Tuesday, March 19, 2013

What is Country Yard Art?

Whimsical & Salvaged Garden Ornaments

The first known use of garden ornaments became common in the western cultures are in Ancient Roman gardens. A great many examples have been excavated from Pompeii and Herculaneum. The Italian Renaissance garden and Garden à la française were the peak styles of using created forms in the garden and landscape, with high art and kitsch interpretations ever since. The English Landscape Garden expanded the scale of some garden ornaments to temple follies. The Asian tradition of making garden ornaments, often functioning in association with Feng Shui principles, has a nearly timeless history.

Well sometimes, Suthunuhs can take it to a whole different level with their garden ornaments.  Mr. Jolly knows I am not into kitsch, but he knows that I  love originality.  On our road trip we found  many antique stores and garden places that had such a fun way of displaying their yard art that you almost convinced yourself that it would look great in that little corner of your yard. 

This little guy is made from tin cans and junkyard finds

Kinda creepy, but I liked the "en masse effect"

This Steel Flamingo is more sturdy than the Pink Plastic Flamingo of the 1950's

Such creativity with corrugated metal

Miss Moo looked lovely in the garden of the antique shop. Utterly over the top

My Sunday drive in the country with Mr Jolly, stopping randomly at  antique shops brought back memories of an elderly man that lived down the road from my family home in Alabama.  Mr. Call made yard art  in his spare time from scraps of wood and metal.  I had forgotten about the pink mama pig with her curly metal tail and her baby piglets that Mr. Call made for me to put in our flower garden.  He was such a sweet gentleman that was always dressed in a white starched shirt and suspenders.  He alway looked liked he was headed to church.  His workshop was magical to me as a kid; it had the smell of shaved wood and honeysuckle.  When my Dad and I would visit Mr. Call, he  always had a small gift of penny candy or a something he had made for me hidden in his egg basket.  Just before Mr Call passed away, he gave me a lucite pin with a little squirrel holding a pearl.  It is still one of my most cherished possessions. 

If you live in the Northern Virginia area, and have the urge for garden Ornaments check out
Really Great Finds, Lucketts, Virginia.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Decoration Day & Dinner on the Ground

Childhood Memories

I remember piling into the truck with Dad, Mom, and Sis and heading to Hickory Holler,Tennessee for Decoration Day. Hickory Holler is where my Mom grew up.  Decoration Day was a late spring or summer tradition that involved cleaning community cemeteries, decorating them with flowers, and holding a religious service in the cemetery, followed with "dinner on the ground." Decoration Day seems to predate the post-Civil War celebrations.  Ultimately, Decoration Day gave us our national Memorial Day.

"Dinner on the ground" was the fun part of the day for us kids. All of the church ladies would have cooked their favorite scratch recipes to share with everyone for a picnic. Some of the churches constructed covered pavilions for the Dinner on the grounds.

Others simply had long tables made from benches with planks on top.  The tables would groan with the tremendous load of cooked food. No Take-out Food presented here!  I particularly remember the coconut cakes (not your regular two-layer, but a six-layer cake), fried chicken, and deviled eggs. 

As an adult, I am still trying to re-create the famous "dinner on the ground" Coconut cake, and my Mom's biscuits and Tea cakes.  My sister and I are considered very good cooks, but how we never got the recipe for the Tea cakes is beyond us.  Well, on the biscuits.....after 30 years of trying, I have given up!  I only make biscuits once a year for my christmas party, and that is pure torture.

I had not really thought much about the many traditions that were a part of my growing up in the deep South, until I mentioned Dinner on the Ground to a friend, and she was completely clueless as to what I was describing. I decided to start exploring other traditions of my childhood and the forgotten wisdoms  of country living. 

Country Wisdom......Decoration Day was to honor the deceased, and  Dinner on the Ground was a way to provide communion to those gathered in the cemetery with the deceased.  A lovely tradition that really had a true meaning.