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, June 15, 2015

Are You Ready For This?

You know I am long winded - so here comes the Junk Ranch Recap.  This is a good place for me to document things so I can refer back to it for the next one.

Wednesday afternoon, The Junk Ranch girls were nice enough to let me run out a small load of tables and blowmolds and leave them in my spot until set up the next day.  I take a huge amount of things to sell, plus all my display items and tables, food, chairs, the cooler and on and on.  But, I do it all in two trips out in a Ford Escape.  I am a packer.

See?  Thursday morning I packed the rest of the merchandise into the car.  I use tote bags rather than tubs because they are flexible and I can fit a crazy amount of things in there.  That is all my merchandise, shelving, crates, the tent, chairs and God knows what else.  

Well, even The Big Guy.  Hee-hee. 

I got my display set up while The Bean did the tent.  Then I started loading the merchandise in.  I only set up part of it since we had Friday morning to spiff it up.  Gates don't open until 1:00, but I was there before 8:00 setting it up.  

I can't always use the banner in my set up, but The Bean saw that it would fit in between these two trees.  They are the only trees on the property and we are right under them.  This is important when it is one thousand and ten degrees like it was this weekend.  Holy Moses.  It was a scorcher.  

Friday morning we got there early and started loading in the items and making my vignettes.  I was plugging along, then I started hearing chatter.  

The line had reached around the corner to be right by our booths.  So we had an audience while we were working.  Note to self: Aim buttcrack towards the tent, not towards the crowd.  Check.  

I swiped these of Facebook.  Can you see the line that this car was in?  Cars behind them, and all the way around.  Crazy stuff.  They line up to go to Razorback games.  But for junk?  That's amazing. 

A few photos before the gates opened and the cattle were allowed in the venue.  THUNDER THUNDER THUNDER.  (Thundering of feet, not actual thunder.  That would wait until Saturday).  

Old metal suitcase full of Scrabble words and painted tiles.  I sold these all day long.  I think I probably sold about $300 or more in tiles and racks.  It is really silly, yet a good money maker.  I suggest you do it too - unless YOU are a Junk Ranch seller.  I spotted one of my original ideas being sold out there this time.  Not cool, dude.  But, whatev.  The little frames are individual milk caps on feedsack squares.  I sold a few of those.  

I always put all the ephemera and tins of things to paw through on the inside so they are safe from the wind and elements.  People love digging in stuff.  Myself included!  The flash card packets were in high demand.  I sold each packet for $4.00 each.  A lady would walk up and hand me three packets of flash cards, three Scrabble tiles and a couple of word packets - just a small handful.  I would tally it up to $28.00 and feel nearly guilty charging that much for what would fit in a paper popcorn sack. But she would happily pay it and go on about her way.  I did that all day long.  I felt bad but they were happy.  But, now I am happy that I made them happy!  

I had made bundles of flash cards - holidays, wedding, patriotic, vintage, Southern sayings, monthly and a few others.  I bought 1000 manila index dividers at Goodwill for $4.00, and a $4.00 ink cartridge and went to town printing.  I cut four to a page and rounded the corners.  I think I sold 40-50 sets.  I wasn't sure that sort of thing would go over there, but thankfully it did.  

My first sale of the day was two pinwheels so I thought they would move all day long.  I only sold one more after that.  But, I had to tuck them away from the elements so they weren't that visible.  I love them and will take them to the next JR.    

I sold a few clipboards  - I had to protect them once the wind, dirt and RAIN hit.  Hard to sell when it's under the table.  But, they will keep.  My Dad scored that stool out of a trash heap.  I sold it for $30.00.  

I sold quite a few aprons.  Including one off that rack in the back that belonged to the booth next to me.  WHOOPS.  An older lady on a rollerator (!) came in with a red gingham apron and asked how much.  Now, if it was any apron other than a gingham apron, I would have realized that it wasn't mine.  All my aprons were $5.00 each, so I sold it for $5.00.  Then I realized it had a different clothespin than mine.  Hmm.  So, I asked if it was Lara's - nope.  So I asked the lady next door,  Yes, it was hers.  It was her Grandmother's.  It was $10.00.  I told them what happened and they laughed and took the $5.00.  Thank goodness.  I had my linens there first, I thought it was weird they put theirs touching mine anyway.  It looked like one display.  I sold all that Niagara Starch for $3.00 a box.  

