A Gift in the Grain Sacks!

He told me to expect something in one of my boxes of grain sacks.

A present.


In my wildest of dreams, I could not have imagined something as

fantastic as this vest. Made of old lederhosen and a beautifully-

worn and patched grain sack!                                                                          

I couldn’t have been more surprised or thrilled with this fabulous

and kind gift from Germany.

Following the Pumpkin Man

 –It was just a ride without an agenda. Well, I did want to get some Almond Joy

ice cream at the end of the trip. But other than that, just a ride. We wanted to

meander, turn down intriguing country roads, see how the leaves were

progressing, poke around some pretty towns and see the sights (farms, cows,

geese) alongside the road.

–We made a big loop east from our house in NYS, north through Vermont, west in

Orwell, VT. to cross Lake Champlain at its narrowest point, riding the 12-vehicle

ferry into Ticonderoga, NY, then south along Lake George, east out of Saratoga and

home again.

–And we weren’t the only ones making this state-to-state loop. On the ferry, we met a

couple who had picked 20 bushels (!) of potatoes in NYS and a few bushels of apples

in Vermont. After exiting the ferry, they planned to stop for raspberries just below

Ticonderoga and corn further south.

–Best of all, though, was the pumpkin man!

His farm is in Vermont, his customers are in NY, his loop is made daily. 


We spotted a funky antique shop just below Ticonderoga where things left to weather

in the yard proudly sported price tags and inside, well-organized chaos was the name

of the game.


Who knows how, in this place of such abundance, hanging on the back of a door, I found

a US Domestic mailbag ,  perfect to upholster something with.


At a tag sale, I found 40 old horse show ribbons, an interesting base for a drafting table

to turn into a dining table and a nice oldish (the 60’s) weathervane with a copper squirrel.

We saw the beginning of the leaves, plenty of barnyard inhabitants, just about everything

anyone would want to see on a beautiful fall day. I got my ice cream!

–But, for some reason, maybe because I was so charmed by sharing the small ferry with a

big old cart full of pumpkins, I just can’t get that pumpkin man out of my mind.

Happy News from Newcastle!

Merry Olde England has just gotten a whole lot merrier!  My cousin, Graham, and his wife, Lynsey, are having a baby! It’s their first and we are as happy as we can be to hear this nice news.

The last time Ken and I saw Graham and Lynsey was in New York City, where we spent a laughter-filled day walking and walking and walking the sidewalks of Noo Yawk.  We sat down twice. Once to get a quick bite. Once to watch the skateboarders in Washington Square.

A passing faith healer stopped to work on my thumb injury (alright, you can stop your laughing right this minute! I am an equal-opportunity patient. If a sign-carrying orthopedic doctor had come along, s/he would also have been given a fair chance.) While my oh-so-disbelieving companions laughed behind their hands, the healer performed a noisy, dramatic, public display around my thumb, complete with arm waving and wooshing sounds. Graham stooped so low as to give a long-distance blow-by-blow to Peter (his father, my real cousin? Back home in England!) feeding much fuel to the fire of embarassment started by the growing group of gawking strangers I could feel all around me.

Well here’s what I have to say to all of the nay-sayers:  my thumb feels sooo much better!  Who’s to say whether credit goes to the healer, the passage of time or to the memory of a day spent with people I love, a day that never fails to make me smile?

I asked Graham if the baby will be part Noo Yawka.  His reply: Ya wanna find out, ya come to Noocastle!  Sounds good to me. I wonder if there’s a room with a view for my friend the faith healer?

All our love and congratulations go across the pond to “our own ones”.

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Blue Mountain Antique Show

 –The Blue Mountain Antique Show is one of our favorite road trips each year.  Rain or

shine, the Adirondacks never disappoint.  This particular Fall day was perfect…sunny

and just nippy enough for a wooly sweater.

–Getting there took forever and not just because of the number of back-road miles we had

to travel.  But, who cares?  The hold-ups were well worth the wait.

–The weather also called for wooly socks and, while the geese took their ever-lovin’ time, 

I took a few seconds to admire my socks. I just got them from forever-fabulous textile

dealer, Wendy Christie,  who croched the lace onto vintage socks and caused a big sock-

buying frenzy at Brimfield. The lace adds a nice touch to my usual thick man-socks and


At the show, we saw our good friend, Paul Dorman (www.cottagetreasuresonline.com),

dressed to compliment his furnishings.  And, oh what furnishings they were!

His 36-hen nesting box makes the 15 holer on my barn look positively puny!

   His      Mine   

It was so hard to focus as your head swivelled….antiques….view….antiques….view….

This dealer was clever enough to just give in to the view, setting up all of his chairs

facing what everyone really wanted to see anyway. His chairs were never empty and

I hope that the extreme joy in the setting helped translate to sales for his wonderful



A day that almost couldn’t get better did just that with a stop at the Ice Cream Man

for homemade Almond Joy ice cream cones, a sweet end to a beautiful day.

Fun…Without Me

Below :   Jennifer, me, Ken and Jen here at Old Sunnybrook.

–Well, they’ve all gone!  My friends are flying and driving to Ohio for the Country

Living Show. 

–Hugely successful entrepreneur and art representative, Jen O’Connor..below, right..

(www.earthangelstoys.com), who can be seen touring the show grounds on her scooter in 

the ads in Country Living Mag., has a big tent at the show.  One of her bright stars, Jennifer

Lanne..below, left..  (www.jenniferlanne.com), is the most talented painter I know.  She is

selling her incredible work and doing demonstrations all during the weekend. 

Katie Camarro, sweet chef extraordinaire, (www.sundaesbest.com) is not only selling her best

tasting hot fudge but doling out samples to the lucky hungry hoards.  Artist Beth

Cunningham (www.artifactsusa.com) is Katie’s wing man on this trip and, as she has criss-

crossed the country doing shows for more than 25 years (her wing man: Zoe, the

grayhound), she will be a perfect travelling companion.  My friends, antique dealers Jo

and Lou Culbertson, from St. Louis will also be there with their totally cool antiques.

–So why am I not on this jaunt?  Why didn’t I throw a few hundred grain sacks in the

truck and buzz off?  Every year I say I’m going and every year it’s something else

that makes me stay behind.

–Oh, I know! The Blue Mountain Antique Show for one! It’s an Adirondack favorite of

ours.  And, we’re moving into another fabulous antique center next week….that’s right!

Ken has a whole load of stuff to get ready for that.  I guess if I really think about it, I

can come up with alot of good excuses.

–But, next year I’m going.  Somebody must need a wing man like me.

Wedding Grain Sack

The rare and beautiful grain sack which graces this chair was probably a

wedding sack.  It was lovingly and meticulously hand painted as a wedding

gift and filled with a much-needed item like grain, seeds or flour. 

Most wedding sacks were not used for transportation to and from

the market or mill but were set aside for a special project such as a

quilt or, if the family was well off, saved as a treasured keep-sake.