Gardener's Grapevine 2013.08.07

This past week Art and I took a short vacation with some friends to Tennessee to do the 127 garage sales. We saw so many interesting things. Some people, some objects, some food and lots of nature.

I love the south. It’s a lot of fun to visit, but living there would drive me nuts. The people are so polite and friendly, but they take everything you say literally. We had a lot of laughs about this when ordering food ya’all. We heard kids talking to each other asking for hot-appie…what? Hot apple pie, big laugh for us.

The fruit and vegetables we bought were out of this world. Big fat ripe peaches that melted in your mouth, big red juicy tomatoes sweet enough to eat like an apple and watermelons by the truck load.

When you go on this trip, garage sale means that anything and everything is for sale. They dug plants out of their gardens and stuffed them on the table next to their kids potty chair and grandma’s old glasses. One lady had what my mother-in-law calls “hens and chicks” in butter dishes, and the sign said “maw and kids.”

As many interesting and funny things as we saw, I will say people in Tennessee take their gardens serious and every place outside of town that we passed had nice garden patches. At one home there was a 40-foot by 40-foot squash patch with nothing else planted. Not quite a field, yet who eats that much squash? There was not a farm stand around, so who knows what they were for. I’ve seen smaller pumpkin patches.

Where Tennessee has us beat is in the absolute beauty of the mountains. They are breathtaking at sunrise and sunset and awesome the rest of the day. I certainly can’t imagine anyone looking at them and thinking, let’s strip mine it. If I had to order someone to do that I’d feel like I slapped God in the face. There’s such beauty and these folks just walk out the door to see it every day. Beats the computer I stare at for eight to 12 hours every day.

I did not realize how many different plants grow in that state that we don’t have here. Of course I know all zones have varieties we don’t have, but it still fascinates me. We found a lot of unique things on this trip and learned a lot right along with it.

The sales are a mixture of actual garage/barn/yard sales, flea market venders, food vendors and professional antiques dealers. We made two great finds—a very old Coke bottle Art found and a set of Jack Spratt silhouette Hall pottery dishes. My grandmother always had a Jack Spratt dish as far back as I remember, and possibly longer as they were made in the 1940s. I always loved that dish as it reminds me of my grandmother and my favorite meal that only she can make exactly right…beef and homemade noodles.

If you love nature, like to be out of your element, and love junking, the 127 garage sale in Tennessee is for you. Beautiful nature, beautiful people and if you’re lucky, your own treasure you didn’t know you needed.