Sunday, February 24, 2019

Where LOVE is a 4-Legged Word

Esmae, Esau, and Parker reading to cats
BELMONT: The new SPCA, where LOVE is a 4-legged word, is a huge, energy efficient building full of cuddly, fancy rats; snugly, active kittens; and dogs of all ages and sizes ready to lick your face.
                It’s impressive. It’s always impressive when a small group of people works out a way to knock down problems, find grants and form committees that end up pushing not paper but progress as they turn an empty lot into hope.  More impressive – this group has been working for abused and neglected animals since it was founded in Cuba in 1911.
                The new facility at 5440 State Route 19 in Belmont has been gearing up for a few weeks to open to the public this month. It will be open 7 days a week from noon till 4. They have the same phone number (585-593-2299) and mailing address (P O Box 381, Wellsville 14895) to make reaching them easier.
                Linda Pruski, President of the Board of Directors, talked about the design of the building and credited Andrew Harris of Wellsville. When the SPCA started raising money for a new, undefined facility, Harris was the owner of Better Days in Wellsville. For a time, he dedicated a dollar from every order of chicken wings to the SPCA building fund and, eventually, that amounted to $6500.
                That chicken wing fundraiser paid for the services of Animal Arts, a design firm that focuses on the architecture of veterinary and animal shelter facilities. They design so that staff and volunteers who care for animals work smarter and better. The money was well spent, said Pruski, “It was the smartest thing we did.”
                At the direction of Animal Arts, the new SPCA has a large foyer with room for a receptionist, lots of people and a store. There are items made for resale such as shirts and magnets but also locally made items from by Fetching Fashions by Dawn in Wellsville and J & J Animal Products in Olean. You can find jackets, doggy diapers, neck scarves, and other items, with animal themed fabric or for animal use in a variety of sizes and colors with a portion of all sales going to the SPCA.
Esmae explaining a blue horse to a cat.
                An entire wing is for cats. Several rooms have groups of cats, all named, cute, and looking for homes. Each room has a window to the outer world, a cat gym and a covered litter box. If you would like to donate things to help them out, please note that they use wood pellets, the kind burned in stoves, in the litter boxes and not clay or corn based litter.
                There are a few cages moved from the old facility for temporary housing for cats needing to be kept quiet or isolated while healing from surgery or injury. When they can manage it, the cages will be replaced with a cat patio – a catio.
                There is a room for rodents. Are you aware of how popular rats are? These are called fancy rats and apparently college students like them to ride in their hoodies or in a sweatshirt pouch. Rats train easily, are social, and like to bond with people so offer a lot of company in a small package earning the title of pocket pals.
                The male and female rats at the SPCA are separated early in their lives since their interest in breeding begins early and American veterinarians discourage spaying for rodents though the surgery is done in the UK, should anyone ask.
                Female rats stay with female pups and the moms co-parent all pups. Rats are happier with company so they recommend adopting rats in pairs. A while ago someone in Niagara County was found to have 400 rats in poor circumstances and the Allegany County SPCA answered a call for help finding homes for 40 rats at first but having continued demands, they brought more to the shelter.
                There is a surgery area as well as an isolation area with its own dish washer and clothes washer and dryer to keep any contagions in check and there are laundry facilities and store rooms for feed and supplies.
Locally made items for sale
                 On the dog-side of the building each animal has its own room with bed and bowls and sometimes run in an indoor play area.  The play area was funded in memory of the late Pat O’Brien of Alfred, a lifelong friend of dogs. Dog rooms have windows into the hall,  not the outdoors as in the cat wing.
                There’s a meet and greet room for adopting families and animal to have a visit and see if they are meant to be together and the whole thing is heated with a geo thermal system to keep costs down.
                The facility still has 10 full time staff members as it did at the old facility and accepts the help of many volunteers, all necessary to make the shelter work. One thing that is making demands on the SPCA now is the fact that so many farm animals (goats, chickens, ducks, horses, cows, and a number of pregnant ewes) were rescued. The animals had to be held for some time to give them medical care but also were held as evidence. Now these animals are starting to go to homes.
                Some of these farm animals are at the old facility in Wellsville and others are at a borrowed barn in Scio where all feed and care has to be provided by the SPCA so there is a staff member on the road to tend them since the new building has no space for farm animals.
Parker and a rat 
                Caring for all these animals takes resources.  Of course, money is always needed since they run on donations and fundraisers and no government money. It’s a no kill shelter so some animals stay long term and they need someone to talk with or walk with but they also need food.
                The wish list also includes solar panels on the roof, a barn on site and outdoor play areas for dogs and one might not predict what else.  Forever homes are always needed and adopting an animal requires payment of a set fee to help with the costs. Each animal is spayed or neutered (when appropriate) and is given vet care including shots as well has having a micro chip inserted.
                A lot of the care for animals comes from the Alfred State College Vet Tech program and Dr. Doug Pierson who stops by weekly to check the animals. Some animals spend time at the college where students learn to care for them. The Vet Tech program is an essential part of the Allegany County SPCA and defines the quality of care given to animals.
                Volunteers are always needed at the shelter but they also ask for these things to fill their store rooms:  wood pellets for litter box use, blankets, paper towels, bleach for disinfecting, laundry soap,  hay for farm animals, Purina cat food, Purina kitten chow, and 4 Health dog food sold at Tractor Supply.
magnets for sale
Locally made cat toys
                Donations are always welcome. Send a check to P O Box 381 Wellsville, 14895 or donate by credit card at 585-593-2200 between noon and 4 pm any day. You may donate online with PayPal at www.spcaallegany.org. Your help will keep the SPCA going for another 100 years.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Northern Lights Moves to a New Level


