We decided to have our shingle system roof replaced, which entailed removing the whole thing. Unlike shake roofs, there are no sheets of plywood underneath there, just strips of firring that the roofers attach the mosaic of shingles to. So we were open to the great outdoors, just the lath and plaster of our old ceilings between us and nature. And as we later found out, nature wanted in.
Roof rats moved in immediately, and started traversing from the attic to the space under the house by traveling through the walls. We heard them gnawing inside the walls, we set traps, we found them hiding inside garment bags in closets, and worst of all, nesting in my ornament boxes, where their antics broke almost every one. Crawling through the handle holes on the cardboard and plastic boxes, they stole Christmas, and we didn't even know it until months later.
I started junking in earnest during those first years on Brookdale, and started my collection of vintage ornaments as well. My mother gave me the very old ones she still had, ones that belonged to her parents, as well as her father's mother. There are even a few Victorians in there, tiny glass globes with handles of tinsel wire and little scrap pictures affixed to them, wrapped, of course, in silver bullion wire.
I added more to my collection of colored ornaments, but my favorites by far are the mercury glass I have found. My bounty of soft silver ornaments includes old tinsel and bead garlands, and candle clips from my grandmother. I added a few more this year, including the fairest little bird. I was lucky enough to find boxes of colored ornaments this year on a trip, and had enough to share, bringing in box after box to the store. Many went to good homes this year, and I will pack away with no regrets the rest of them to be brought out again next season.
I am enjoying the last few days of the season with some poignancy, knowing it will all be packed up again soon. My big tree is laden with the mercury glass you see above, with tiny white lights, just as I had always pictured it, but my husband and I could never seem to agree on it, he wanting colored lights. It made it extra special this year that it was exactly as I have always imagined it...