There was a yard sale at a nearby house today. Just looking out from my front yard I could tell it was one of those good ones. I could see a bicycle and some bookcases, tables and interestingly furniture-like shapes….so I ducked over there. Along with two map puzzles and a little Superman action figure, I picked up this:
A sturdy wooden rocking horse – clearly handmade, with a great deal of care, too. As I looked it over the man selling it came by and told me that it had been made around 1950…making this little horse about sixty years old. I believe it – the rockers were dinged and beat up from decades of little feet kicking, the original bridle had been ripped off and lost, and one of the screws holding the head on was missing. Still the wood was strong and sturdy, the yarn mane and tail had survived almost untouched, and it even still had its little leather ears. I could work with that.
“It’s got potential,” he said. “It needs a little TLC, but you know – sand it down a bit, fresh coat of stain, it’ll be good as new.”
“Oh, sure,” I said. I wasn’t sure how to explain to him that far from being a negative, the battered and worn wood of the little horse gave it a more appealing character as far as I was concerned.
It was only $4.50.
Tommy and Teddy were a little bit nervous getting up on something tall that wiggled, but as soon as they figured it out, they loved it so much that there was almost immediate fighting over who got to sit on it.
Once I’d distracted them with something else, I pulled the nails out where they were left from the original bridle.
I found a screw in my giant bag of assorted hardware that would fit and secured the head.
I made a little bit of wood cleaner by mixing equal parts white vinegar and water, then adding a little dollop of dishsoap. It cleans wood very nicely. (I used the extra to clean markers and jam off of my dining table and chairs.)
Once the rocking horse was clean and dry, I pulled out the beeswax wood polish left over from Easter and polished the whole thing. I really need to do more wood projects – I only made a small batch, but I think I have enough polish left to cover my dining table twice over. Anyway, to polish the wood, you rub it in (you can use your hands, they’ll be nice and soft after), let it sit for a while, and then buff off the excess with a cotton cloth.
Once the horse was repaired, cleaned, and polished, there was only one thing missing:
a new bridle! I whipped it up with some kitchen cotton and a couple of buttons. Now, Tommy may be a gigantic ham…
…but I think he likes it.