WELLSVILLE: Have you heard that Andy and Tina Glanzman sold their company, Northern Lights Candles, to George Duke, Chairman of Zippo? Glanzmans are excited, even energized, about the changes that they expect to range from satisfying to surprising and they see a future with positive changes impacting not just their lives but also the lives of their employees, present and future.

In his office, reminiscing about how it started, Andy talked of a formative experience:  watching the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1965. Andy didn’t just sing along with the show or hold someone’s hand. He saw his future standing there so sold his 10 speed bike turning that cash into a 1963 Fender bass then taught himself to play it and began writing songs. He wanted to pursue music though he admits it might have been because of all those cute, screaming girls. That episode of the Sullivan Show had a lot of screaming.

In 1971 Andy graduated from Calhoun High School on Long Island and later that year discovered Allegany County. His friend was invited to a party in Alfred and asked Andy to ride along with him. He was a city boy out for a new experience in a cow dotted landscape. The cows were noteworthy as was the landscape but what really mattered was meeting Tina at that party.

In 1973 Andy moved to Allegany County and spent some hungry times while performing regularly for tips at the Fassett House Hotel on weekends. He tried a couple of jobs in the area. One was working at a pheasant farm in Andover where the task was trimming beaks. Trimming is a benign word for the operation so Andy escaped from that job. The other job was loading Christmas Trees at Kent Farms, also not fun.  

In 1974, he and Tina were living in an apartment but the landlord raised the rent beyond their means to $90 a month so they moved into a tent for a while. Luck was on their side when Bill Hand, an 80 year old in need of some help sauntered over to the tent. Bill lived in a home without electricity but was a force of cheerfulness surrounded by several animals including a pony named Surprise.

Tina and Andy moved in with him for a while and helped him get along. Their admiration for Bill and his optimism rings still in their words about him. While living with Bill, they made candles to use at night. In 1975 they sold candles at the Andover Maple Festival and were thrilled when they earned $200 during the festival. “We ate that weekend,” grinned Andy.

They started going to craft shows and music festivals in a 1957 school bus converted to a camper. The bus had space for candle making as well as living. They sold candles from Cornell to New Orleans and what they learned was that wherever they went with candles, people bought them. In early days, they shared their success by hiring local musician friends to help make candles. Andy still played guitar and wrote  expressive, sensitive songs, so most of their friends were musicians.

