Thursday, April 9, 2015

Tiemann Memoirs Chapter 6/Yankee Thrift

Following Chapter 6 is an article on “Yankee” thrift opportunities in Cavendish today. To read the prelude and other chapters of Tiemann’s Memoirs go to Coming to Vermont (Cavendish): Memoirs of Philip Tiemann.

Our program of renovation advanced too slowly. During bad weather, of which there were several spells, I worked in the house, but this was far from enough time to complete some important jobs, -especially making the big old kitchen fireplace usable. This was only one step toward making the room livable, as we had regretfully decided that the floor under the dry sink in the pantry would have to be replaced. It, and the beams below, were rotted to the point of being dangerous, but they could not be removed without taking down the partition separating pantry from kitchen. Here I began to learn how one thing generally leads to another, and it is impossible to estimate the time required until after long years of experience.

I at least had the benefit of the advice of my carpenter neighbor; even tho he must have derived much amusement from the way I went about things, he went out of his way to be helpful. And his son went with me into the woods where we felled several suitable hemlock trees, peeled them, cut them to approximate length and hewed them flat on one side, then skidded them to the house behind Dan. They were left then to season a bit, altho being cut in the fall they were not sappy. - While we were about it we also brought up the cut branches with which to bank the foundation of the house,- a practice I abandoned after a couple of years as involving more time than it was worth.

At this point Nature intervened. The summers are shorter here then down in New Jersey, and toward the end of August evenings were getting rather chills but we thought little of it. The night before Labor Day was fine and clears as still as could be, and with that sort of green­ish tinge around the horizon after the sun went down. morn­ing we awoke shivering* to gaze out upon a frost so heavy it resembled snow. Everything was sparkling white. We had never thought to cover the gardens, and still did not realize what a catastrophe had struck. Howevers-it was quite evident that we were ill-prepared for winter. What we needed most was the fireplace.

Staying with us just then were a number of "family" including e brother-in-law who enjoyed country living and was of great help to us on a num­ber of occasions. He and I had been planning to take down the partition and I hated to interrupt this, but there was no choice: fireplace first. So while the others were bringing in what could be salvaged. from the garden, we got busy tearing up the boards, which had been used to replace the original hearth, finding all kinds of rubbish beneath.

The mess was cleared away to the brick construction below, which as seen in the cellar was a very strong arch built out over compartments containing shelves. It seemed as tho eventually a brick hearth would be ideal, but there was neither time nor material for that now; so as a temporary expedient I carried innumerable buckets of sand from near Second Brook and filled in the aperture to floor level. This made it possible to have a fire that very evening, and we were rewarded by the pleasure of watching the flames reaching up the wide black throat of the chimney.

A good part of the weeks then, we men were able to spend on the carpentry job,- carefully removing the shelves and wide spruce panels of the partition before ripping out the rotted flooring and prying up the beams.

We discovered that a length of the main transverse sill which had supported the inner end of the beams was "gone" and, being unable to remove it entire, we cut off and replaced a section held up by a stout post, Our recently-cut beams were trimmed to an exact fit, eased into notches, and. the fist surfaces finished off ready for a temporary floor,- which was finished on Sunday.

While not our original intention, we found that we liked having the room larger, with the additional light from the window to the west end. Also the old pantry shelves against the wall could be used for books. So we delayed replacing the partition, and never have done so: its panels have proved useful elsewhere. That end of the room made a con­venient dining space for quite a few years. Covered by a large carpet, the "temporary" floor remained until the entire floor of the room was replaced at a later date.

Having made such good headway, I "took off" part of a day to accompany my brother-in-law to Bridgewater and Plymouth, and so increased my knowledge of our new state. This was pleasant and relaxing. - On a few occasions Isabel and I, or she alone, had been to Brattleboro or Claremont for necessary purchases, but we were far too busy for unnecessary. trips.

Nor did we really have the time to entertain. But any city dweller who migrates to the country can count on a good many visitors for while. People are curious, some with friendly intent and others who want to find out what you have gotten into. But after a while it boils down to those who are really interested; a number of these, both family and friends, came up and did yeomen service in house and fields, and we enjoyed them sincerely. We have appreciated both their company and their help, and I hope they have liked it here. I'm certain all the children had fun in the brooks !

Thrifting in and around Cavendish
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without,” was the guiding principle for not only the Tiemann’s but for most people in Cavendish during the 1930s. To help our present day residents, the following local “thrifty” resources are provided:

In Person Shopping

• Black River Good Neighbor: Has a thrift store in the old armory building in Ludlow, off of Main Street, as well as a used furniture store on Main Street. Twice a year they hold a large tag sale at Fletcher Farms.

• Cavendish Transfer Station: Check with the attendant before taking something.

• Chester Andover Family Center-Thrift Shop (close to GMUHS at 908 Main St. Chester): Follow their Facebook page as it includes up to date items in their thrift shop.  

• SEVCA Good Buy Store: 23-25 Main St, Springfield Note that SEVCA also has stores in Bellows Falls and Brattleboro.

Myrtle’s Closet: Springfield, benefits the Springfield Area Parent Child Center. Features clothing. 

• Other thrift stores near by: Use the National Thrift Store Directory, which includes recommendations, addresses and store hours. 

• Cavendish Town Wide Tag Sale: Takes place the last Saturday in July. This year it will be on July 25. Learn more at the 5th Annual Tag Sale websiteCavendish Connects sponsors this event.

• Abundance Swap: Sponsored by Cavendish Connects, this takes place the first Saturday in December. This year it will be Dec. 6 at the Cavendish Town Elementary School.

On-line Resources
• Cavendish Community Garage Sale Facebook page  You will need to be a Facebook member to participate in this group.

Springfield VT Freecycle: The Springfield, VERMONT Freecycle Group is open to those in this area, and within a 30 mile radius, who want to recycle that special something rather than throw it away. Whether it's a chair, canning jar, piano or old door, or you name it: feel free to post it.

• Craigslist Vermont: Note that there is a “free section.” 

• Yankee Thrift: The Pinterest board operated by Cavendish Connects. Lots of wonderful ways to help you save money. 

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