These simple seed planters were quite revolutionary in their time. And they still work today! They are simple to use. Simply stab the end into the ground and when you open the handles, the end “shovels” open a section of earth as a single seed drops into the freshly made hole.
We know this seed planter was made prior to 1912, as that’s when the company changed its name to the James Manufacturing Company, using the “James Way” slogan.
Found here in North Dakota, this antique promotional booklet is an authentic piece of pioneering & homestead farming history! Compliments of Samuel Lange, a dealer in Farm Machinery, such as Buggies and Carriages, Cream Separators, Plymouth Twine, Defiance Listers & Plows, La Cross Disk Harrows, pioneer Buggies, Surries & Wagons, agent for Queen City Creamery Co. “Highest Paid Prices for Cream.”
Also noted inside the front and back covers, Mc Cormick Binders, Mowers & Hay Rakes, Plano & Mc Cormick repairs, Racine Cultivators & Plows, Wenzelman Steele Grain Dump, Empire Ball Bearing, Neck Bearing Cream Separator.
Inside, the little book from 1908 is filled with facts — from foreign currency conversion to census data, from color maps to business laws, and more. Plus, there are pages for the owner to write down addresses, notes, ledger details, and calender dates.
Booklet measures 5 and 3/4 inches by 3 inches and is available for sale in our Etsy shop. Also included, a small piece of handwritten ephemera which was found inside and we feel should remain with this lovely old piece.
If you plan on lighting the candles, you should place them on an appropriate heat resistant/fire-safe container — antique saucers and plates work well for this and you can even mix and match leftover saucers or find a use for those in not-so-great condition. You might even want to weave some lace or ribbon in the holes to play up the textures against the old metal. …And if you are using ribbons and things, why not add some vintage buttons too? There are lots of possibilities.
On shows like American Pickers or Pickers Sisters, every once in a while the pickers go into some unassuming building and find themselves someplace surprising, a place where the outside doesn’t betray what’s inside. It might seem like TV magic, something that doesn’t happen in the real world, but my Wifey and I ran into our own “picker moment” recently.
Just after Christmas, Wifey was hanging out down at the antique mall. While she was chit-chatting with the manager, a guy came in looking to sell some things. His mother had moved into assisted living and he had been put in charge of liquidating the farm, so he was looking for a picker to come out and buy some stuff. Wifey said, sure, we’ll come out and take a look.
We bought a vanload from him the first time out, and he had said that some other time we should come back and see what’s in the barn. Now that’s what we’re talking about: the good stuff is always in The Barn, at least from our perspective. We had been polite and taken time to talk with him about his mom, his family, and how hard it is to clean out a house, and we let him know how much we thought the various items were worth or how old it was, even if we weren’t going to buy it. It turns out he had talked to another dealer first — that dealer had been brusque, bought a couple things and quickly left. Little did that dealer know he missed out on the offer of The Barn by not taking his time as a picker to be polite and get to know the seller first.
Due to weather and other conditions, we couldn’t get into the barn at that time. Finally, this past weekend, Wifey got a text from him, saying we should come out to the farm again. We thought it was about some other stuff we were interested in buying but he hadn’t made a decision, but we didn’t go in the house — he met us in the yard.
Turns out, he wanted to take us out to The Barn.
The snow was a little over a foot deep, but we had brought our boots, so we started to trudge across the farmyard out to the classic gambrel barn at the north end of the property. The first floor was your average barn fare – bicycle parts, old farm tools, a rusty bedspring, so we made a pile by the door. While we were climbing on the piles of abandoned treasures, picking through buckets of doorknobs and pipe fittings, our host had disappeared. When he returned, he said, “all the good stuff is upstairs.”
He led us around to the side of the barn where he had pried open a door. We had to climb over an old rusty drag to get onto a steep set of stairs. As we climbed, D gazed at all of the old rough-cut gambrel rafters and said, “wow, all this wood is very cool.” I was just ahead of her, and when I reached the top of the stairs, I said, “if you’re impressed with that, just wait until you get up here.”
The floor of the hayloft looks like it hadn’t ever seen a single piece of straw. At the far end of the loft was a stage. The stairs we came up were the back stairs; on the other side was the main stairs, straight and not as steep, but blocked from the outside. Long benches flanked each side of the wide-open space. Signs warned against leaning on the hayloft door and advised care walking on the stairs. This wasn’t a farmer’s barn: this was a barn dance barn.
It didn’t take long for us to put two and two together. In the first batch of stuff we bought from this farm, we found a matchbook advertising Ida Carlson’s Barn dance-hall. I knew there were a bunch of barn dance-halls in the area back in the day, so I figured Ida’s barn had to be pretty close to Fargo. Standing here, at the end of a polished hardwood floor in the upstairs of a barn, I was actually in Ida Carlson’s Barn.