During Christmas, Tina and Andy went to a shopping mall and Tina saw customers in the hundreds walking through the mall and wondered if people at a mall would buy candles too. Not long after, Andy designed a push cart, had it built by a friend in Andover, and was allowed to put it in the open area of the mall. For two weeks in December they sold candles like mad.  

 Over the 41 years of their NL experience, they have tried and failed as well as succeeded. They have learned and grown, changed and developed and now employ 120 people. This thriving business occupies 160,000 square feet of manufacturing space in 3 buildings. Ceramic items and fashion glassware pieces are manufactured in China by the tens of thousands of items but all those thousands are filled with wax and wicks in Wellsville and then sold around the world.

Their fashion glass items, specialty shapes for candles, are manufactured overseas because there aren’t any factories in the US that can produce the shapes in the quantities that are needed. The empty glass is shipped to Wellsville to be filled with wax.

Several years ago, this little creative force in the world of candle making caught the attention of larger corporations. Bigger companies and venture capital groups have been interested in purchasing Northern Lights for years but the Glanzmans were not willing to sell company unless certain items on their check lists could be fitted into the agreement.

The jobs had to stay in Wellsville.  Over the time, their average employee has stayed for 20 years and they didn’t want anyone tossed out or forced to move. They also wanted to see the company grow. Andy feels that instead of employing 120 people, Northern Lights could grow several times larger.  It needs the right support to develop overseas markets, especially in China.

Knowing that their company was desired and reaching the conclusion that they were ready to sell, they found a lawyer to help them find the right deal.

The Glanzmans wanted the sale to be a good for them, their employees and the area. Their 120 employees make candles, candle accessories, fragrances, diffusers, and aroma sprays. The candle making supplies at Joanne Fabric stores are produced by Northern Lights. They also make candles for Yankee and for private label companies like Walgreens. There are items sold under the Northern Lights label but these are high end products placed in about 4,000 gift shops. For over 40 years the idea has been to constantly reinvest in the company, to always grow and change and take chances. On January 25, 2019, Zippo grew to include Northern Lights Candles.

For the foreseeable future, Andy Glanzman will remain the driving force at NL but as an employee working in tandem with Mark Paup, Zippo’s CEO.  The exciting part is that Zippo brings the overseas elements that NL needs. The difficult part is deciding what idea to work on first.

Tina will be wrapping up her time as CFO and retiring. She isn’t sure who she will be when she isn’t a CFO any longer but she is looking forward to the discovery and whatever she does it will be with Andy singing to her along the way.

Selling a business isn’t simple. Zippo is buying all the trademarks, international trademarks, copyrights, , license agreements and properties as well as leases for showrooms in Dallas, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Seattle, and Minneapolis. The deal, starting with a letter of intent and ending with the sale, took 8 months to work out. Glanzmans are pleased to be bonded with Zippo whose headquarters is nearby in Bradford where the company has long been a valued part of the community. Zippo will keep the manufacturing in Wellsville and to continue to value the creativity and innovation that NL is known for.

The question for further development for Northern Lights Candles isn’t what can we do but what will we do first. Tina will be wrapping up her time as CFO and retiring. She isn’t sure who she will be when she isn’t a CFO any longer but she is looking forward to the discovery and whatever she does it will be with Andy singing to her along the way.

Selling a business isn’t simple. Zippo is buying all the trademarks, international trademarks, copyrights, , license agreements and properties as well as leases for showrooms in Dallas, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Seattle, and Minneapolis. The deal, starting with a letter of intent and ending with the sale, took 8 months to work out. Glanzmans are pleased to be bonded with Zippo whose headquarters is nearby in Bradford where the company has long been a valued part of the community. Zippo will keep the manufacturing in Wellsville and to continue to value the creativity and innovation that NL is known for. 



Andy and Tina Glanzman are the owners of the property holding The Fassett GreenSpace Project in Wellsville. Andy is a member at large of the board of directors of Art For Rrual America, the Not For Profit operating the GreenSpace. 

