Monthly Archives: July 2013

The Cold Room


When I was a kid, and our family lived with my grandparents, one of my favorite places was “the cold room”.

It was at the far end of the 2 room basement, on the back wall of my grandfather’s workshop.  To a little girl, the basement was a scary place -dark, and dreary, only partly finished, with some creaky linoleum in one room,  a b & w tv,  a chair, and a freezer chest ( I remember the cover of that freezer chest coming down one time and hitting my grandmother in the head- she may have had to get stitches!).

The basement had 5 windows, as I recall, 2 in the partly finished room, and 3 in Poppy’s workshop. The windows were small, rectangular casement windows that were above the outside window wells- their height even with the grass. There was not alot of light coming thru those windows, even on the brightest of days.

The best time for me to be in the basement was when my grandfather was at his woodworking bench.  Poppy always had time for me and my probably endless questions, and then, after bothering him a bit, I would wander over to the cold room.

The cold room was exactly that – COLD!!! I later came to learn, it’s real name was the COAL room! The house was built in the early 1900’s, so that little room was where the coal was stored- or so the story goes………

Even as a child, I had to duck my head to go into this little cubby.  Up a couple of wooden stepladder type steps, and down  2 or 3 stone steps.  Thinking back- I now think this space may have also stored all the canning jars of food put up way back then. There were narrow wooden shelves along the walls..they were perfect for stacking canning jars.

During the time my grandparents lived there,  those shelves held what to me seemed an endless supply of BOOKS!!

Worlds to travel to, stories to ignite one’s imagination- I was in cold heaven!!!

This was in the 1950’s -very early 60’s – but the books were from the 30’s, 40’s and maybe some 50’s.

It was here I first encountered Tarzan thru’ the words and imagination of Edgar Rice Burroughs ( and later the tv version with Johnny Weismuller!), the books of Albert Payson Terhune (I think I have read them all), Black Beauty, Bobbsey Twins, Judy Bolton, Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, and who can forget Maida and her journeys all over the world.
nancy drew hagrid cornered

brandes book

There was also The Wonderland of Knowledge- an ancient encyclopedia set that I used for research, outdated as it was, for reports in elementary school. The encyclopedias were later moved upstairs to a bookshelf in the front foyer for easy access. That’s how I did my “googling”, without a nearby library, and in a  pre -computer world!

That little cold room was my own personal vintage library….

I think Grandma’s book collection set me on a lifetime path of reading – I was an amateur bibliophile in the works- and now, I can’t seem to pass up a vintage book that needs a home!!!




Whenever I open an old book, and the scent of timeworn pages surrounds me- I am taken back to that “cold room”,  good memories of  time spent with  Grandma and Poppy, and the happy memories of escaping to  exciting new worlds with the characters within those  hardback covers……..



book cover
PS- pictures just supplied by my brother, who recently drove by the old homestead- it may spoil your mind’s eye image of the house- it has been changed over the years, altho’ lovingly kept up and updated.If I can find my old pic of the original house, I will add it to this post….

Bottom right of the house, in the foundation is a tiny window- that one was over Poppy's workbench- the  cold room would have been under the front of the house, far left of the foundation in this pic

Bottom right of the house, in the foundation is a tiny window- that one was over Poppy’s workbench- the cold room would have been under the front of the house, far left of the foundation in this pic

Front of the house VERY updated- lots of trees and shrubbery are no longer there- all windows have been replaced, bay window added to the front parlor (there were tall individual windows all around that room, replaced by one bay)

Front of the house VERY updated- lots of trees and shrubbery are no longer there- all windows have been replaced, bay window added to the front parlor (there were tall individual windows all around that room, replaced by one bay)


Artful Gardens


Art is everywhere- flowers are the most art-full of all things….

I may plant them, but Mother Nature is the true artist. I provide the “paper”, she creates them every year.

Our gardens here at Mountain Meadows have a long way to go before they might be eligible for a spread in Country Living, Architectural Digest, or Country Gardens……but, we love them anyway. They are a work in progress. Sometimes, the flowers don’t wait for us to place them – they just show up- volunteering to bloom, in a place they see fit!!!

My coneflower garden was purposely put there- taking volunteers who kept trying to bloom in my herb garden!! I decided these needed a home of their own – and they finally got the hint!!!


Teasel grows wild – everywhere but near me- so I finally got some to grow right outside my basement door. I love it for dried arrangements in the fall. Bees love it now!!





Day lilies are in bloom along the sides of fields and the roads. The bloom lasts one day, dies, and then the next one opens. They are VERY prolific. The old farmhouse garden is so filled with them, that alot don’t even bloom. 6 years into living here, and I finally convinced Mr. Green Jeans I need HELP moving and thinning these out!!!



Lavender is also in bloom – as I try to furiously weave lavender wands each day, from the tall English lavender bed in my front garden.


My cactus flowers are starting to slow down now – their bright yellow bloom also lasts for only a day – but there are many new ones each day.



The baby magnolia, will probably never be a grownup in my lifetime!! There were 5 blooms this year…….so, if you are planning on getting a magnolia tree – if you can afford it, go for the big one!! They are slow growers….



The vegetable garden is starting to produce – this small harvest was from last night – crook neck squash (from Baker Heirloom Seeds), zucchini, several kinds of heirloom string beans, snap peas,  snow peas, and after a rough start – basil is doing well!! Can’t wait for the corn, amaranth, melons, tomatoes, eggplants…….


Every day, the blackberries are ripening and being thoroughly enjoyed by me!!! I haven’t even made it to the wild berry patch in the woods, my homegrown patch is doing so well!! Mint and hops are flourishing within  the berry patch too!!



Thought I would just share a little view of Mother Nature’s floral works of art around the farm – time to get off the computer, and get pickin’ ….all is well, bright, and sunny, at Mountain Meadows this morning…….



Evolution of a Free Spirit Totem


While skimming thru Facebookland, I came across a post and picture that turned into a “prompt” for me!!!

Vintage Supplies showed a photo of one of their Outsider Spirit Dolls, and I thought maybe I should try that!

                                                                                         How hard could it be???

I knew I had an old sculpy face in a tin somewhere – one of my earlier failed attempts of years ago (I am much better at sculpting now!)- that would be perfect to use for this project!!

All the rest of the items would be scraps and flotsam and thingamabobs from my stash pile.

The armature was made of  twigs- so I picked some curly Harry Lauder Walking Stick branches that I have been saving for just such an occasion!

Now, keep in mind, the doll that inspired this had no legs- but I thought mine should have some. HA!

 Well, when this creature was finished- he/she was hideous!!! I felt like I wasted 2 perfectly good hours that could have been better spent elsewhere!!!

hagrid perga The Eggery totem

I was planning to tie him/her to the outside of chicken coop- let him/her be their totem- and let the elements have at him/her!!!  Weathering could only make this error in judgement  BETTER!!!

Then, I decided, why waste this perfectly gorgeous wool roving, and the expensive doll eyes…..sooooo, I started to dismantle the little stick being. As it was – attaching the sculpy face was none too successful – all I got were hands full of different kinds of glue – which, in the end- only held the face in place for about an hour!!!

 Surprisingly, while ripping the face off and taking it apart, a new and much more appealing  spirit emerged.

Faceless, she was more intriguing, and had a new lilt in her step. With her vintage lace capelet, and chicken feather adornments, she blithely ran along the stone wall of the herb garden. I could tell, even SHE was happier not being weighed down and judged by that unfortunate face!!!!



Finally- stripped down to her very base “self “, with a tuft of wool hair waving in the breeze- the once ugly spirit had evolved…….