Our host was Ida Carlson’s grandson, and after Ida retired from the dance hall business his parents kept it going until the 1980s. The heyday of Ida Carlson’s Barn was the 1930s to the 1940s. The barn was built in 1934, specifically to host dances; it — and the outhouse, of course — were the first buildings on the property. Ida got her permit to run barn dances in May 1934 and ads for events at the Barn started appearing in the Moorhead Daily News almost immediately. She applied for a beer license, too, but the county declined, saying having beer and barn dances in the same place “would be against the public interest.” Ida Carlson’s Barn became a popular youth hangout for all the usual reasons that young people needed a place out of town, away from their responsibilities, to hang out with other youths. It’s where people met their life-long spouses, and the NDSU Spectrum even joked that the closest that their female students “have ever been to a cow, probably, is at Ida Carlson’s barn dance.”
The barn hadn’t seen a dance in about thirty years; our host’s brother has a band, and it’s his equipment on the stage today. Before we even started to look at treasures to buy, we got more stories about Ida’s barn and a brief tour, including the wooden railing where fifty years of bands wrote their names on the boards. When we finished our picking, as we drove away from the farmstead, our conversation was more about Ida Carlson’s Barn than any of the things we bought.
Walking about Tom’s farm is phenomenal. There’s almost too much to take in!
Along with the incredible vintage and antique pieces, mostly organized by theme (sometimes obvious, sometimes personal — enough to inspire by itself!), there are many repurposed and recycled pieces and project ideas to be seen.
My favorite building was the church. The photo doesn’t do the scene justice… The church sits down in a little valley, like it opens up before you, yet somehow in the distance… Inside there was a mix of religious items and a few oddball works of art which showed a sense of humor.
Then again, Hippie Tom’s joie de vivre and humor are exposed everywhere!
Hippie Tom is clearly a fan of collecting shows; this vintage stroller had a paper label with “as seen on American Restoration” on it!
Among the items I purchased at Hippie Tom’s was this antique pelican weather vane. (Something I sniffled about selling last weekend!)
Hippie Tom’s place is called Serendipity Farm — and I also bought one of the old Serendipity Farm signs which Hippie Tom happily signed for me!
That autographed sign is not ever going to be up for sale! But if you want something from Hippie Tom and can’t get to his place or a sale he’s at, check out the merchandise at his website.
Last Tuesday, August 2, 2011, Picker Sisters aired on the Lifetime Television. (If you were confused by the ads showing American Pickers Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz promoting the show on the History Channel, that’s because both Lifetime and History are part of A&E Television Networks — but that really didn’t help those who went to The History Channel on Tuesday night and, confused, wondered why the TV promos weren’t as clear as they could have been.)
The show’s premise is that best friends and interior designers, Tracy Hutson and Tanya McQueen (of ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition — Picker Sisters has the same producer, RelativityREAL) are on the hunt for what Wolfe and Fritz would call “farm fresh rusty gold” to turn into “stunning pieces for their Los Angeles home decor pop-up shop.”
To assist the designers in the creative process, there’s a third cast member, contractor, Alan Luxmore, himself with connections to Extreme Makeover and previous host of A&E’s Fix This Yard.
Despite early complaints or fears (primarily based on the American Pickers‘ promos) that Picker Sisters was going to emphasize pretty women (including the use of short-shorts and other feminine charms in order to get deals), I was looking forward to the show. Like Cash & Cari, I was hoping this series would emphasize decorating both in terms of objects and projects; much like Cash & Cari, I was to be disappointed. As with Cash & Cari, I was hoping we’d not only have the Picker Sisters show us what they transformed, but how it was done. But it misses that mark.
Since the success of these collecting shows is partially dependent on the personality of the cast, it bears mentioning that Hutson and McQueen come across as Valley Girls meet former professional NFL cheerleaders; perhaps a bit to bubbly and hair-twirly for most of us. (And those 80’s headbands only emphasis it.)
I don’t want to bash these beauties for how they look; that would be as wrong as saying someone isn’t good-looking enough to be on TV. But there are practical matters here…
Those of us willing to pick on farms, through old industrial items, etc., we don’t only have work gloves, we wear jeans or long pants to protect our legs — no matter how fab our legs look in short shorts. I get that they are on camera, but aren’t they annoyed enough by their own Farrah Fawcett locks, blowing into their eyes, sticking to the sweat on their necks, to put it up in a ponytail or something? I’m less worried about two grown women — complete with camera crew — getting hurt heading off with strange men than I am about cuts, infections and diseases from stumbling about improperly dressed in places where tetanus and hantaviruses make excellent bedfellows.
As I mentioned, I feel that Luxmore‘s work is slighted… But perhaps that’s because he’s an actor playing a character role. In the few scenes Luxmore is in, he plays the frustrated “daddy” to the two little girls on the road, ominous about projects, money spent, design ideas. Worse, he’s shown working while appearing straight out of some Gap ad or GQ photo-shoot, his black sleeveless muscle shirt taunt across his chest, tightly and neatly tucked into crisp belted green khakis. If he’s a master of the 100 hour build, why is he playing a stock masculine character, one part beefcake one part paternal male disapproving of his errant shopping sex kittens?
