Volunteering to Help Animals-BARKS Garage Sale

These past 4 days have been busy. I volunteered to help my sister, Ginny, who lives in northern NJ, with the semi-annual BARKS  Garage Sale. The money from this super big and somewhat crazy garage sale goes to help the local animal shelter in this rural community.

For two days I helped set up. People were coming in trucks and cars and sometimes U-Hauls to drop off their “stuff”-soon to become someone else’s treasure. It is amazing the things people have and the things that people no longer want. All the volunteers helped sort through the boxes and put things up on tables. There were drinking glasses everywhere. The used electronics tent was filled to the max. Every holiday treasure that is no longer considered a treasure was delivered to us. The volunteers in that tent had their hands very full with unloading and sorting and placing objects-Christmas-Easter-Halloween-Thanksgiving and more. I am sure you get the idea. The Art tent was burgeoning with paintings, photos, and frames. Crafts supplies?, come to the garage sale.

Bicycles, Furniture, Toys, Clothes, Linens, Dishes, Books, Games, Puzzles, Shoes, Suitcases, Sporting Equipment, Lamps and Shades, Tools, Silverware, Glasses, Candles (melting in the sun), Jewelry, and even the Kitchen Sink. Chotskies galore-you too could have walked out with your very own treasures. One definition of chotskies is garage sale crap (I love this definition).

Finally, Friday evening arrived and we were done. Now we waited.

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We awoke to a perfect day, with temps to the 80’s F. and the sun was shining. My sister and I arrived around eight in the morning. The parking lot was already bordering on full. There were U-Hauls ready to take away treasures. The line of people waiting for the 9 a.m. start was snaking along the fence. Some were standing, others were sitting in their chairs. There were people with plastic sleds and wagons to haul out their treasures. Once we were through the gates all was quiet, except for the volunteers doing their final preparation. We were ready, the “stuff” was ready and there was an air of anticipation.

The gates opened and people quickly dashed in, well walked fast as they were told not to run. First stop was the suitcases which people took off to other areas to fill. Shoes?-gone. Computer Screens?-gone. By late morning we had sold approximately half of the furniture. By the end of the day about two thirds of the furniture was gone. Dressers, tables, desks, chairs, vanities, pieces of Italian marble and odd looking things that I am still not sure what they were-all gone.

It was interesting to talk to some of the people and find out what they were going to do with their new treasures. One woman was using an old wood mirror (sold for $15) in her garden. Old iron bedposts became a good trellis to use in the garden as well. A huge marble table that was almost too heavy to move, went to another person’s yard. There was a unique folding screen that was bought by an elementary school to use in a play. The play had a scene where the young actress had to change outfits. This screen would help her change without being seen, while it suggested more. The same school also bought several other pieces as props.

By the end of Saturday my sister and I were crazy tired. We were dirty and hot and done. Each day when we arrived home we immediate shed our clothes and threw them in the wash. Showers couldn’t happen fast enough.

Ginny Ready to Work

Was it fun? Yes. I enjoyed spending time with Ginny. We have always been friends, even though we live 3000 miles apart. It was an different sort of fun. As a one time event, yes it was fun. If it was something I had to do over and over again, well maybe not so much fun. BARKS took good care of it’s volunteers. We were watered and fed. Most of the volunteers worked well together. I met people who, if I lived closer, I might be interested in knowing better. One woman belonged to a group of people who are sectional hikers on the Appalachian Trail. They have almost completed the AT, with about 200 miles to go.

The end result is all about money. BARKS was introduced in 1973 for the purpose of rescuing and fostering sick, injured, abandoned, and abused animals.  The shelter sponsors proper veterinary care and foster homes until the animals can be placed in loving permanent homes.  Each year BARKS finds homes for over three hundred and fifty cats and kittens and one hundred dogs and puppies. All these animals are homeless or abandoned and many, because they are ill or injured, require extensive veterinary care as well as socialization to make them suitable for adoption. It is a very successful organization, which is evident by the number of adoptions which are achieved through a careful screening and application procedure.

BARKS is a non-profit organization. All revenues come solely from private, individual donations, adoption fees, and fundraisers. All donations are tax deductible. The organization is 100% volunteer driven. All donations go directly for the care and maintenance of the animals.

Like many small towns and communities they rely on donations and support from the local population and beyond. If you would like to make a donation just click on the BARKS link here. It will take you to their web site. They will be grateful for any amount you would like to give.

Now I am no longer a novice volunteer for the semi-annual garage sale. If I am back on the east coast at the right time of the year I would gladly offer to help again. I love animals and support organizations that help support animal welfare. And, maybe the next time I will find my treasure at the BARKS garage sale.



Summer on the Lake

lake house 1958

The original summer bungalow.

Wow, where does the time go. I have been in northern NJ for two weeks. Oh my gosh I can’t believe I have stayed in one place so long. My niece gets married this weekend and then I will be on the move again. It has been fun to be at my sister’s and her husband’s house on the lake. It has been many years since I spent the Fourth of July here.

My sisters and I grew up on this lake. Originally it was owned by my grandmother Arnold and then my father. Each Memorial Day weekend we opened the house for the summer. My mother and the three of us would come here from Delaware for the summer. My dad would come on weekends. It is a very different house now than what it was then. It is hard to believe that this house has seen three generations in it.

When we were young it was a summer bungalow. It had a wood stove for heat, no insulation to speak of, running water and electricity.  There was also an outhouse in the garage and bath houses to change in. We spent a greater part of the day in water. It was a wonderful way to grow up.

the other side of my sister's home

Same house in current time

Today this house is lovingly owned by my sister, Ginny and her husband, Frank. It is a permanent year round home. Although it is their home we are always invited to come and enjoy the lake. Each of us girls has brought all those that are important to us here. I have come in the winter and in the summer. I love coming here and sitting on the grand front porch and look over the lake.

This year my niece, Adrienne and her fiancé, Jed had a Fourth of July party here. There were a few people from Germany and they wanted to show them what a typical and classic 4th was like. We grilled burgers and hotdogs. Everyone had to try out the new paddle board. We ended the day seeing the best fireworks I have witnessed. They were grand.

What made the party special for me is that a long time friend of mine from Philadelphia was able to come up and join the festivities. I treasure my friends. I treasure the time I get to spend with them, no matter how limited it might be. It was so much fun to catch up with Chris. We never run out of subjects to talk about. I like her company because we talk about what is important to each of us and it is respected. I am thankful for my friends.

IMG_3340 11659226_10101354719448412_1721247109679431808_n


Today my sister, Ruth and her husband, Joe and my other niece, Brittany and her husband, Trip arrived. Tomorrow it is time for another picnic and even more people will be showing up. I am camped in my Roadtrek in the side yard. Elsie is with me. We are a team. Because of this sweet little home everyone has a bed to sleep in tonight. I like the fact that when I need a time out I can disappear to the side yard and hang out in my RT.


She is in the back forty

I feel very thankful this week for family. We may not always see eye to eye but I think we always have each other’s back. Even if we disagree, we are always talking again, because we are family. When Jim died my sister, Ginny was on a plane to come to me when I needed someone most. That is what family and friends do for each other and I am so thankful that I had someone to rely on.

Shortly after the wedding I will be on the road again. I am planning on heading back into Canada. I want to see Nova Scotia and then I will be heading west and slowly towards home. More to come.

Today I am thankful for family, good friends, my kitty and my RT.

(127) Dad and the Girls  July 1955

Dad and the three sisters

Janet, Brittany, Ruth, Trip, Ginny

Janet, Brittany, Ruth, Trip, Ginny