Learn more about Andy's project, the Fassett GreenSpace Project here: https://artforruralamerica.wixsite.com/afra/green-space

The products made at Northern Lights Candles are here: https://northernlightscandles.com/

You can see an image of Bill on this page https://northernlightscandles.com/pages/inside-story







Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Stock Your Shelves and Stuff Your Stockings at The Rogue Carrot

Dawn Bennett at The Rogue Carrot



ALFRED: A small, local business is more community than address. Sometimes it’s an interconnected weave of many families, farms and workshops and it brings income, warmth and nourishment to its village and neighborhood.
            Dawn Bennett is looking forward to her 5th Christmas at The Rogue Carrot, a small, natural grocery store and artisan outlet on West University Street in Alfred. She hopes you’ll stop in to see her because she offers much more than groceries and to entice you she is hosting a special event on Thursday, December 20. It’s her Stock Up & Stuff your Stockings Sale. It starts at 10 am but some of the best deals coincide with the Alfred Art Walk from 5 to 8 pm that day.
            Bennett said, “When you shop at the Rogue Carrot you support many local people. We have local honey, maple syrup, art, pottery, garlic, eggs, meats, milled flours and baked goods. We even have home baked dog treats in cheddar cheese, chicken, bacon and peanut butter, made just the way elves make them if Santa freed some up to live in Alfred.”
            The Rogue Carrot opens at 10 on December 20. During the day there will be grocery items offered at 20% off. Thursday is always Fish Day and Italian Bread Day as well as restocking day.
            At 5 that evening StoneFlowerPottery will present 25 pieces of pottery priced at $5 each. This is meant to help people on a limited budget find handmade, last minute gifts with a home town touch. Included will be soup or cereal bowls, vases, lace print plates, and other functional items.
            Bennett will serve free hot beverages and cookies from 5 pm until they are scooped up. Enjoy nibbling while choosing from among these stocking stuffers: Dr. Bonner’s soaps, cookies, brownies and other individually wrapped treats, chocolate covered cashews, almonds and/or espresso beans or chocolate candy bars.
            You can find tins of slippery elm lozenges or purchase licorice sticks for 25 cents each. These are not candy strips but sticks from the woody tropical plant that gives us licorice. 
           Other small gifts are mommy vases, small jars of honey and jars of hot chocolate mix. Handmade small items are earrings, many from upcycled materials, as well as bracelets and necklaces.
            If your gift giving aims beyond stocking stuffing, choose mugs or bowls made by any of the local potters represented on the shelves or select an Alfred tote bag or T-shirt (adult or child). To be remembered on laundry day all year long gift someone wool dryer balls to thump their clothing dry or buy some warm flip-top mittens in a bright color.
            Look at your house or a friend’s house for colors and compliment them with a hand woven rug made by an Amish neighbor. Suitable for any décor would be The Power of Goodness edited by Nadine Hoover or a book written and illustrated by Cyan Corwine. You can read, bake or eat while listening to Emma Tyme’s CD.
            Need more enticement? How about some hand blown glass tree ornaments? There’s an ATM onsite to help you enjoy this special sale. It starts on December 20 but some of the groceries and pottery will remain at 20% off until The Rogue Carrot closes at 1 pm on December 24. The store will be closed to give everyone there a break and to allow for the dreaded inventory but you’ll find them open again at 10 am on January 11.
            After you shop, be sure to read the joke at the end of your receipt. Stop by 14 ½ West University, check The Rogue Carrot on Facebook or call (607) 587-8840 and help make this Christmas warm for local businesses.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