Like his female cast members, Luxmore ought to dress for the work at hand. We’ll notice he’s handsome, anyway, I promise.
Overall, the show feels far more Hollywood glossy than “unscripted” (the new word for reality shows). While this may appeal to a certain part of the television audience, I feel it’s a disservice to the cast — showing them more as pretty and, due to the lack of “reality,” more bumbling than the educated and experienced people they are. Coupled with the absence of any shop or announcements of where it will appear, the pretty posing makes me feel the shop is simply a premise. Television does blur with tinsel town, you know, so it all feels too glossy, too fake…
Perhaps we’re supposed to enjoy the fashionista-fish out of water thing… But McQueen, Hutson and Luxmore are build and design heavyweights, so maybe they should have left them a little more raw and saved all the polishing for the finished project pieces.
That said, there are good things in the show…
There’s less of a monetary focus on the show; though that could simply be due to the too-small price / sold graphics.
And it is fun to see the before and afters — even if it is at sacrificing how it’s done. I consider myself a creative person, a visual person with an eye for seeing the potential in “junk” and I’m not bored with what I’ve seen so far — far from it, I’m inspired by all the repurposing of industrial items!
I won’t be glued to episodes, but I will watch more of Picker Sisters. Even if I am hoping the show format itself will undergo a transformation of it’s own.
PS Because Lifetime quickly signed on for a seven-part, one-hour series (originally entitled To Live and Buy), I’m not sure we’ll see any changes in Picker Sisters; the slick format’s likely set.
PPS Check out the comments below for more & updates!
Andrea Porter, an honors graduate from Fashion Institute of Technology, spent over 14 years working in the textile business until one day she found herself in need of a new coffee table. Unhappy with the current options available in today’s commercial design world, she decided to look into the past and created a coffee table out of an old rusted gear she’d previously found at a flea market. When the newly repurposed piece came home from the local welder and friends began to express interest in having their own, gears began to turn in Porter’s mind… Now, with the help of her sister, Ameri Spurgin, Porter cranks out repurposed items from the past into new functional pieces of home decor via Arms and Barnes.
The company’s name honors the sisters’ childhood nicknames while the company itself honors the American past in (re)purpose and motto, “Finding the beauty and potential in things forgotten.”
Old industrial, factory and farming items (such as iron fence pieces, old gears, thrasher wheels), architectural pieces (like scrolled window grates, register vents, fire place covers) and even more domesticated pieces (cast iron cookware and the wooden harness of weaving looms, for example) now find themselves converted into practical, conversational, chic tables for your home.
These two old wooden pieces with metal hardware, which I believe were used to hook horses or mules up to wagons, carts or some such, were found at a local thrift shop.
Finds like this here in Fargo continue to surprise this former city girl from Milwaukee. At farm auctions it’s de rigueur to find such rustic things (where they are quickly snatched-up), but finding them at thrift shops still surprises me. I’m more used to finding them displayed on walls.
One of the things I find most interesting about collecting as a hobby in general is the vast differences in object availability and appeal by geographical area.
Having moved from the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, area to Fargo, North Dakota, you might not think (as I did) that there’d be so many differences. But there’s roughly a 100 year age difference as well as cultural differences — and the evidence of this is found in every rummage sale, antique shop, estate sale, flea market, and thrift store.
On Saturday, I found the sort of thing one typically does not find at thrift stores in Milwaukee: a rather large display of what I ignorantly yet affectionately call “rusty junk” at a Fargo city thrift shop.
Hubby, being both male and a former farm kid, can identify this sort of stuff. Not me.
But I am drawn to the sense of mystery of each piece and the artistic appeal of tools Vs. natural consequences (wear from use, nature, etc.). And I know from years of collecting just how popular such pieces are.
At farm auctions here, I’m never really sure if the (mostly) male bidders who gather around the old rusty tools and parts are buying solely for the sake of collecting (either for their own collections or as dealers who serve as middlemen to collectors or interior designers of T.G.I . Friday’s), if they intend to use the tools and parts to repair other collectibles, or if they simply want to use these old rusty tools “because they don’t make ’em like that anymore…” But I do know people want these old used and rusty tools.
And I know how they found their way to the thrift shop to — or at least I have a pretty good guess.
One old farmer moved to the city, and when he passed away (may he rest in peace), these things either didn’t sell at the estate sale or, because it’s too cold here to have a garage sale, were directly taken in for donation at the thrift shop. Because if these things had been available at a farm auction, they would have sold. And it’s rarely ever too cold for a farm auction here in Faro, North Dakota.
I know, because I’ve been to plenty of them. Even if I can’t identify half the things being sold in front of me.