My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Pre-Yard Sale Rainbow, Post-Yard Sale Fiesta!

"A garage sale is basically when strangers come to your house 
and examine your personal belongings with undisguised contempt."

Yep. But they came in droves on day #2 like they had on day#1 in spite of the deterioration in the weather, and bought most of our contemptible crap. :-)  We had thunderstorms all during Friday night, with thunder so loud and lightning so plentiful and bright that it woke me around 11pm in spite of my exhaustion (BW slept through it all!), and I wasn't able to get to back to sleep till about 4am. So I went through day #2 with even more sleep deprivation than I had the day before. The weather that morning was still so ominous we briefly debated whether to set up our sale at all. I guess this full rainbow that greeted us that morning from our front yard, like the one the evening before in our back yard, was an auspicious sign! The clouds finally moved out and the we had stiff breezes rather than the strong gusts they'd predicted, thankfully...

The rainbow's left side to our south,

and its right side across the street to our west

We sold everything except for a box of books we donated to the library, three boxes of miscellany we donated to a local church thrift shop, a box of equine supplies that we gave to the folks who board Mocha, and one small box of items we'll keep for now. All our new clutter-free space feels wonderful! Our yard sale partners did very well too - together our four families made almost $1500, so I guess we can put up with a few derogatory comments about our possessions for that. ;-)

It was too hectic to take photos - the sale was supposed to start at 8am, but people were arriving not long after 6:30 when we'd barely begun setting up! (Why do some people always show up that early? It's obnoxious, for one thing, and they end up only seeing about 1/4 of the merchandise!) Our sale ended at noon Saturday, but folks were still stopping by as late as 2:30 when BW and I were packing up the last of the stuff to haul away. But even that wasn't the latest of the "late birds" - our doorbell rang at 6pm, and there stood a woman wanting to know if we still had the computer desk! Nope, Robyn's desk is now available for purchase at the church thrift store! I mean, really.

Anyway, as I was saying - it was too hectic to take photos during the yard sale, but I did notice as we were closing down that our rose bush had put out its first bloom! So, proud plant mama that I am, I had to snap a photo...

Meanwhile, the amazing and indefatigable Robyn invited us over for dinner and margaritas later that evening, to show us her garden and enjoy a slightly belated celebration of BW's birthday. I don't know how she managed it, and I figured I'd fall asleep in my margarita after the first sip, but buoyed by our successful yard sale (and knowing how delicious Robyn's food is), no way were we tired enough - or foolish enough - to decline. So that evening found us touring Robyn's lovely yard and garden, and admiring her newest addition - this sweet faerie cart she bought at the local greenhouse, in part with a gift certificate we'd given her for her birthday... 

We thought it was adorable and especially love the disco ball for boogying faeries! 

And then we got to enjoy a Christmas present I'd given her this year, this festive string of margarita lights she'd put on her deck...

But what fun are margarita lights without any actual margaritas? Robyn had found a recipe for pomegranate margaritas she wanted to try, so she made it for the first time that night and it was a huge hit! We all loved it - it was a perfect, flavorful combination of sweet-tart. Pretty, too! (I've shared the recipe at the bottom of this post)...

And check out this colorful spread of nosh! Robyn had made a pasta salad and also put out fixin's for a delicious "Spicy Chick'n Taco Salad" with her homemade "fiery sauce" (in the bowl to the far left), and for BW's birthday she'd made the indescribably delicious Coconut Lime Cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World...

Robyn had made these and several other flavors of vegan cupcakes for her daughter's Hawaiian themed wedding reception last spring and asked us to be taste testers for her. Though they're made with some unhealthful ingredients we typically avoid (margarine, oil, shortening, refined white flour, powdered sugar... yikes!), we thought it would be bad form not to help out a friend in need. ;-) I swear I gained at least 10 pounds passing judgement on those amazing cupcake samples, and this sublime flavor (teehee) was one of our absolute favorites. 

This one's still in its paper baking cup so you can't see the "cake" part, but it has a lovely soft green hue with little flecks of lime zest through it. I don't have the cookbook or the recipe, but I found it online. They are beguilingly pretty and deliciously vegan, but they are also epic sugar-and-fat-bombs that are highly addictive! You've been warned... :-) 

And here's the margarita recipe I promised, so you'll have something to wash down your cupcakes with...

