Digging For Treasure

Digging for treasure

A few weeks ago we were invited to go on a dump dig-which basically means we were invited to go dig through trash that someone left over 70 years ago.

The dig was probably the best I’ve ever been on-it was like all those treasures had been laying there passing away the time till we got there for them.

Finding bottle in the creek

Chatter swore this one still smelled sweet like perfume or cologne.

Interesting bottles

Not only did we find more intact bottles than usual we found ones we’d never seen before-like the ones I asked you to help identify the other day.

Old crock

As with all dumps-there were lots of broken bits too-wish I could find a crock like that in one piece.

Aluminum coffee pot

I picked up this old coffee pot with holes punched all over the bottom-it remind me of Pap’s 7-dust sifter.

Old trash piles

Can you pick out the bottom of the oil lamp in that pile? As you can see-there really was an amazing amount of stuff at this dump. It made me think it wasn’t a typical dump-where a family threw out stuff over the years. It was more like they left in a hurry-and maybe the house decayed with the passage of time and stuff was strewn about by nature.

Small curvy bottle

You can see the look of triumph Chitter got on her face-when she found a pretty little curvy bottle.

Antique baby shoe

We found so many cool things that day. But the thing that stuck in my mind was the little shoe piece above. Its not unusual to find old pieces of shoe leather around dumps-but I’ve never found a child’s. I should have laid something down beside it so you could gage the size-its just barely longer than my hand. My mind couldn’t quit thinking about the child who once wore the shoe.

Whenever I’m around old homeplaces I often feel like if I turn around quickly I’ll see the people who once lived there-its like the lives they lived left an impression so strong-they’re still there. I kept thinking if the child could see us digging around-shouting and screaming every time we unearthed an old jar-he would think we were silly and maybe just a little touched in the head.

Even now-I wonder if the little child was still young when their family moved on to another place? I wonder if the little foot now grown large still walks this Earth?





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  • Reply
    Barb Wright
    March 24, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    I loved this post! My middle son(now 31),and I have done this since he was a teen. We have found lots of cool stuff..but somehow started collecting beer bottles and cans. I have lots of other tins as well. We wonder,too,about those who’ve gone before. Even tho’ he’s married with 4 kids,we still like to explore. It’s even more fun now with little ones tagging along!!

  • Reply
    March 24, 2012 at 10:07 am

    so funny: Just this week, I told my husband(city-boy) that we should sprinkle 7-Dust to combat this year’s early Spring bugs. He had no idea what I was talking about. Daddy punched holes in a tall juice can and added a wooden handle for his dust sifter.

  • Reply
    March 24, 2012 at 7:26 am

    Interesting finds! Especially that old shoe sole. Has me wondering the same things.

  • Reply
    March 24, 2012 at 3:17 am

    Future generations are going to have a lot of digging to do if they ever dig through all the rubbish this generation throws out.

  • Reply
    Vicki Lane
    March 23, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    We have a couple of old dumps on our place and have retrieved some nice bottles –such fun!

  • Reply
    susie swanson
    March 23, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    Love it..your posts are so full of history.They give me goosebumbs reading them…keep up the great work..Susie

  • Reply
    March 23, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    vintage trash piles are so much more interesting than any modern trash pile for sure!!! most things that i treasure came from an old old dump site or old barn/farmhouse site.

  • Reply
    March 23, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    That really does look like fun, especially wondering who owned the items and what they were for. Mom came over yesterday and supervised while I did some weeding. I found an interesting rock and she said “ooh that looks like slate, you should clean it up and display it”. Now I know where that magpie tendency I have comes from…..

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    March 23, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    and Lonnie…when I was writing my comment earlier, I was thinking of the old Castor Oil bottles, Castoria, mertholate and mercruacrome…(can’t spell check, sorry)..ewwww…Mertholate burned it had a dobber…on my scratches and cuts…Mercurachrome..had a dobber but didn’t burn…Caster Oil made me sicker than I was…and Castoria was sweet and I could have drunk it by the bottle full…I have an old Castoria bottle somewhere with the raised lettering on the side..
    I hate to say it but kids today have it made with their ointments, paroxide washes and spray cleansers for cuts and scratches…All types of cutesy bandaids etc….
    Man, I remember getting my foot dipped in the kerosene can or turpentine for rusty nails, etc…and or tobaccer spit or sod’e (soda) put on my sting…butter rubbed on my finger burns…
    Were we tough or what
    “NO FEAR” really ?
    I actually have commented my way into “nausea” thinking about the Caster Oil..after all it was mainly used for lubricating typewriters and auroplane parts!!LOL

  • Reply
    trisha too
    March 23, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    Tipper I am not even kidding, it seems like every time I read you posts, I end up tearing up or outright crying!

  • Reply
    Molly Seaver
    March 23, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    My dad photographed his finds all over the world. I still note today that he would always have someone stand by large items such as buildings. Or he would set a quarter or other coin or a dollar bill by small items. Most folks can associate with those items.

  • Reply
    Nancy M.
    March 23, 2012 at 11:13 am

    How fun! I’ve got a few of those nearby, but I’ve never stopped to look at. Maybe now I will!

  • Reply
    March 23, 2012 at 11:08 am

    Sounds like a wonderful outing. I know just what you mean about the shoe leather!

