Monday, April 16, 2012

Canada's Highway is #1! - Article for The Country Register

The Dust And Dirt Column - As published in the April 2012 edition of the Country Register (Saskatchewan-Manitoba edition)

Canada’s Highway is #1!

As a traveler, the Trans Canada Highway is the route most will likely take as part of their journey.  Number 1, as area residents call it, is an integral part of any place I wish to drive, save for my own property. Well, there is the occasional summertime jaunt next door to neighboring campground’s convenience store, for that ever important ice cream cone!

This is an abbreviated rundown of stops potentially of interest to junkers, antiquers, history buffs, and others thus inclined, while travelling the eastern Saskatchewan/western Manitoba section of #1 from Whitewood, SK to Oak Lake, MB. Use it as a basic guide, and budget time for unplanned stops that make trips memorable! Small towns are full of them when you get looking and asking around!

Let's start at Whitewood, Saskatchewan, home of OLD GEO'S! This museum is entirely owned and operated by George Chopping himself!  George is an entertaining character,  and highly knowledgeable in many areas. I will leave your potential experience at this roadside attraction an intriguing mystery.  Look for Ol’George, usually sporting a beard, and long grey hair under a cowboy hat, to start your adventure!
If you have daylight left after spending the day wandering around Ol’ Geo’s, Moosomin is the next major town on the road. I have not had a chance time to check out their local sites in the last few years.  Make it a stop of discovery, and find its secrets on your own!

Eventually you will arrive at the village of Elkhorn, Manitoba.  Their Antique Auto Museum is a car buff’s drool-fest, featuring many classic, and early, ultra-rare vehicles.  Included under the same roof are other historical artifacts & oddities, including a two headed calf! As well, slip into  Elkhorn and check out "Past & Present Antiques & Gifts." Just the place for shoppers to get their fix!

Twenty minutes east, Virden holds sites including a restored railway station, now housing an art gallery & gift shop. Within a stone’s throw is a circa 1900 underground pedestrian tunnel! Make certain to see the Virden Pioneer Home Museum, plus arrange a tour of the historic Aud Theatre. Explore the town by car to discover many well preserved and restored field stone buildings, among other eye pleasing sights.  Treasure hunters/shoppers will want to stop at "Jam's Used Furniture" on Nelson Street. They carry an ever changing inventory of used furniture, some antique furniture, and a large section of mostly consigned antiques, collectibles and treasures of all sorts. Just across the street is the “Nearly New,” where you may find some good buys. Then, zip less than a block from there to Echo Books on 7th Ave. Their inventory includes books (obviously!), vintage items, locally sourced crystals/stone, plus other oddities!

A ten minute drive east brings you to the Buzzing Bee Bed & Breakfast, as well as Fedora Antiques & Collectibles. Yes, our place! We hope to get the store (and a country flea market) open in early summer!
 I’ll conclude the list here, as I have tons of work to do before you arrive! As mentioned, this is an abbreviated  list, so my apologies to anyone along the route feeling left out. Know of a stop that fits a junker’s list of interests? Drop me a line!  Note that the editors do restrict my articles' lengths to only a small portion of a page...despite my ability to fill the entire paper!
Happy hunting, folks!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Takin' Care of Business - The Song of My Life!

Yes, I know, it has been awhile.... "long time no blog."

Been busy...well, MORE busy than in the winter, anyway.  Even as I write this, I really should be doing some paperwork I have been neglecting...and with that in mind, I will be keeping this short....

Yes, I know you have heard that from me before....and I still manage to write pages and pages...well, not today....trying to keep my word today.

Anyway, the title of today's post is connected to its contents in 2 ways.  As a "Hardcore Picker", I am working every day, every way. Even my "off time" is usually connected to "the business"..or I will connect it.

Last week, I had to attend a family member's funeral, about 2 hours from home. While driving to my parents thro9ugh the town looking for the church, I spotted a sign nailed to someone;'s garden shed.

After the funeral, I took the same route back to the highway. I  stopped on the road where I noticed it,  so I could take a better look, and sure  enough, it turned out to be a 1930s Orange Crush sign.  Considering the emotionally draining nature of the day, I made a mental note of it, and I will go back in a week or two to see I can buy it, and follow up some other leads in that area.

My eyes never stop working. Sometimes they slow down, get tired, but if they are open, they notice things at times that I am not actively picking or scouting.

Ever see someone in a suit picking over the merchandise at a garage sale?

 En route to a wedding?

 Their OWN wedding?

 That is likely why my wife decided we should have a small private ceremony at home...She knows antiques dealers all too well.

Anyway, I promised to keep this short...and it ends here...pretty much.  However, you may want to bring up YouTube and put on Takin' Care Of Business by the iconic, Western Canadian rockers, BTO.

And (with apologies to Randy Bachman ,Fred Turner, and the other BTO members)......

NOW you can sing along, PICKER STYLE, using the lyrics below....(this is technically still a work in progress, BTW!)


    I present you with a tune I have titled:

Pickin' For A Livin'
I get up in mornin’
At the alarm clock’s warning.
Out drivin’ dirt roads rarely travelled
There’s an old farm up ahead
 I slow the van down
turn and drive up the rutted lane

And my heart skips a beat
Maybe I can pay my bill for heat
Cause I see tons o’ junk around the sheds
And then I see the ol’ boy
He says his name is Elroy
But just call him plain Roy

He used to go…

Pickin’ for a livin’, every day
Pickin’ for a livin’, every way
Oh yeah, I picked all this old stuff, it’s all fine
Pickin’ for a livin’, yeah all this stuff is mine.
Come on!

He showed me ‘round the yard and sheds,
Then showed me piles of cast iron beds
rusty shades of red, brown and yellow
Asked him "How Much?" And he replied
10 bucks a piece takes ‘em all, Clyde
Yeah, seems cheap, but he knew what he was doin’
He had made the huge piles
Over quite a long while,
Bought ‘em all at under scrap price, no foolin’

You see the ol’ boy was smart
He was a hard workin' ol’ fart
Told me: “I loved dealin’ in ol’ junk
But it is time to sell it all
I turned 90 late this fall
And now along comes you, this young punk

Who says he’s…

Pickin’ for a livin’, every day
Pickin’ for a livin’, every way
Oh yeah, I picked all this old stuff, it’s all fine
Pickin’ for a livin’, yeah all this stuff is mine.

He’s just like me
Spent his life
Pickin’ for a livin’, every day
Pickin’ for a livin’, every way
Oh yeah, I picked all this old stuff, it’s all fine
Pickin’ for a livin’, yeah all this stuff is mine.