Pomegranate Margaritas

1 cup tequila
1 cup triple sec (or orange liqueur of your choice)
3 TBSP agave nectar* (optional)
1¼ cups pomegranate juice
¾ cup fresh squeezed lime juice
4 cups ice

Mix the tequila, triple sec, and agave nectar. Stir in the pomegranate and lime juices and ice. Serve and enjoy!

(We had ours without salt on the glass rim, but that's certainly an option. Update: Also optional is the agave nectar, we've since discovered! They're equally delicious without any sweetener).

I also found this very similar recipe (minus the sweetener but adding the salt) that just serves one... in case you prefer to drink alone or don't need to make a vat of it to unwind with your lushy friends after a grueling two-day yard sale!) :-)

We didn't get to bed till midnight, so we took it pretty easy on Sunday, BW's last day of vacation. One thing we did was take the girls to visit Mocha and go on a hike, and I got a few fun photos during that outing that I'll share in my next post. See you then! :-)


  1. I'm out of breath just reading your post and I may have to make a margarita just to relax. If only I had any of the ingredients on hand. Oh wait, I do have ice.

    Congrats on an impressively successful garage sale — both in foot traffic and sales. And yes, those early and late jokers need a speaking to. I know to put "no early birds" in the ad, but "no late birds?" Yikes. It should be 'early birdbrains'.

    You sure have a lot of rainbows. I usually have to water the lawn to see one. I remember in New Zealand we saw rainbows nearly every day, and it was so magical.

    1. LOL - well, ice is a start! :-)

      Thanks for the congrats! We've tried the "no early birds" line in our ad, but they ignore it - or can't read. I always give those people the stink-eye and cold shoulder, but everyone else in my sale seems happy to see them. I think it's unfair to the people who show up on time, and were it up to me and me alone I would refuse to make any sales until the start time stated in our ad. But then, I'm a hardass, as we've all observed before. :-)

      We do get a lot of rainbows here! I miss seeing them from the perspective of 5500' high above the valley Sheridan sits in, but it's nice to still get them and know that sometimes I'll even still get to see them in their unobstructed entirety! (Right now we're having a bought of very scary, violent weather, and not even the world's prettiest rainbow will make me feel better about the destruction to the $$$ and time and effort we put into our landscaping! (Hail, more 60mph wind gusts, torrential rains - we went through it this afternoon, are going through it again now, and more is in the forecast till Friday. What a spring!)

  2. Oh, I think the vat is more eco efficient...environmentally irresponsible to make just one glass!
    Jane x

    1. Interesting spin - well, I like to do my part for the environment, so a vat it is! ;-)

  3. The margaritas look WONDERFUL. And a very suitable reward for the hard yards you had all put in. The cupcakes look pretty impressive too - though my sweet tooth is largely gone. A savoury tooth(?) these days... I loved your rainbows. Magic.
    My partner's sister ALWAYS turns up early to garage sales. She says that she does so to get there before people have finished setting up and to get the best buys. Rude. And inconsiderate. I suspect I would simply refuse to sell things...

    1. They were all of that!! I have far more of a savory tooth than a sweet one myself (had two servings of the spicy chick*n salad but just one cupcake), but even so, those cupcakes are positively breathtaking!

      Your partner's sister would be mighty disappointed if she showed up early to a garage sale here expecting the best buys! Those come at the very end of the sale, not the very beginning! In fact, one early bird on the first day of ours tried to get us to come off the price of an item and we told him no, we still had two full sale days and someone would show up and see that it was a good deal at the full price. Sure enough, that guy came back an hour later and bought it for full price. But by the end we were pretty much giving stuff away just so we wouldn't have to pack it back up and haul it off! So... I whole-heartedlyl agree with "rude" and "inconsiderate" and would add "also stupid." :-)

  4. What will you do with all your newly-found free space.....and nicely inflated bank account ;-). Glad everything went well and that you enjoyed your well-deserved party, drinks and grub....too cool!

    1. I hope to keep it free and spacious, dear Spudly! :-) As for the nicely inflated bank account, we already put some of it toward much needed new shoes (we both have worn out tennies and my beloved Sanuks are on their last - pardon the pun - legs) - and the rest will go toward our upcoming vacation!

      That party was an awful lot of fun, and that food and those margaritas were a treat that made it all worthwhile, at least as much as the gained space and jingle! Wish I could share some of it with you!

  5. The faerie cart is terrific! How cool...those lights aren't bad either. :-)

    1. Isn't it wonderfully fun? And I know, those margarita lights were a bit hard to part with! :-)

  6. What a whirlwind of a day for you! That's great that most of your stuff sold but I don't know how you put up with all those people. I would have probably exploded after just a few hours.... :o

    I would be very excited about my first rose, too. It's so pretty! I bet it smells terrific, too.

