Junk Pile Junkin'
The Junk Pile
Digging for Treasures
Stumbling upon an old junk pile buried far back in the woods behind our home (on our family owned property), I began rambling to see what "hidden treasures" I could find. I always was an "archaeologist at heart", and as a child, used to dig up our backyard looking for anything from lost money to dinosaur bones. I'm not quite sure where my "digging genes" came from, although I suspect it's part curiosity, and part wanting to somehow connect to a time long ago.
Anyway, our junk pile (shown in the photo above) probably dates back as far as the 1930's, and was actually a disposal area where my husband's ancestors used to dispose of their everyday household trash and other useless junk. Apparently, it was common back then to have a "central trash pile" to dispose of unwanted items, as trash pick up service was not yet available - at least not in rural areas.
Not wanting a trash dump on our property, my husband suggested we clean it up. I agreed, but the "archaeologist" in me also saw an opportunity to do a little junkin' at the same time! So, while he's sorting out piles of metal, glass and paper trash, I'm digging deeper than a dog after a mole to find what I like to call "antique artifacts".
As I began to sift through the many layers of rusty tin cans, broken glass and everyday household trash, I started digging up a few "antique artifacts". I recall the sudden rush of adrenaline when I pulled from the heaping pile of rubble, my first antique gallon vinegar jug - still in tact, although encrusted with dirty, and half filled with nasty water. However, there was not a crack or chip on it anywhere! A true Ebay-worthy find! My "miner's ambition" and determined diligence paid off as I continued to dig until I found five more - including a GREEN one, said to be even MORE valuable!
I held up my new found treasure to my husband and said with marked enthusiasm, "Look! Do you know how much these things go for on Ebay?!" His response was much LESS enthusiastic as he replied with a disinterested eye roll, "You're supposed to be sorting the glass, metal and trash into separate piles!" However, as I continued to find MORE and MORE antique artifacts, and reminded him of their inherit value, he became more and more interested, and even started helping me look!
Together, we found everything from antique hubcaps and car rims to vintage soda bottles and even the rusty remains of an old console TV. And although it was exciting to find such antiquated relics, I was saddened by the lost memories every item represented.
The Mason Jar Mine
Admittedly, most of the junk on the junk pile was just that - JUNK. But as any good "junk pile junkie" knows, you've got to go through some rusty nails and broken glass to find the REAL treasures. As I continued to carefully peel away the layers of trash, I spotted what I knew was a valuable find - an old 1930's mason jar WITH the original zinc cap! Again, although caked with dirt and mud, there was not a scratch or chip on it! My heart skipped a beat! Wow! To think this glass jar had been resting in this old junk pile for probably fifty years or more and was was not broken, was simply amazing! I REALLY had the junkin' fever now! And as I continued to dig, I found several MORE Mason jars - most without the lids, and a couple that were even different colors. Upon further Google research, I discovered these jars could fetch anywhere from $20 - $200 dollars a piece, depending on their age and condition! Looked like I had "struck gold" in my own Mason jar mine!
As my husband hauled away useless scrap metal and burned plastic and paper trash, I continued to hunt out more antique artifacts. And since I've recently started to transform our home into the "farmhouse" style, I was doubly excited to find that a lot of the "junk" in the junk pile are ACTUALLY coveted items that people are paying BIG MONEY for, to achieve the desirable and highly sought after farmhouse look! Lucky for me, I have found many of those items right here in our junk pile! From rustic enameled bake ware to vintage porcelain door knobs, I'll have our home "farmhouse fresh" in no time - AND at NO extra expense - except for a little scrubbing and cleaning time! ;)
Time Saved in a Bottle
Due to our busy schedules and inclement weather, we haven't been able to get much of the old junk pile removed. But that's okay, as I'm enjoying the few minutes here and there I get to "pick at it". I can't say I've actually found anything mind-blowing valuable, but that too, is okay, as I've found value in many other ways.
Such as the time I get to spend in the fresh country air with my husband, the healthy exercise I get from bending, squatting, stooping and hopping from spot to spot on the junk pile, and the nostalgic exhilaration I get from discovering another time long ago trapped in a dirt-caked jug or bottle. Its funny how picking up an old bottle or rusty hub cab can take you back in time...
Times that were simple, pure and wholesome. Times when good moral values and hard, honest living were the norm. Times when children had manners and families visited on Sundays. Times when money may have been tight, but love was shown in a fresh baked homemade pie or a warm, hand knitted afghan. Times when grace was said before each meal and Jesus was the real meaning of Christmas. Times lost to us.
Treasured times. Times saved in a bottle in a junk pile in the middle of the woods.