The Little Gallery's New Space






WELLSVILLE: The Little Gallery is in a new place but the mission is the same, support for the Hart Comfort House in Wellsville. Barb Graves, owner of LaGra Salon and DaySpa started the Little Gallery in November 2015 in order to help a friend. Carol Riggs had a small shop in Cuba but she took off a month to have surgery. The month turned into a year because the surgery turned into a major struggle taking so much time that the business fell away from Riggs but her inventory remained.
                Barb Graves knew, at the time, that the florist in her building was moving to a new location so she had the idea to offer that space in friendship but needed more to fill the area. She asked a member of Allegany Artisans for help and so encouraged, moved forward. The florist was out on a Saturday and the Little Gallery opened on Monday, nameless but determined to work out the details.
                Formally, it is The Little Gallery Arts and Antiques and now it has a front row presence in the LaGra building. You still need to enter through LaGra but instead of walking through the salon, just pass the desk and turn right. The doorway there once led to Curves then became a pop up shop but now it’s The Little Gallery, Wellsville’s giving place for Christmas.
                For all 3 years of this enterprise, Graves has asked for nothing from those selling in her store. She covers the total cost of the area, the utilities and advertising and asks only that a portion of each sale to be donated to the Hart Comfort House.  If you do some of your Christmas shopping there, you can make the total donations made by vendors pass $4000 by the end of this year.
                Rather than listing vendors by name, let me say that you know many of them as Allegany Artisans, Wellsville Art Association members or from their work with the Allegany Arts Association. You’ll find all the names at the store so let’s focus on items. For your home or to gift there are hand-woven kitchen towels, hand sewn dolls or table runners, fabric bowls or wall hangings and handmade pottery and hand painted glassware.  
                Personal adornments include fabric purses and leggings or hand-woven scarves, hand assembled jewelry as well as totally handcrafted upcycled jewelry or the last of a group of handmade plastic pins (you’ve smiled when noticing them on people).  There are ornate, fabric purses and a small collection of music boxes. On the walls are framed photographs and original watercolors or oils or prints of other original paintings or maybe a few things handcrafted anonymously ages ago.
                A beekeeper brings in honey and related products and there is another person who makes soaps and lotions and balms. What else? Antiques. There are some people who have bought and sold antiques but others who have bought and bought now in need of emptying their homes so offer antiques from cast bronze to hand painted china or toys and hand-blown glass.  Occasionally there is furniture and right now there is a lamp with a handcrafted shade and a large cupboard as well as some smaller wooden items.
                There are also items that were purchased for Carol Riggs’ little store in Cuba, the inventory that started the whole idea. The merchandise range is wide and worth a look. The Little Gallery is only open when LaGra Salon is open and that is Tuesday through Saturday opening at 9 am but sometimes sooner. The shop is open till 8 on Thursday but only till 4 on Saturday and till 5 on other days.
                Are you wondering about what will happen to the space behind the salon? Barb Graves, a woman of ideas, will be doing some work to make a large and comfortable gathering area so that wedding parties can eat breakfast and talk as they all get hair and makeup done on that special day.
                Reach LaGra Salon at 585-59301321 or go in person to 21 East State Street in Wellsville. You might check www.lovelagra.com . The Little Gallery is present on the website or a facebook.com/ TheLittleGalleryArtsandAntiques.
                Shop Small. Shop Local. Shop to support The Hart Comfort House.






