What is a monkeybox?

When I was a little girl, we had a pet monkey named Amanda. My Dad worked in the produce business, so each night he brought home that days culls in a big box - spotty cucumbers, pithy apples, limp celery, moldy oranges and the like. We called it a monkeybox. It was really just trash, but my Mom would take each piece of fruit and trim it, pare it and cut it up to make a beautiful fruit platter for Amanda. Even though it was deemed trash by one, it still had life left in it and was good for the purpose we needed it. That's how I live my life - thrifting, yard saling, looking for another's trash to be my treasure.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Landscaping Junk

About a week ago we stopped in Lowe's to pick up a bag of potting soil.  They were having a sale, so in the end we bought 10 bags of black mulch, weed block, three flats of flowers, a fern and two bags of potting soil. It all sounded like SUCH a good idea at Lowe's.  But at home - wow - what a job!
We brought it home and stacked in it the front yard, right where I could see it all week long.  We have had a ton of stormy rainy days as of late which has prevented us from getting out there and getting it done.    

Sunday we got out in the yard about noon and hit it hard.  We pulled out all the "junk" I have in the landscaping, then raked out all the old wood chips, pulled up the ratty old weed block and started with all new fresh things.  Our house is white with gray brick, so I thought the black mulch would look nicer than the red mulch we had previously.  Did you know that the dirt in Arkansas is red? There is no black dirt here unless they truck it in from somewhere else.  Anyway, I think that is why I dislike the red mulch because it looks like the red dirt.  

After we put the mulch down in one area, I got to put all my treasures back while the boys moved on to the next section.  We knocked the whole job out in a few hours and I was SUPER proud of us!  No fights or anything.  (This is a major improvement for the three of us.  Well, one of us.  You will have to guess which one...)  

My idea of landscaping is not cookie cutter and some people would not like it.  But, I like it and I get to use all my found treasures.  A bunch of junk in the yard is a bunch of junk.  But place it selectively, use like pieces and like colors and I think it works!  And flowers - lots of pops of colorful flowers. 

Every time we go somewhere - a vacation, a day trip or even just walking on the creek - we find one special rock to bring home.  Sometimes we find many rocks, but we really try to find one special rock.  We like rocks that are shaped like things (bonus if they are heart shaped) or have unique features.  Fossils are great, quartzy rocks are good and colors are great too.  

Each rock is a memory and is special.  I do remember where a lot of them came from and the ones that I don't - well, I still know it was a fun family day.  Behind the gnome, there is a huge piece of petrified wood that has been in our family since the 1920's.  

I have a lot of things out there.  Each one found at a yard sale or better yet, curbside.  We even scrounged the bricks from a dump site when they built a house behind ours.  A storm came up before we got the bricks reset straight - that is a job for another day. 

See that cone bucket on the Shepherd's hook?  I never knew what that was until we toured a Trolley Museum and I saw one in a display.  It's a fire bucket for trains and Trolley's.  When you throw the water, it goes out in a big circle to cover more area than a normal bucket.  Cool, huh?  I got mine at a yard sale for $2.00.  I've been buying old junk since before it was the cool thing.  
I'm always on the hunt for old watering cans, but those three are the only ones I have ever found.  The big iron wheel weighs a ton.  I found it at a barn sale.  The man told me it was $2.00 if I carried it to the car or $10.00 if he carried it.  Guess who carried it?  

The Bean's old wagon full of flowers.  I don't know why, but this particular variety of flowers were all in the markdown section for $3.00 a flat.  They were still beautiful too!  

I like pops of blue in the yard. The Dutch kissing couple was thrifted and meant to be resold.  But they are heavy and they look cute there so I guess you can figure out the end of that story.  That poor, poor bunny.  He is on his last summer, I think.  He is so very old - bought from under a table years ago - but so much older than that.  One summer I looked out and HE WAS GONE.  Someone has stolen him while he was still in his prime.  I put a sign on the mailbox saying he had been STOLEN. Two days late, he magically reappeared - missing a foot, but not harmed otherwise.  I never did know the rest of the story. 


Whenever people walk by on the sidewalk, I see them stop and look at things.  They might be thinking it's a glorified junk heap, I don't know.  But, I think they like my things.  At least, I hope they do.  And if they don't - phooey on them.  (Did I ever tell about my new neighbor that moved in last fall?  He came and cleaned up the trash in their yard that the previous tenant had left behind - but continued on into our yard across our property line and threw away my park bench, birdbath and the giant toadstools I had made plus he ripped out all my flowers and a big grapevine I had cultivated on our fence.  After a call to the Police to report the theft, I approached him and he said......wait for it......he said that I should THANK HIM for cleaning up all my junk. Never apologized once. He is not my friend.)

Okay now where was I?  :) 

If you're ever in the area - stop on by and sit a spell!  Then we will get up and make both the back yards and the side yards look pretty too!  Bring your work boots!  :)


  1. Awww. My parents had that dutch couple too. Makes for a fond memory.

  2. I love that you have so many special memories from each of your yard treasures. Too bad your neighbor doesn't appreciate them. Congratulations on knocking out your yard spring cleaning without fighting too. I'm dreading all the mulch that needs to be put around our yard this year.. I swear it's enough to fill a football field.

  3. I love your yard! I have an old bunny and it's still hanging in there but getting pretty ragged. Guess I'll have to find more stuff! :)


  4. I don't think it looks like a pile of junk. It looks like a wonderfully collected and much loved landscaping. It's beautiful. I still can't believe that neighbor. I would have pressed charges.

  5. I love to scatter good junk around my property. It is way more exciting than just boring old flowers and shrubs :-)


  6. I happen to love your yard and I think the neighbor should have been prosecuted!

  7. Good job getting that yard in shape. I love having a yard with personality and not just looking like you filled it with stuff that everyone else has. I can't use wood chips since my flowers beds are thick with plants...no room to spread it out.

  8. Your yard is quirky and fun and wonderful. I would stop and check it all out too, then I would throw some trash at the mean neighbor :)

  9. We bring rocks home with us, too. Have you seen Lucille Ball in The Long Long Trailer?? Too funny! I can't believe that jerk thought it would be okay to come in your yard that way. I hope the police gave him a stern scolding about private property!

  10. I am finishing up graduate school, and, silly as this probably sounds, I've used getting to check your blog as a reward for finishing thesis tasks all semester (well, yours and, funny enough, a few of the lovely ladies who have commented before me on this post). Thank you for letting me live vicariously through your junk and wit, both of which make me smile. Junking has been virtually shut down for the 2 years I've been in grad school, and I cannot wait to graduate in a few weeks so I can rediscover garage sales, thrift stores, and estate sales. Thank you again for tiding me over when I needed a junk "hit." I guess that makes me a junkie. A junk-y junkie.

    1. Hi - I don't know if you will get this - but I wanted to thank you for your comment! it really made my day. Sometimes, when I drag junk home and photograph it, my husband thinks I am crazy. I tell him I have people waiting to see my junk! :) I wish you well on your endeavors - you are a brave soul to be finishing up Grad School! I will try to think of some posts for you - I would hate to disappoint! :) Thanks for commenting!

  11. This is just getting weird. I was just looking online at Lowe's to see how much their mulch was priced at and then I come over here and see you talking about mulch. And Lowes!!! Freaky, I tell you! If I find a concrete rabbit with a foot missing at the thrift store this afternoon I'm just going lose it :)

  12. Your yard makes you happy and that's what counts. How DARE your neighbor throw things away... What a jerk! I'd love to come by and check out all the goodies. Love the old rabbit.


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