    I love Robyn's cart & the margarita lights. So fun! We're planning on getting some lights for the Airstream and are trying to figure out the best shape to get. There are so many cute ones out there!

    The margaritas sound SO delicious. It's been years since I had one, although I've taken sips out of Mike's on the occasions when he has one. I'd love the pomegranate flavor, especially paired with one of those decadent cupcakes! Coconut & lime are one of my favorite combos, although I know what you mean about the recipes in that book. I used to have it and finally got rid of it because of those ingredients (and the highly addictive nature of all the cupcakes I made).

    1. They've all felt like whirlwind days lately (hence my tardiness in replying to your comment!), some days literally (this weather!! GAH!!!)

      I had a few mini-detonations during some of the worst behavior, and was reminded yet again why I don't own a store (or any other business that has to cater to the public!) :-)

      Have you checked Party Lights? (I'm sure you probably have, you always find cool stuff online!) :-) We've ordered from them before and were very pleased, though I often check witih Amazon for better pricing. Don't they make Airstream lights?? If not, there's a niche that needs to be filled and could make us a fortune! :-) (Btw, in case you're tempted to check out the "camping/hunting/fishing" category on their light strings pages, don't. It's mostly ghastly hunting/fishing motifs - the only "camping" ones are two sizes of red camping lanterns).

      Poor Robyn's faerie cart (and nearly everything else) took a major hit in last night's ping-pong ball sized hailstorm that hit that part of town (she's only a little more than a mile from us, but it made a huge difference as we only got a few hailstones that size - but hearing them hit the roof was scary enough!) She said some of the metal leaves got bent and knocked off the cart - along with holes bunched in their siding and patio furniture cushions, all their plantings and her fountain destroyed, big dents in her greenhouse and Jesse's truck, etc. I feel so awful for her - she works SO hard on their place and always has it looking so beautiful! It's not fair.

      I love margarita's, though I'm generally a fan of the classic lime flavor. But I think I like these pom ones even better! And I believe you about that book - even Chandra gained a lot of weight and was having some health issues after finishing it (imagine all the cupcakes she had to taste test!), and wrote Appetite for Reduction next as an antidote!

  7. First, thanks for my reply to the yard sale part 1 comment. What incredible memory you have of that art class!

    Wow, what a "take" for four families and best yet is that very short list of what you had left and better yet, what you still have - that's great.

    Your first rose is really pretty - all those beautiful shades of pink. I'm glad you took a moment to stop and smell (photograph) the rose!

    I can't imagine how Robyn had the energy to host a dinner after two days doing a garage sale. Bravo for her. I totally want one of her lime cupcakes - they look amazing!! I'm sure they are totally worth the calories.

    I love her Faerie cart - that is so pretty and a perfect think to spend her birthday money from you on!!

    1. You're welcome! It's funny the things that will stick fast in our long term memory files, and the stuff that doesn't! (Or maybe it's an issue of accessibility - perhaps every memory is still there, but some of the files are in unmarked boxes in the sub-basement!) :-)

      Everything about that yard sale felt pretty darned good - the cash-flow in, the stuff-flow out, and the fact it was finally over with! :-)

      Our rose bush had a half dozen lovely blooms on it when one of the storms knocked them all off. Then several more buds bloomed again, only to have the next storm do the same thing. Little bush is resilient though, it just keeps putting out flowers! Gotta love those hybrid wild roses, they're almost as tough as the fully wild ones (a huge patch of which is growing in a no-man's land down the street, so when we return from vacation I intend to take some cuttings and see if I can get them to root!)

      I can't imagine where Robyn finds that energy either (mental as well as physical), she puts Martha to shame! The cupcakes are indeed amazing - but it's not just the calories (of which there are, I'm sure, a shocking number) - it's the unhealthiness of the ingredients. One of the two cookbook authors (Isa) actually suffered health problems along with weight gain after finishing that cookbook because of all the cupcakes she had to test during its production, and wrote a low and no-fat cookbook, "Appetite for Reduction" after changing her diet for the better to get well again! I know a couple a year won't kill us, though, but their addictive power is NOT to be taken lightly!!

      I thought all that too about her Faerie cart, and was probably more heartsick over its damage than anything else! (Roof? Siding? Truck? Meh - but FAERIE CART? NOOOOOO!!!!)


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  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman

There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"

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