Earrings by Elaine Hardman










Thursday, November 1, 2018

Alfred State Fraternity at Fassett Greenspace Project

Kalvin  Hodgson

WELLSVILLE: Under a cold and constant rain, a group of Alfred State students brought their strength to the Fassett Greenspace Project to move heavy blocks, pull celery plants, hoist buckets of compost, spread peat moss and dig 6 large holes in what looked to be soil but turned out to be stone and mud.
                Kalvin Hodgson (Brooklyn NY, BA in Business explained that he was with a group from Psi Delta Omega Fraternity. Hodgson said that the brothers focus on activities that would be defined as philanthropy and youth service. In Alfred they often help the Hornell Humane Society.
Brothers and pledges spread compost in
the outer ring.
                They meet with young people in Hornell, interacting with them and playing basketball or other activities but through that they present to their young friends the idea that they too can go to college. It’s always easier to aim high when someone pays attention and tells you it’s possible.
                Kalvin said that he hasn’t heard this from someone yet but he knows others in the fraternity who has been thanked by kids who decided to go to college.
Celery roots are long, fine and extensive.
They hold tight to the soil. It's surprising how
difficult it is pull the plant out.
Quinn and Santos were surprised.
                While this group often goes to Hornell to work, on October 27, they traveled to Wellsille to do some heavy lifting at the Fassett Greenspace Project, ignoring the rain and cold of an early nor’easter.
Jason Boden, Aleczavier Cowans, Jonathan Betances, and
Tariq Yusuf helped dig the holes to place forms for the
Freenotes Harmony Sculptural Instruments.
                These brothers pledge to give 60 hours a year in community service. Jason Bodden (Building Trades, Construction) said that he looks to the group to make life long connections and says that the structure of the house encourages leadership skill development. Fraternity brothers with academic skills share those while others share their athletic skills. He described a defined governing structure that they adhere to with the goal of building character.
                Aleczavier Cowans has a degree in Culinary Arts already but he is still in Alfred working now to get a Bachelor’s in Business and in Tech Management. His family is from Jamaica and they all do a lot of gardening so he was interested in the goals of the Fassett Greenspace Project.
Santos Guevara, Brailen Tejada, Quinn Verpoten
mixing peat moss in with soil and compost.
                10 volunteers from Psi Delta Omega Fraternity spent one of October’s nastiest days helping the Wellsville community along side of four members of the Board of Directors of the project: Andy Glanzman, Cassandra Bull, Murph  Other members of Psi Delta Omega are Robert Smith, James Martin, Santos Guevara, Brailen Tejada, Quinn Verpoten, Tariq Yusuf, and Jonathan Betances.




Axtell and this reporter.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Lion Juice, One Day in Zimbabwe


The Lion Park


A page from Jay's Autobiography
In kindergarten, Jay drew a picture of Africa and told his student teacher about what he had seen.  Concerned because Jay insisted that he spoke from memory and not imagination, the teacher sent home a note. I sent back photos of our trip to Zimbabwe. Far-fetched as it seemed, Jay had spent time in Africa.

We went to Zimbabwe to visit Bill and Lorriane Sheehan. They offered to show us around their adopted home and took us in as family. Bill, as knowledgeable as he is charming, planned our experiences and chauffeured us around rhinos and armed guards to some of the most interesting places that we’ve been. 

The strongest memory for Jay is of his terror at the lion park. Zimbabwe has a lot of national parks and protected areas for animals. One animal that the park rangers try to keep under control is the lion. Lions, predators synonymous with fear and danger, can change an outing to a disaster so lion parks were established. The lions roam freely in the park where, after feeding time, cars full of curious people are allowed to drive. 

We drove there with Jay, Em and me in the back seat, Rick and Bill in front. Bill drove slowly through the gates and brought us to an area where lions were resting on huge boulders and dry sandy soil, a monochrome scene of tans with just a touch of green in the crooks of rocks. 

In hushed voices we shared excitement. A few feet away, lions stared with menacing eyes. We snapped photos of them yawning and showing rows of impressive teeth. Sometimes a lion would roar and give us goose bumps. All together, it was pretty cool.

Then, our feelings changed. A male, huge and powerful, stood and ambled around. We took a photo or two and then realized that this beast wasn’t stretching. He was approaching. As he headed toward the car, Bill cranked his window handle in a frantic blur.

Why Jay was correct to be frightened
Jay became nervous. He knew what lions did and he knew that where we saw a boy, the lion saw a tasty morsel. The lion put his face at our window, closing out any other view. Little Jay’s breathing was rapid. My arms around him offered no reassurance. There were few things that Mom couldn’t deal with but this clearly was one of them.

Jay started screaming when the lion stood on the trunk, letting drool make gooey tracks on the back window as he watched us cowering. Jay wanted to go from the back seat to the front seat or maybe under the front seat. “Drive the car, Uncle Bill! Drive the car!” he demanded.

The other lions, of course, became somewhat interested in the ruckus. Emilie, wide-eyed and nervous, suggested that Jay play his mimbera (thumb piano) to calm the lion. Finally, the lion backed down and returned to his dusty resting place, Jay stopped screaming, Em resumed breathing, and Uncle Bill, calm restored, drove the car.


