Found Friday #45: The Mystery Pipe

Work on the house continues! After finishing up (mostly) on the exterior, we’ve moved inside, and started in the basement. Our workers have relocated our washer and dryer up to our main level, which clears space for us to expand our basement bathroom.

We’ve wanted to do this for a while, as it’s our main guest bathroom and it was just really shabby and dark. And, well, they do say things look worse before they look better.

I’m not worried about that. What I am mildly concerned about is the mystery pipe they uncovered when they took down one of the walls.

We have no idea why it’s there. And it definitely means some extra work. Figuring out what it’s doing, and then figuring out if it’s needed, and then, if it’s needed, finding a better place for it, if that’s even possible.

We knew the plumbing in this house was…let’s just say, confusing. I’ve written about it before. So, we’re not surprised, and we know our crew can handle this little wrinkle. These things happen, and I’m confident that when all is said and done, we’ll have a lovely guest bathroom that I’m no longer embarrassed for our guests to actually use. (And yes, of course I’ll post pictures. 😊)

So, onward!

Another visit to the (maybe) most haunted house in Loudoun…

Around this time for the last couple of years, I’ve posted about this house. Is it the most haunted in Loudoun County? I can’t say. But I can say that it’s still standing, though for how long is anyone’s guess.

Here it is in 2020:

And in 2021:

And today:

There’s something sort of sad and beautiful about watching this house crumble. Sad, because it’s very old and doubtless full of stories, even if it isn’t full of ghosts. And as it deteriorates, a little more every day, it takes those stories with it. Beautiful, because nature has a way of reclaiming land and forging on, regardless of what humans do.

I don’t know what this house will look like next year. But I’ll be there, regardless, to find out.

P.S. As I did last year and the year before, I’ll add this disclaimer:  This house is on private property, and there are no trespassing signs posted, so please don’t go poking around where you’re not welcome. It’s easy enough to take a picture from the road.

Found Friday #44: A New Use for Old Teacups

I collect antique and vintage china. It’s definitely not a problem. I definitely don’t have way too much of it. I definitely have enough space. It’s definitely, totally not getting out of hand at all.

Now that that’s out of the way, I just had to share this with y’all, because seriously, how cute is it?

I went to a farmers market in the next village over a few weeks ago and came across a booth selling teacups and saucers made into candles. I’m not crafty, and as we’ve established, I love vintage and antique china. So, of course I bought two.

They live on my mantle now, and I don’t know if I’ll ever light them, because though they smell lovely, they’re just so adorable and I like them just as they are.

(And truth be told, I bought four. But I only kept two. So it’s fine.)

*If you’d like to check out the vendor I bought them from, here’s the website: https://www.ruralsquirrelcandle.com/

Found Friday #43: Spider Season

I used to be afraid of spiders, but now, living in the country, I look at them as friends. Well, mostly. I certainly wouldn’t want to meet the wrong spider at an inopportune moment, and some relationships work best with a little distance. But I find the ones that set up shop around our property to be largely unintrusive, and interesting, and honestly, sort of beautiful. And it helps that their webs keep the other bugs and pests away.

Now that we’re coming into fall, I’ve seen several.

Mostly writing spiders, which as a writer myself, I can’t help but feel a certain kinship with.

That’s strange, isn’t it? But we women have stories in us, and deep down, I think we’re all weavers and makers.

And I figure, outside in the fields and trees and such, I’m really in their territory, not the other way around. So, as long as they keep to themselves, I’ll do the same.

Found Friday #42: What are these, exactly?

Graham and I stopped into my favorite antique and vintage shop over the weekend, and these little cups caught my eye:

I bought them and brought them home, and for the life of me, I can’t figure out what they’re meant to be used for. Are they sake cups? Maybe they’re for sugar? I don’t know! They’re Nippon, based on the maker’s mark.

But a quick Google search doesn’t turn up this pattern, so who knows? Regardless, I just think they’re neat. And different, given their shape, pattern, and colors, than anything else I have in my china collection. So, overall, a pretty cool find.

Found Friday #41: Another for the (accidental) collection!

I haven’t written a Found Friday in a while, but I picked up a few vintage and antique items over the holidays, and I wanted to share one of them today.

So, I mentioned in a previous Found Friday post that I seem to have accidentally started a collection of antique and vintage ashtrays. Now, I am not a smoker. I never have been. But you know what ashtrays are good for these days? Holding crystals.

