Thursday, June 03, 2010

The Zamek Store

For several years my husband, our son, and I talked about having a store to sell our wooden products directly to customers. Last year it was built and finally this year it opened. We've had customers every day. Some people are just looking over this new store, but many have bought. Even customers from Prague and Vienna have visited. One of our neighbors often stops by to buy several small items.

The store is named after my mother-in-law. Rina's Carpentry Store, or, in Czech, Riny Truhlarsky Obchod. Rina was interested in all aspects of what we do, particularly loving the forests. Many times our forester took her to visit one forest or another. She actually helped in the carpenter shop sometimes when she was 86 years old!

Our products are all made of wood from our forests using mainly spruce, birch, pine and beech. These trees were planted by my husband's grandfather after WWI. A large section in the store is devoted to slats for fences or balconies. There are different profiles and varying sizes. These are very popular items. Gates may also be constructed for customers.

Popular for gifts, or perhaps for remodeling, are shelving units with open slats, or with solid shelves. Smaller display shelves in varying sizes and designs hang on walls, holding knick-knacks, spices, or even cleaning supplies. The woman who runs the store asked me to provide her with some knick-knacks and mugs. A son-in-law in the USA keeps his Becherovoka on one! From the hooks below the shelves, I have seen soup ladles or aprons or attractive coffee mugs hanging on different people's shelves

Several smaller items can be snatched up for gifts – for others, or for yourself! There are two types of knife blocks, wine racks of various sizes, key/coat hangers and a good number of do-nothings. (Do you wonder what this is?)

Doors are good sellers. We have some standard types and are able fulfill special orders. Many doors have glass inserts and/or are lined in wainscoting.

It's really fun to decide on a cupboard or chair or coffee table and have the carpenter make something to order for you. I've done it and love this. Late this winter we made a couple – I guess you might call them freeform – corner cupboards for our dining room.

If you want to visit our store, carpenter shop, or forests look on our website [in Czech] for directions. Or, e-mail me: Maybe the summer will warm up, and we'll drink our tea together on benches on the lawn!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Cape Hatteras Memories

In anticipation of our family reunion this summer on the Outer Banks:

When Leslie was 10 months old, we went camping on Cape Hatteras. Near us another family put up a shade over a table. Useless. Too, too much wind. Our tent did not blow down. I guess we had long tent stacks. But i do remember shoring it up sometimes. Dad couldn't come in the tent with his hat on which he was wearing for sun protection: Leslie would scream!

I took Leslie out of the tent only a very little - there was blowing sand & lots of sun. We took her out to see the sunset. Dad went swimming a few times; I also went in the ocean a little. We camped for 3 nights.

Now I will tell you about the piece of driftwood Dad has kept on his dresser ever since The last full day we decided to go rowing on Pamlico Sound. It was somewhat windy. The man was happy to rent his boat, but the woman said, "You are taking your baby out there?!?!" She handed me a blanket to wrap her up. They gave us a few tips - but they were not much. In the channel leading to the sound proper the rowing was quite good - but once we were in the sound, it was nearly impossible. Our boat got stuck in some reeds, & Dad had to get out & push it some. When we got back to the rental place Dad realized that he was missing his wallet. He went back to the reedy place while Leslie & I stayed in the house. Of course we prayed. He came back with his wallet. It had been caught in the piece of driftwood in the reedy area.

We struck camp the next day & stopped to see the Wilber & Orville Wright's museum, the lighthouse, [Which was moved inland some in 1999.] & the airfield. The first place we stayed the night on the way to D.C. to see Aunt Tania & Uncle Matt was in the area where they catch the wild ponies for a census. At Chincoteague, I guess. The owners of the motel & restaurant had helped with the census. The little boy, probably 4 yrs. old, tied various toy trucks to our table legs - his father said that he had done this ever since the pony census.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

April 2010 Generations together at the Zamek

You may combine keepsakes with grandchildren for the greatest delight and pleasure. We have a red doll cradle which was given to my grandmother, Dora Markham, on her sixth birthday back in the late 1800's. Her parents could not afford to buy toys for her, but her oldest brother, William Colfax Markham, who had graduated from college and was working, could buy her playthings. My mother, Ruth Clark, received the doll cradle on her sixth birthday, as did I, Barbara Hunt, and our oldest daughter, Leslie Homolka.
Our granddaughter's sixth birthday was missed by a year, as we'd had illness in the family. Our carpenter fixed the joints. Kristyna Homolkova and I arranged the bedding – we still have the original bedpad, but I don't know where the blankets are, and bought a new doll. The latest granddaughters to enjoy the cradle are Charlotte and Maisie Tate. This happened while their 18 month old sister was napping! Perhaps I will show the grandsons sometime. It's kept on top of a wardrobe, as it's delicate and over 100 years old. Kristyna loved hearing about the six year olds who had gone before and who are her forebears. Later we found some photos of them. Of course she knows me and her Aunt Leslie.

Kristyna and I have greatly enjoyed a pack of cards which belonged to my dad, Harold Marquardt Hunt, who was born in 1905. Those cards must be 100 years old, or close to it. Kristyna knows Harold Hunt was my dad, her father's grandfather, and her great-grandfather. It's picture cards and is played like “Go Fish”. Many of those cards have been repaired, but mending tape was not as good when I was a child as it is today. One card is half missing.

Many pictures are what might be expected today – apple, orange, banana; elephant, horse, dog; rooster, rabbit, cat, but not all the pictures. The card with a pocket watch on a chain intrigued Kristyna. The card with a department store includes a Morris chair and a high topped shoe. The card with a passenger traincar also has a coal-fired steam locomotive and a hopper of coal. The card with a house also has a stable [well, you might think it a garage.] and a buggy.

I've learned the Czech words for 'top': 'kaca' and 'rifle': 'puska'. Kristyna has learned violet, golden rod, and buggy. The cardboard of the cards is brittle, so we do not suffle them, but lay them out, and pick them up. This summer when we go to North Carolina, I think Kristyna and I will take the cards to the Tate girls.

Never did I plan to collect little boxes, but nontheless I have a collection. A few boxes are from our travels, such as a tin box, replica of Sledmere Manor, north of York, which was full of sweets. Boxes inlaid with lapis lazuli are from my trip to Afghanistan, Many boxes are hand-me-downs from my mother, mother-in-law, and step-grandmother. There are several compacts from the 1930's; a child's paintbox from the teens, along with linen helf-sleeves to protect the Sunday dress; a 1920's celluloid dresser set, complete with chamois to buff one's nails. We have porcelain, glass, leather, metal boxes. A wooden box contains a 100 year old fan. Kristyna and I will have fun with all of them, and then I'll share them with the other grandchildren as time goes on.