Friday, August 31, 2018

It's an interesting house and it's for sale







We have a great many handcrafted items in our house. Rick starts with rough cut lumber and makes it into quality, hand crafted furniture but also made several items that are part of the house. My intention is to go through the house to look at all the many repurposed items. Several items are built in and will stay for the next family.

On the porch is a church pew purchased from a small house of worship on Main Street in Wellsville. It is attached to the porch where it has weathered, more or less kindly, for 30 years. What’s interesting is how it has become a point of exchange.

For many years, I would leave empty egg cartons there and Meredith would drop off cartons full of eggs. It was a wonderful way to get eggs. Once I complained of their being difficult to peel and then I learned that fresh eggs need to be not hard boiled but hard steamed in a double boiler. They are different sizes and shades of brown or greenish, sometimes with 2 yolks but occasionally with no yolks. They are an adventure.


The church pew is where I sit to sort garlic and tie it to dry, to shuck peas and beans and to watch the rain.

 People know that I make art from cookie and candy tins so sometimes we come home and find a bag or box of tins on the porch and never learn where they come from. Once, though, the cans were delivered.


After the doorbell rang, I encountered an extraordinarily tall man with a sack of cans. “Hello,” I said.
“Wife told me to bring you these cans ,” he replied.
“Oh, thanks,” I said while opening the door and poising to ask who his wife was.
He pushed the sack into my hands, huffed, “Crazy woman,” and stomped away giving the idea that he wanted to please his wife but found the task very annoying.


Generally, I enter the house at the back door where there is a sunflower tile decorating a door to the basement. When we bought the house there was a plain door at the basement and it had no hint of welcome but one day we were out walking and someone was throwing away this multi-paneled door. We asked if we could have it and came back with the truck.

Sunflower Tile
entry to the basement.
Rick spent a very long time with that door sprucing it up and painting it and he inserted a wood panel where the glass had been. I created the sunflower tile to fit the space and now we have a welcoming door in the hall. 

The back hall has a couple of steps, an annoyance now and then over the years. At the first floor level is a coat rack made from part of the upright piano that came with the house. The hooks are vintage, found on the internet. Above the rack is a mirror from discarded vanity. We took off the side wings to make it small enough to fit. On the wall opposite is what Rick calls my mess and I call my international bell and brush collection.

I think of them as being upcycled because they were all meant for work, not for décor. There’s a scrub brush that I bought in China. Nobody ever meant to that to be admired. It’s not a work of art but of utility still, it’s no Brillo pad and so interested me. Another brush from China is a huge calligraphy brush. It’s likely that was meant to be admired and maybe treasured.

We brought home a wooden sheep bell from Thailand and some hammered metal donkey bells from Peru. They are all handcrafted and marvelous, at least to me.

There’s a  typewriter cleaning brush. Are you old enough to remember typewriters? The keys would get clogged with dust and goo from the ribbons (remember ribbons?) and they needed to be cleaned to make the images sharp again. I wonder if clogged keys made tracing typewriters difficult for police or if that ever mattered.

Rick made all the kitchen cabinetry. He started with
rough cut lumber and penciled drawings.
Our kitchen is large and interesting. The entry door was given to us by Marge Ackerman when we lived on West State Street. Our house once belonged to her parents and her house was built in their backyard by the same people. Our house had French doors that were stored in the basement but were destroyed by the flood of 72 so when she decided to get rid of one of her French doors she gave it to us and when we moved, we took it along and it is now the entry into this house.

Next to that door, is a pair of cupboards that were being put in a dumpster at Andover School. I begged and begged for the cupboards but was told that they had to be destroyed. At the time, our kitchen was dismantled and we had no cupboards. Plates and boxes of cereal were arrayed on the dining room table while waiting for new cupboards to be built.