My feedsack pendants were well received.  Sold a lot of them until they had to be put inside too.  

Vintage items on the backside.  There's the globe.  The guy heckled it.  A few people asked for a better price.  I had $125.00 on it and I was sure that it was worth that and more.  A young lady walked in and handed me some ephemera stuff and said, "And, I want the globe, please."  No haggling, she knew.  She was pleased as punch.  I was pleased too.  I paid $18.00 for it.  

Vintage this and that.  Sold a bunch of this stuff.  

And lots of this stuff too.  

I love this old feed store rack.  It folds up flat and is easy to haul and set up.  But you know what? Nothing EVER sells off it.  I mean a few things, but it's like no one sees it.  Or they say OH I HAD THAT WHEN I WAS A KID, and they walk on by.  I think I will just find a use for that rack here at home where I can enjoy it.  

Weird little man area I set up.  Sold that 8 ft. flag for $10.00 because I could tell the man was going to treat it properly.  I felt odd selling it, but I had rescued it the same way.  Sold the cabinet on the ground and many of the things on the table.  I think every single booth out there had bowling pins. And pool balls.  It was a requirement.  

I really liked this set up and plan to do more like it in the future.  

The head in the box got some attention.  I will be sad when she sells.  I have more fun with her.  The terrarium sold but the lady very emphatically told me, "But you can keep the HEAD."  

When I was packing thing s up to take, I said that I would not consider myself a success until I sold that Rose Bud Beauty Queen trophy.  I have schlepped that to a couple Junk Ranch shows and both booths.  Normally, I would get rid of an item that didn't sell after all that.  But come on - a PINK Rose Bud Beauty Queen trophy?  Someone needed that.  Then along came Kelly and her daughter. She came in and swooped that up and came to pay.  I told her I was so happy she was buying it. Turned out, she had seen it earlier that day and had been retracing all the booths trying to find it since she couldn't get it out of her head.  She told me that she was going to hide it in her house and someday when she was dead her grandchildren would be SO impressed when they discovered Grandma's Beauty Pageant Trophy.  "Grandma was a Beauty Queen!" they will say.  That is my kind of lady!  She also spotted a pink handled cap gun that I had and announced that a Rose Bud Queen needed that too.  $16.00 later and she left in search of a crown.  She made my day.  

A young college age girl bought my French Artist easel.  When she picked it up, she caressed the case and then kissed it before she honest to goodness skipped off with it.  Her friend haggled for a better price on her behalf.  I think I could have charged an extra $20.00 and she would have bought it though.  She was in LOVE.  That made me happy too.  

Everyone looked at this tiny old chair.  Everyone loved it.  No one bought it though.  Isn't is cute???

Sold this fantastic gumball machine.  I love it, but I have a nice old one so it had to go.  It made a special guy very happy too.  Obligatory pool balls.  If you don't have pol balls in your booth, they toss you out of the Junk Ranch.  Kidding.  Everyone had them though.  I didn't sell any until almost the end of the second day and then a lady bought half of them.  
I had made magnetic clips to go on some of my book clipboards, but when I put them on the book cover, they didn't open wide enough to hold paper.  On a whim, I took them and put them on an old tin lid for $2.00 each.  I sold them all.  A happy accident.  I'll make more since it was an easy make and an easy sell.  

