16. December 2014 · Comments Off on Market Forces · Categories: Domestic

My daughter and I have emerged, breathless, exhausted and muscle-sore from two months and a bit of schlepping heavy items back and forth between shed and Montero, and Montero to venue every other weekend, or every weekend. If it wasn’t my books, then it was my books and her origami art. This last weekend in Boerne was the last of our winter event schedule. We won’t be breaking out the hot-pink pavilion with the zebra-striped top until spring … unless it will be to set it up on a sunny day this week to dry it all out. Which we should have done on Monday, except that there was too much else to do … empty out the car, decorate the bay-laurel tree in front of the house for Christmas, pay attention to some basic housekeeping and laundry – the sink and the laundry baskets both overflowing – and to carry out a couple of items to the curb for the yearly bulk trash pickup.

Our contributions to bulk trash comprised a pair of cruddy computer speakers, a flat-screen monitor which had developed some pretty distracting areas of damage, a short ornamental garden pedestal of poured plaster, and a metal and fabric lounge chair/foot-stool combination which my daughter brought home from the Marines. It was one of those inexpensive, ugly and futuristic – but surprisingly comfortable items – which had been passed around the Cherry Point enlisted barracks until my daughter snagged it and brought it home, where it took up altogether too much space. I suspect from the distinct whiff from the cushions that the cats and maybe one of the dogs had taken to marking it with their very own essence. So, out on the curb it all went, and – mirabile dictu – all these items promptly vanished, although the enormous city collection trucks have not yet appeared – although the junker trucks have been rotating like turkey vultures over our neighborhood for days.

The plaster pedestal was pretty well decayed by use and weathering. An elderly couple in a very nice late-model station wagon pulled up, even as we were unloading the car of our gypsy-market materials, and the husband asked through the driver-side window, if it was very heavy. Blondie said it was not, and loaded it into the back of their car, as we confessed that … we had actually collected it from the curbside some years ago, when it wasn’t nearly so decayed. Amusingly, a fair number of the pots and ornamental elements in our garden were scrounged from the curbside. Our own haul from the neighborhood curbside this year included a pair of barely-used dog beds and one of those folding Oriental black lacquer screens – a rather nice item, once the hinges were replaced by stout brass hardware and longer screws and assorted dings and scratches repaired by various means. The dog beds were washed in blazingly hot water, of course. They are already popular with the one doggle who had prized the barracks chair.
As for the markets – they have all been so-so, this year. There are a number of possible reasons for this, which may make another blog-post. Still, one way and another, I have come home after some of them with bargains: this weekend, it was a whole cowhide.

No, don’t laugh – I have a set of Colonial-reproduction ladder-back chairs in the dining room, which I bought as kits from a very reputable mail-order catalogue yea on some decades ago. These chairs were designed and supplied to be finished with woven rush seats – that kind of rush made from brown paper, woven in diminishing squares to finish the seats, then varnished to finish. And I wove the rushing seats, and varnished them … but what with one thing and another, the cats just viewed them as handy scratching posts and tore them to shreds. I must refinish the darned things … again … but am just exasperated, contemplating ordering the necessary coils of rushing and reweaving the seats of five chairs for the third, or maybe the fourth time. A few weeks ago I had an inspiration – why not do the seats in cowhide, for a rustic Western look? The more I thought about it, the better I liked the idea, although tanned cowhides looked to be darned expensive, and the brown and white spotted hides would look kind of kitschy … but one of the other vendors last weekend had a booth full of cowhide rugs, runners and hangings – either pieced together, or straight as they came from the cow. Among them was a plain creamy-tan hide … and the vendor and I struck a deal for it. Business was slow at the market, the plain cream hides are not as popular as the more obviously spotted and dappled ones, and he was just tickled to death at the thought that I would be doing something so outrageously creative with it, and explained to me the best way to do the seats, with staples and ornamental nail-heads over a plywood base and a bit of foam rubber. The hide is enormous – the cow it came from must have been as big as a mastodon. There’ll be plenty of hide to do seats for all five chairs and a good bit left over. So – that will be my particular project over the New Year, now that the market events are done.

It may also lead to having to repaint the dining area in a color better calculated to match the cowhide, but that will be another project entirely.

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