Friday, July 27, 2012

Cline's Antiques, Mt. Pleasant, NC

The word "Antiques" is often misused...and in the case of Cline's, I'd say it's a real stretch!

Antique = 100+ years old
Vintage = 50-99 years old (it's actually a wine term that is misused)
Beyond that, the subgroup encompasses collectibles, knicknacks, new, old, used, pre-owned, junque, and gewgaws...typically decorative trinkets and baubles. 

My cousin Chris and I drove about an hour from Charlotte to Mt. Pleasant, in search of Cline's. I'd heard it's a must-see, and was warned that it's dusty and that though not a lot is marked, Mr. Cline doesn't bargain on prices. Acres of stuff, in trailers, out on the grass left to weather, crammed into old barns. Chris remembered seeing an article about Cline's not long ago, in Country Living Magazine. We were on a mission.
We took some back roads...which I prefer to the highway! It's rural, for sure, and we both stopped to take photos along the way.

Moose Drug Co in Mt. Pleasant---GREAT old wooden sign! The "M" is about 6' tall.

Either add a "p" or leave off the "e!"

Arriving at Cline's, the first view is of rusting junk, and a big metal pig in a pickup truck. What were we in for?

Whoa. Trailers with rickety steps. I felt like I was on an episode of "Storage Wars!"

You just have to take your time and focus. There's a lot to see, and a lot to overlook. And there are no shopping carts. Red wagons would suffice...but, nope.

The dusty dirt paths had some broken glass, and there are fire ants in the grass out in the fields. It must be crazy in the rain. The don't sweep, or clean, or arrange or put prices on most items. "Salespeople" are non existent. A few guys were sitting around under a shady tree. I guess if you need help, just make your way over there. It's an oddly wonderful place.

 Bring a wheelie cart, or an Ikea bag and then make a pile somewhere if you run out of hands. I was taking pix, so I kept having to put my "finds" down!

I got a bunch of unused flour sacks for $1 each and sent them to my sister. The colors match her kitchen, and she's going to make kitchen chair covers!

Showroom condition!
Probably a good idea to bring a flashlight!

Marketing extinquishers and a rusty mantel in a big heap.
Furniture shopping would be a bit frustrating! There are a few signs warning shoppers not to remove latches, knobs or hinges. That's fair!
Little ceramic whales

Ceramic glove molds, circa 1980. I picked one up for $10.

Mr. Cline sits in a little air conditioned shack at the entrance, and you hold out your "finds" while he jots down what and how much on a little slip of memo paper. There's not a lot of conversation.

I'm "aware" of what's out there, so for $50, I know I got a bargain on things that cost more in shops that have overhead. The only overhead at Cline's is the big, blue sky. For example, the flour sacks were $1 each and I got six....

...20 minutes up the road in Concord, at The Depot at Gibson Mill...the sacks are $7 apiece ;-)  The ceramic glove mold, chosen from a pile on a table, was $10 at Cline's, and the one below was marked $24-$35 by various vendors at the Depot  ;-) Pickers do well at Clines...they scoop stuff up and double the price at their shop.

The glove mold in my bathroom--I use it to hold the jewelry I wear the most. Love it.

I already had a cast iron mermaid, but I picked up two hooks for a few dollars each at Cline's. I'll use them in my 'retro beachy' guest bath to hang robes and towels.

As an aside..different day, different sale: I could NOT resist these vintage sunglasses---my friend Lisa Marie put them on as a joke, at a tag sale a few weeks ago. Once I was 100% sure she didn't want them, I snapped them up for 50 cents (!) and they look awesome in the guest bath, perched on top of a poster I've had for years.

The enameled "Packard" pitcher and cups will be used as vases for fresh flowers. Daisies, sunflowers! My parents had a 30's-era Packard, which is a fun memoru for me and I liked the graphic design and the colors on these. Need? No. Like? Yes! $10.00 for the lot, said Mr. Cline...