Or jewelry, or dried petals, or other various and sundries. Which, honestly, I’ve got a lot of. And I figure it’s much better to repurpose an old ashtray than to see it thrown out, if it’s generally sturdy, nice-looking, and worth a few extra dollars. I like the idea of taking something associated with a bad habit and giving it a better purpose. I’m really not fond of this new culture of quick construction and disposability that we’ve found ourselves in lately, and I love a piece with a story.

Cut to a random Thursday in December, just before Christmas, and I came across this little curiosity in a shop run by a friend of mine:

It’s cheeky, right? With the cigarette holder in the middle, and the leaf and vine embellishments. It was sitting on a shelf, sort of hidden, and I just happened to spot it. So of course I bought it and brought it home.

The friend who owns the shop suggested that it could be a good paintbrush holder, which I can definitely see. But unfortunately, I don’t paint, so I’m not quite sure yet what it’s use will be. That’s okay, though. I’m not quite sure what my use is some days, either. 

Revisiting the (maybe) most haunted house in Loudoun County…

Around this time last year, I posted about what some believe to be the most haunted house in Loudoun County.

I wrote about it last year because I’d been reading a book of ghost stories my friend gave me , and I connected some dots and came to conclusion that the house in a story I’d read that day was very likely the same house.

Can I be certain? Well, no, but I’d like to think I’m right, because it’s a pretty cool connection. See, this house is just a few minutes away on the outskirts of our village, and Graham and I drive by it frequently. Of all the gin joints, right?

I’ve always been a fan of both ghost stories and old houses. I love walking into a space knowing that it has a history, that others have come and gone and loved it and built their lives there before me. And honestly, I think it’s just a fundamentally, very human thing to love ghost stories. Something in our primal makeup, in our DNA and our bones and the very oldest part of our brains tells us to be afraid of things that go bump in the night, and to ponder what happens to us when we die. I grew up in a town full of ghosts and legends, and I live in an area rife with them now, too. And this house is just one small piece of that larger puzzle.

Or, it was. Which is to say, it still is, but for how long is anyone’s guess. It was a ruin last year. It’s in worse shape now.

Graham stopped by yesterday and snapped this picture. Sad, isn’t it? Soon enough, the house will be gone, and the stories will be all that’s left. Then one day, they’ll be forgotten, too. But for now, the house is still here, crumbling away on the roadside, taking its secrets with it.

P.S. As I did last year, I’ll add this disclaimer:  This house is on private property, and there are no trespassing signs posted, so please don’t go poking around where you’re not welcome. It’s easy enough to take a picture from the road.

A Friday in the Fall

September is the month of gold –
the leaves,
the light,
the hours.
And there’s nothing quite like
a September night,
when the magic of
the harvest moon makes
lovers and poets of both
the young and the old.

I always feel a little melancholy seeing September come to an end. And yes, I know we’re not quite there yet. I’m thoroughly enjoying the slant of the light, the slightly cooler temperatures, the way the leaves have just started to turn… I love it all. And I just had to share this moment.

This is the sunset today, on the (small) mountain behind my house. I can’t get enough of it. And I know that soon enough, it will be dark at this time of day. But with the winter comes the stars, so I’m not complaining. I always have loved winter best. But for now, I’m soaking up this special September magic.

Found Friday #40: Spider Writer

I’ve mentioned before that I’m not particularly squeamish about bugs and other creepy crawlies. (Except snakes.) I find them pretty fascinating, actually. (Except snakes.) So when Graham snapped a shot of this colorful lady while he was out doing some work on the house yesterday, my first thought was, “What a pretty spider!”

And she is, isn’t she?

I did some research today, and it turns out, this giantess is an Argiope aurantia, sometimes called the writing spider. They’re known for the patterns they weave into their webs, which often look like X’s and Z’s. They’re not aggressive, but they will bite if provoked, and they tend to stay in one place throughout their lifetimes. And an interesting bit of folklore: It’s been said that if you tear down a writing spider’s web or try to harm it, the spider will build a new web the next day with your name written in silk, thereby cursing you with bad luck.

So, I’ll leave her alone, then. Which is my general rule of thumb anyway, when it comes to spiders.

But it does feel sort of appropriate to have a writing spider close by. I certainly don’t plan to bother her, but I think it’s pretty likely that I’ll check on her every now and again, if only to see what new patterns she’s created.