Spring is in the air, the first migrating birds (red-winged blackbirds!) have reportedly arrived, and I’ve been remiss in giving you interesting things to read over the winter months. But take heart! I’ve been reconsidering the writing and content I’ve put forth over the years in different places, to collect what’s worth your time, and what’s still inspiring to me.

In fact, thinking of old pics and posts as “content” at all was a change in perspective for me. A few times I thought “but didn’t I share it on my blog?” Nope, oftentimes I did not – we often under-appreciate our shares and creations, unless they go viral. And one of the things I thought reshare-worthy was something I did three years ago.

This was a case – I bet you have a case too! – of having a collection of random objects you don’t know what to do with, but can’t let go. Many of mine are rusty, some of them farm-related, some not – and I had no place but a shelf in a closet and a box in my garage for them. Until I suddenly had a lightbulb about it. They’re now what I call my…

…Binder Twine Museum wall!

By the way, you’re welcome to follow me on Instagram, but I also have an account @bigcitylittlehomestead and I’d love it if you followed me there.

The shelf brackets: bought at ReStore. Didn’t use for 4 years, like. And yet they were the critical piece that suddenly enabled this wall to come together. So I don’t know if you notice, but there’s a door right there – to my back yard – and doors are tricky when it comes to shelves and stuff because the shelf can’t block the door. And there are stairs leading up to take that door, which means I have a half-flight of stairs and a full stairwell for them. Nothing on either side. I was looking at that big empty space and wondered “what if I installed a set of narrow shelves so I could sort out some garden stuff or the like?” and that’s when I realized I had the brackets for it. I ended up ripping a board into two 4″ wide lengths to fit, and then it was a question of what to put on them that was narrow enough.

Oh ho. Collection time! This wasn’t a lightbulb, this was an electrical storm in my head. It was amazing! And it was fast work.

Out came the junk box from the garage. The gears you see are actually three bucket distributors from a fertilizer/seed spreader from the farm. The rusty, handle-less garden fork – it may have been my own, or might have been from the farm. There are rusty plates, old blacksmithed nails you can’t see, and even a railroad spike down to the left. Missing from this pic, but lower down this post: an ice block grapple hanging from a chain.

Then on the top shelf: an old ground/etched bottle of Gilbey’s Gin. A much-more-modern can from a bottle of Emmet’s Cream Liqueur. A bottle of Tuborg Rød, only available in the month of May every year in Denmark. And some old stubby bottles of Molson Export, Carling Trilight (a defunct brand now), and Molson Canadian. Lastly, some cow-related objects: Black & White condensed milk, Fauchon milk jam (confiture de lait), and a glass milk bottle. I’m not a fan of displaying bottles of alcohol as an aesthetic, but there was something so farm-shed and nostalgic about this, it works.

The farm-related theme finally found a home:

One summer day I wandered into a birding shop (of course I did) and saw two canvas prints that I couldn’t resist. Yet I had nowhere to put them, as walls need to have themes and not clash with the surrounding decor. Having created a binder twine museum, I had a place to put them – on the stairs coming down from the main floor.

Penultimately – because you still need to see the overall modern state – I had matching frames to some old windows that were flaking of their old, lead-based paint. I converted one to a mirror using a mirror I already had, and put it on the wall opposite the museum.

This is actually a zero-point, or real, mirror – if you put a ball point pen tip to the mirror, the reflection begins at the tip, not behind the glass.

…and now, the Christmas collection

If you were an alien and wanted to see an example of “random objects” and you weren’t told it was set for a specific holiday, Christmas produces the oddest assortment of stuff. And it was sitting in the way in two places: the cold cellar and the storage space. Since I had two slabs I cut off a bookshelf (to shorten the bookshelf to a nice height, there’s another blog post idea), and I had two sets of L-brackets from garage shelving from when I bought the house, I figured a good place to store them out of the way would be at the top of the stairwell to the back door.

Random Christmas objects on a top shelf in stairwell
Tins and boxes and bags, a branch from which to hang ornaments, a candle lantern, and a never-used motion detector that perhaps I should MacGyver…

So to get up there, one uses a ladder, and being an old-stuff collector, I happen to have two painted wooden ladders. I decided if I don’t need to open the back door (all winter long), just leave it there.

Here’s my binder twine museum today:

An ice block grapple, a lawn ornament pig, and a wooden ladder propped up in a stairwell
The aforementioned ice block grapple, a lawn ornament pig named Petunia, and the red wooden ladder propped up in the stairwell.

It’s the end of March, and that means…

BCLH’s “Rewilding” service is available again for the April – June 2019 migration and planting season. If you’re considering making your driveway a green one, converting over a portion of your yard and garden to no- or low-mow native plants, or you’d like to take practical action to save the birds, contact me. Also, subscribe to the monthly newsletter, and send in any DIY questions you have!

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