The grounds are too big for me to make a quick run through. I did manage a quick run out to take a photo of the barn.  See those clouds? Those clouds wouldn't be there - it would be all blue and sunny and HOT and then out of nowhere the clouds would roll in and it would sprinkle.  Everyone thought it would pass quickly and not amount to much.  Man,were they wrong.  twice within two hours, there was a full on storm with horrific rain and thunder.  I have walls on my tent. so we pulled them down and zipped ourselves up inside with two strange women who just stood there texting.  I mean, I knew I had to let them stay in there so they wouldn't get wet or get struck my lightening.  But, my STUFF was out there getting drenched.  When it let up, I went out to survey the damage (and make sure Lara was okay in her tent) and found mixing bowls with belt buckles floating in them and all sorts of waterlogged items.  But within seconds, the sun was out in full force and everything dried up perfectly.  The only thing that was wet on the trip home were my tablecloths so they went straight into the washer.  

Directions and selfie station.

Junk as far as the eye can see.  The boy in the hat - he's been helping his Mom at TJR just like The Bean since it started.  He made it all the way to the corner just to give me and Lara a hug.  We've made some bonds out there with people that we will never see any other place than in that field.  

And then, quick as that, it was like we were never there.  It is a lot of work getting ready, setting up is long and hard, tearing down and packing up is grueling.  The heat was a killer.  The rain was horrific.  But, you know what?  I am never quite as happy as I am peddling junk under my pink tent out in that field.  I feel happy and like I can be who I want to be. People are friendly and want to tell you why they are buying the things they do. I mean, let's face it, no one needs anything out there.  It is all fun and collecting and memories and impulse buys.  Any money we make is pure darn luck.  Seeing someone thrilled with something that I found interesting enough to buy, price and haul out there makes me feel like I just might know what I am doing.  Just a little bit anyway.  My heart is full tonight knowing people had fun at The Junk Ranch.  I am proud to be an original vendor and hope to be a part of it forever.  

That's another Junk Ranch for the books.  

(Photo courtesy of The Bean when I went looking for some quiet to use the phone.  I never did find quiet!)

**Tap tap.  You still there?  


Click here to see a ton of fabulous photos of the Junk ranch and the people with their purchases.  
It's awesome!


  1. Congratulations on another successful event, Shara. You certainly packed a lot of neat treasures into your booth. I would have happily spent hours digging and visiting with you. I hope you can rest up a bit this week.

  2. sounds like it was profitable and fun all great things.

  3. Wow, your booth was awesome. Looks like it was a lot of fun. I do one market every year (it was last weekend) and it is so much fun peddling junk. It's also amazing how much money you make by selling dollar, 2 dollar, and 3 dollar items. It adds up quickly!

  4. Great recap of the Junk Ranch Shara. As always your booth looked fabulous and glad to hear the people were out in full force. I'm not surprised that you sold so much, you make great displays and your stuff is fun. Glad to hear the rain didn't stick around too long. I WILL be there for the next one!

  5. You always take us on the most facinating journeys. I can just sit in my lazy girl and feel like I am right there. So when are you writing that book again?

  6. I would love to visit you at Junk Ranch (well except for that long line..ugh). So glad you had fun and made sales. You do have awesome stuff my friend.

  7. Gosh you bring a bunch of stuff to your show! Would love to road trip your way someday for it (with Amy in tow). Half the fun of the show is the customers..always fun to see old friends and make new ones. You certainly craft a ton for the show too...what a ton of work! Glad it went well!

  8. Great story and congratulations on a great sale!! I loved the beauty queen story and might have to try that so my kids have something to talk about besides why in the world did Mom have a jewelry box full of sewing pins.

  9. What a great piece Shara. Very insightful, humorous and plenty of pics. You can add writer to your many talents.

  10. Perfect. Thanks! :)

  11. I enjoyed all the pictures from the show. I am glad it was such a success for you because you put a lot of hard work into it.

  12. I love that you love it! I really am going to try to come out to one of your shows one of these days. Maybe I can talk my husband into taking a trip to the Grand Canyon and I can stop off to shop there (that is in that general direction, right?). Glad to see that easel sold to someone who loved it so much!!!

  13. Love your booth!! I wish I was closer as I would buy so much from it. Glad it went well.

  14. Congrats on a successful sale. You clearly know what you're doing in that setting! Awesome! Did Jesus sell?


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