It's a do-able day trip from an hour, spend some time meandering, grab a few bargains, then go to Concord to The Depot at Gibson Mill for a wider, more organized selection. Pretty good prices there, too...but you'll be secretly thrilled at your Cline's savings.

Gibson Mill has dozens and dozens of vendors, well-decorated stalls and a great cafe onsite called TJ's Diner.

Only $99 for this vintage 2-seat glider!

    Cousin Chris and I chatted about our bargains over Pulled Pork with coleslaw. Perfection on a North Carolina Saturday!

Life is good. Level & Plumb. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Potatoes and Tomatoes

Ooo-wee, my quarter-share of Poplar Ridge Farm's CSA never disappoints! Elaine and I have been splitting the haul 2x a month, and exchanging recipes and ideas. I've been working Uptown, and she works from home nearer to the farm, so the job of picking up and separating the veggies has fallen on Elaine. One evening when I went to pick up my half, she'd left some nibbles on top of the freezer bag. A little sampling of roasted veggies and a cup of a healthy green drink she'd blended up. The treats were resting in an ice bath. She's so thoughtful!!

The oven has remained "off" while June and July have blistered along at 90+ degrees. Grilling has won out over roasting, and the stovetop is used sparingly. I've wanted to incorporate as many ingredients as I can at once, from my CSA box without muddying flavors.

The stars of the show this week are red, white and blue potatoes, and gorgeous tomatoes.

I barely got the basil and the first tomato out of the bag...and it became a fantastic early dinner!

Toasted Ezekiel bread, mayo, fresh basil, gorgeous tomato, my pesto, and a bit of Bosky Acres goat cheese. I ate it standing up...never made it to the table! It's not summer 'til tomato juice is running down your chin.

After dinner, I collected myself and started to clean and bag the veggies.

Right out of the ground, and into my kitchen.

Spin, baby, spin!

Soybeans ready for steaming.
Like candy.

Ready for salads, and mindless munching. No salt needed.

Scrubbing potatoes reveals the pretty colors. Once I knew what I had, I just peeled them save time!

Good looking 'taters.

Tarragon and dill potato salad with soybeans. Matching bowl unintentional, but fabulous ;-)

Here's my recipe~~open to interpretation!

About 2 pounds of new potatoes (peeled or not--the skin is thin, so it's your choice)

For the dressing, mix together:
1 Cup Mayonnaise (I used Kraft Mayo with Olive Oil)
2 Tbs good vinegar (White wine, Tarragon, Champagne...I had Hibiscus vinegar on hand)
2 Tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 Tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbs minced shallot (or red onion or scallions, if you prefer)
2 Tbs minced tarragon leaves
2 Tbs minced fresh dill
Soybeans or some bright green English peas to garnish

Put the peeled potatoes in a large pot and cover with water, add a little kosher salt, BTB/RTS--bring to a boil and return to simmer for 20-30 mins, til fork tender. Drain off the water and immediately get the dressing on and toss, so the potatoes can drink it up. Let it sit for 20 mins for flavors develop, sprinke on some additional chopped tarragon and some salt...and serve at room temperature.

Life is good (and delicious!) Level & Plumb.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Fruit Skewers Redux

Friends were in town a few Saturdays ago on a househunting visit. The Northeast is emptying out! They were only able to come by from 3-5pm. It was a blazing hot day, and I was grateful for my cenchral-aigh  (central air) conditioning. I made a pitcher of lemonade, set out some cold bottled water and I made some fruit skewers in case anyone was peckish after lunch and before dinner.

Leftovers. Hmmm.

Perfect for the grill! Remove the wooden skewers, so they don't burn. (If you want to grill food on wooden skewers, they're best when soaked for 30 mins....)
I added some peach quarters to the melon and raspberries and drizzled the fruit with a bit of concentrated white balsamic vingear.


The raspberries cooked down and made a little 'sauce' when I tossed the grilled fruit. Mmmm.

Top the fruit with goat, feta or queso cheese, some mint from the garden, and serve. I grilled a marinated beef tip.

Redux: brought back; used post-positively.

Life is Good. Level & Plumb.