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    March 23, 2012 at 11:02 am

    Loved Bradley passing on the joke…there is nothing new under the sun…LOl Also, “Happy Tracks”
    note by Ed…
    I’d say that first bottle in the picture is a beauty product bottle from the thirties or up…maybe Helena Rubenstein, Factor, Arden or other maybe off brand company…Note the style of the bottle soft shoulder..with a black plastic screw top…The early plastics where very hard and black mostly for beauty products like shampoo, lotions, astringents..etc…
    The perfume bottle. Mercy, is
    Chatter holding the glass dobber?
    Most of the times those got broken off and that is why they were discarded…
    That is a range of years..of dumping…from crocks to aluminum coffee pots…Where there any granite pots…
    I would have loved to dig in that pile of stuff…Still, a little spooky to find a childs shoe leather…You would wonder why that survived,(waiting on you) a lot of times animals will pick up old leather pieces and carry it off to chew on like a “doggie treat”, and I guess in the case of finding no food in the winter will eat it!
    Tipper, what if I let the place go and the stuff collaped into the leaf mold..(sometimes I think it is. lol) with all my odd collections that represent a range of years and ages…It would probably drive the “digger” crazy…LOL Oh, I would like to be a fly on the wall..errr tree so to speak…
    Thanks for a great post,

  • Reply
    Janet Smart
    March 23, 2012 at 11:01 am

    We like to go hunting with our metal detector. My son found an old sledge hammer head the other day. He shined her up read good and he’s making a handle for it.

  • Reply
    Darlene LaRoche
    March 23, 2012 at 10:07 am

    Sounds like you had a fun filled day, when I was younger, used to like to go to old dumps and check out all the treasures.

  • Reply
    March 23, 2012 at 10:00 am

    What a great post this morning Tipper! Wish I could find an old dump site to dig in.

  • Reply
    March 23, 2012 at 10:00 am

    great post!

  • Reply
    Lonnie Dockery
    March 23, 2012 at 9:36 am

    Ahh! Real fun! I am glad those girls are not yet too busy to go dump digging with you. You may scoff at Chatter’s olfactory abilities, but I recently found a fifty-year-old bottle with a distinct medicinal smell. I think the smell was Castor Oil…and I think I remember having it poured down me…in fact, I think I can still taste it too! Maybe a good imagination helps.

  • Reply
    March 23, 2012 at 9:30 am

    I’m jealous! I have been wanting to go digging on an old wagon trail on my property, but seems we can’t find the time. My cousin said that is one thing she wants to do when she comes to visit in a few weeks. The old-timers tell me the trail was used as folks traveled from other areas to The Salt River in Bullitt County, KY during a time when trading was mostly done in river towns.
    The trail is way back on the hill and I’ve never been over the entire length. We want to try to identify the areas where travelers camped along the way and perhaps left behind some treasures.

  • Reply
    Pam Moore
    March 23, 2012 at 9:06 am

    Women used to use lamp bottoms to create “makedos”. They would stuff wool into a round of fabric and tie/glue it to the top of a lamp base creating a decorative pin cushion. The bottom of a broken lamp was too pretty to waste.

  • Reply
    March 23, 2012 at 8:45 am

    Enjoyed your story. Wish i’d been there to hunt for treasures with you. Sounds like so much fun.

  • Reply
    Lisa Snuggs
    March 23, 2012 at 8:41 am

    My one and only dig took place a couple decades ago in the woods adjacent to an old farm house that served as deer camp for a friend in central Alabama. The dig resulted in two things for me: a porcelain bucket that still speaks to me of the past, and a yearning to dig again. That feeling of wonderment you described when looking at part of a child’s shoe is more palatable at a real “dump” than it could ever be at even the junkiest old antique store. It simply stirs the soul. Thanks for jogging my memory about that special day.

  • Reply
    dolores barton
    March 23, 2012 at 8:32 am

    I wondered if the coffee pot had been used for target practice. It looks as if you had some quality family time as well as finding some interesting treasures of time past.

  • Reply
    Karen Larsen
    March 23, 2012 at 8:29 am

    You found great treasures! I wonder what kind of “treasures” we will leave behind…..?

  • Reply
    March 23, 2012 at 8:16 am

    this is something i would so love to do. all that history laying there waiting to talk to you. what a find, not just the bottles but site itself

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    March 23, 2012 at 8:14 am

    Tipper, excellent post. I just love hearing your perspective on things. You have the heart of a philosopher as you walk among the ghosts.
    Wonder if we could find a bottle book so you could identify the bottles.
    Every time I visit you and see the jars of shards from past treasure hunts I wonder if there is some way to make a mosaic or something with them. It just seems to me that there should be some way to honor the finds.
    I’m really looking forward to my visit this weekend!

  • Reply
    March 23, 2012 at 7:25 am

    This is such a good post – as usual. When I think of searching for antiques, I always think of this joke I once heard Johnny Carson tell on his show one night.
    Some historians were talking about Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg address speech. Supposedly this speech was made rather hastily and he actually didn’t have any paper to write it on. The story goes that it was actually written on an old envelope while he was was on the way to Gettysburg. Years later someone found this envelope and you know what? When they looked on the other side, in big bold letters it said, “You may have already won a million dollars” LOL!

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    March 23, 2012 at 7:23 am

    Enjoyed the trip with you and the girls to the ole trash pile, Tipper! I always have similar thoughts as you when I dig through remains–filled with nostalgia and wonder about the folks who used the utensils, opened the bottles–discarded the trash and treasures and moved on!
    And Ed Ammons, wonderful philosophizing!~As the sage said, We only pass this way but once; whatsoever good, therefore, we can do, we should do it now!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    March 23, 2012 at 5:45 am

    Ever heard “Happy Tracks”. It says: Leave a lot of happy tracks, others will have to follow in the tracks we leave behind. Hopefully that little shoe made Happy Tracks.
    What we are looking at are the tracks of those gone before. But, while we are looking and wondering, we are also leaving tracks for those coming along just out of sight. Are we leading them in the right direction?

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