Reuse and Repurpose, Smile Projects

The Ditch Stove Project

In our last post we explored repurposing stoves and fire pits in the garden. But what happens if the stove can’t come to you? What if you must go to the stove?

Such was the case many years ago in what we dubbed as “The Ditch Stove Project”.

We were living in a remote community, where an old stove had been laid to rest in a ditch for as far back as I could remember.

Stories ranged, but the gist of it all was that it used to be in a granary that had been made into a home for a short time. When the granary was later moved, the stove was left behind and eventually rolled to the ditch so the field could be farmed.

More colourful versions of the story stated that the occupant had been running from the law and had holed up in the granary for a solitary winter and had used the stove for both heat and warmth. This would have all taken place in a decade prior to the 1950s and no one could remember anything for certain.

The only indisputable fact, was the stove was in the ditch and had become so commonplace as part of the landscape, no one even thought about it. I set out to change all that.

First, with help from my husband, I flipped the stove right side up and turned it to face the road.

Then I simply set an old coffee percolater on a rusty burner and stuffed some red geraniums inside.

After that I put my somewhat dubious creativity to work and came up with a figure made out of a broom stick with a frying pan for a face. A pair of oven mitts formed her hands, all in keeping with the stove motif. There was a lot of duct tape involved. The result wasn’t pretty, but it was noticeable. I dubbed my creation “Bessborough Betty” because the community where the stove resided was called Bessborough and Betty was an alliterative moniker that sounded about right.

As summer turned to fall, I changed out the decorations. This was all done all the down-low taking great care not to be caught. I wanted it to be a mystery. Fortunately this was a very small community on a quiet road, so it wasn’t difficult to pull off.

By now my partner in crime had became thoroughly enamoured with the ditch stove project! Here he plants a kiss on Bessborough Betty’s teflon cheek.

Living in the far north of Canada made Christmas decorating a challenge, but fortunately we are made of sturdy stuff in the north! Or we’re slightly daft. One of the two. And by we, I mean me.

As you can see my partner chose to man the camera instead of changing out the decorations. He was supportive of the project, but not quite as crazy as his wife!

Today we live in a major city, with all sorts of opportunity to create smiles to those around us. While I haven’t come up with a new project quite yet, the old brain is percolating! I will keep you posted.

Do you have a Smile Project that you have pulled off in your neighbourhood? Or have you seen one that someone else has put together? Please feel free to share!

Thanks for reading and merriest of wishes to you and yours.

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