We’ve been doing without for quite a long time. Partly, because we had no place to store anything, like our own furniture. Things wore out, got left behind, got ruined by water – the usual attrition, and we didn’t get more.
But last night I was able to stock up a bit on goods we will need. My friends know that I am a canning jar maven. I love to preserve and can, and old jars no longer suitable for the boiling water bath get repurposed as herb storage. When I am growing my herb collection, or wild-gathering, that can amount to many, many jars, so I don’t let canning jars get away. I never store herbs in plastic, as the essential oils and volatile elements can leach out the petroleum products. Glass is the only way to go, unless it is mullein flowers, which have to go into tin or stainless steel, or maybe very dark glass. I got over forty very old zinc rimmed jars, and half-a-dozen large new jars, with extra new lids. What a find! As my herbs and spices are kept in dark cupboards or pantries, clear glass is a good way to store them, as I can identify them by sight rather than squinting at my handwritten labels.
We also acquired a “new” kitchen table and chairs, in the country windsor style I like so much. It has leaves, so it can grow into a dining room table when needed. It’s well-made, in excellent condition, and looks so much better than the plywood workbench that had been there before. I decorated it with my pewter chamber sticks, sage green candles, and a beeswax skep candle. Very Country!
I feel so blessed to start getting household goods again. We have been given a sturdy and comfortable queen-sized bed, with a nearly-new mattress. Its only fault is that it is a walnut stain over pine, which is just not natural. So I am going to paint it white eventually. It has glass doors on the headboard for storage (But what do you store in a headboard with glass doors? We have a bag of frankincense and a jar of holy water.) I plan to get some stained glass paint and go over the doors in a quilt pattern decoration, also very country. I guess I can’t help it. I was country when country wasn’t cool.
We left a beautiful oak library table and leaded glass door hutch behind after one move. We are hoping they are still where we left them so we can re-acquire them. They need refinishing, but the oak table came from a university dorm, was probably once in its library, and although scuffed and kicked, is one of the sturdiest pieces of oak I’ve ever seen. New ones cost thousands. A little sanding, some new varnish, and it should be all aglow in no time.
I also found some jewel-tone glasses, all nice crystal, a grinder for meat or cucumbers (like my mother used for piccalili) and baking pans, as well a dark green Woolrich jacket. all in all, it was a good thrift trip, at very little cost (no cost to me, thanks to Mother Kay, who has a standing order).
The odd thing was that this morning I had a twinge of conscience. “What am I doing, acquiring worldly goods?” But, Friends, we do not live on air, nor can we shelter in the trees like birds. We have to have some furnishings. Maybe the day will come when I turn my back on the world for good and head for the monastic life and a pallet on the stone floor (assuming there is at least good beer and bread.) Nothing I have acquired has any status attached to it. It is practical stuff, suitable for Plain people, although the jewel tone glasses may be a bit edgy. And it is heartening to know that the Lord is preparing us to move ahead, giving us food for the journey, and the means to get there.