to pen them up at night to avoid those unwanted surprises.  Like fresh goose poo between your toes or your melon patch completely devoid of leaves.

3.  Don’t forget the most important animal enclosure of all….your home!  I don’t know how we managed to stay sane over the past 2.5 winters.  Seriously, last Christmas I was hoping Santa would bring me a blowtorch and a can of gas to rid myself of our freezing abode.  It’s one thing to be a bit chilly in your house; quite another to be wearing 2 pair of socks, 3 pair of pants, 3 shirts, a robe, a hat, and a quilt and still be cold.  I’m pretty sure that the chicken coop was warmer.  If it is at all possible to use some extra funds to upgrade your living situation, I say go for it.  I’m not talking about a 60″ TV, either.  We’re talking about insulation, new electric wiring, new (non-leaky) plumbing fixtures, new roof, etc.  This year was a major year for us in the Home Improvement department.  In February, we insulated the attic big time, and by August, we had invested in a new roof and all new cedar and cypress siding.  Not to mention all of the little stuff we’ve done in-between, like fix leaky pipes and stuff like that.  No reason for the chickens to be living in more comfortable quarters than you are!


Year Three sure was over in a flash.  I still haven’t canned much this year (SHAME!), but I do have a freezer overflowing with tomatoes and fruit.  Guess you can see what’s in my future!  It also came complete with OVER 80 DAYS OF 100+ DEGREE HEAT.  May I long be gone (after having lived to an old age, of course) before that ever happens again!  Well, here’s to Number Four…