These cupboards were assembled. They had doors and shelves. What a luxury. I could see all the things piled on our table nicely ordered on those shelves but was given a stern no, I left the area, slumped shouldered and deflated but then someone knocked at the classroom door. I was told that it would be allowed if I could get them out of the dumpster and away within an hour. 

I called Rick barely able to speak. After a breath or two, I managed to string together words woven in sense and he brought the truck. He heave-ho and strained to get the cupboards into the truck. What a find, what a glorious find. He installed the pair, back to back, adding shelves we had purchased from the old Rockwell Department Store when it closed.

The cupboards were built with a deep side and a shallow side. The long door covered the deep side where a coat rod would hold a hanger and teachers would hang their coat or sweater. The floor of the cupboard had a rubber floor mat where teachers were meant to place boots during the day.

The long door had a row of holes drilled top and bottom to allow for air flow to dry coats on rainy or snowy days. What great design.

The shallow side had shelves for books or sundries and had 2 smaller doors, no holes, brass knobs on all.

Half Round window from Wellsville
High School purchased for $1.50.
With one deep and one shallow side, these could be fit together back to back to form a pantry. This was perhaps the most celebrated pantry in Wellsville because all the things previously jumbled on the dining room table were joyfully placed inside.

A bit more about that back hall. It's new. When we bought the house, one entered the side door into a garage and then walked to the back of the garage to find the door into the kitchen. What a chore.

Rick redid the entry way so that we had a back hall with no walking through the garage required. What was once the back stair landing became a kitchen alcove that now holds the stove.

The kitchen was one large room but we put in a t-shaped wall to section it off. In order to keep the sense of light and openness, the wall was fitted with a half round that was once part of the Wellsville High School. It was priced at $1.50 circa 1989.
The Keyless Piano Desk.

Behind the window is our piano desk. It was a working piano that came with the house. We forced the kids to take lessons on it with this deal.

Practice daily without hounding and if you want to quit in 6 months, fine. Practice daily with hounding and you need to take the lessons for a least a year. Emilie was diligent for 6 months and turned in her books. Jay was hounded for a year.

When Rick started breaking it apart to throw it away years later, I said, “Stop. It’s a desk.” He stopped and we made it into my desk. I made tiles to fill in the space under the keys and Rick put plate glass on top of it.

There’s a wood stove insert in the kitchen’s fireplace so we needed a place to hang the poker, bellows (rebuilt with scrap leather from a jacket) and shovel. The shoe last does the job. The pins for hanging the shovel and bellows are cut off nails. The poker hangs in a notch that was filed out.

The spice cabinet door is a glass washboard and the workbench where I make earrings is a rescued bit of bowling alley flooring.

Of course there is art in the kitchen. The first piece of art we bought together was a print of a carrot. Rick made a frame for it from scrap wood over 40 years ago. Above the kitchen window there is a row of animals. Many are birds that I made from upcycled cans. Some were painted by friends. Violet Elnmer paints on cabinet doors or purchased wood while Pauline King paints on the cut offs left over from her husband’s wood turning.

Our son Jay and his wife Lauren drew party chickens for me for one birthday. I framed them with parts of a cookie tin. There’s also a chicken in profile that I found on the side of the highway while walking several years ago.

Our clock was part of a school’s time system. No idea what school. Rick made a battery powered system that takes the place of the office regulator so it can continue to keep time for us. It still makes that clink when the minute hand advances.

The chimney didn't draw well so I made
a terra cotta chimney pot and Rick
installed it.

Our kitchen lamps are all unusual. One was a 1950s produce scale. Rick took it apart and reworked it to make it smaller and added the lamp parts. Emilie played clarinet when she was young and I play flute still. Our woodwind lamps are made of instruments not worth repairing.  I have parts for a meat grinder lamp and a coffee pot lamp but since there is no place to put them, they remain only parts and ideas.
Stair Aprons made by Rick.
Rick made this stained and leaded
glass window inside the
opening between the dining room
and the living room. 
The opening between the front hall and the
living room was just that. An opening. Rick made
this leaded glass window and the side panels
and installed French Doors.