Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Cedar, a familiar scent

I remember when I was a kid, I had a childhood friend who always spoke of having a hope chest, what in the world was that? One day I mustered up the courage and asked her about it, I was astonished at her reply. She told me it was a trunk that contained items for the wedding she wants. Well, I've since learned this lofty goal could also be called, a wish chest, a future chest and a want chest. It can also house anything you yearn for in planning your adulthood, for example, college or career.

My friend further piqued my interest by telling me the chest had to be made of cedar because no matter what...cedar kept the moths and insects away. How right she was!

I myself had never had the pleasure of smelling cedar. I can remember passing cedar mothballs being sold in the store. I couldn't resist taking a wiff and to this day I still have to smell them whenever I see them on the shelf . A strong pungent odor which when first scented, one never forgets. Seems as though this lovely wood has its own preservatives growing and alive within its trunk. The wood when used for fences and whatnot, takes along time to decay, if ever. Other wood rots from the inside out, cedar is the only known lumber to rot from the outside in. So if anything, the fence posts will become smaller in size before falling over and becoming useless. Cedar chips are also the best mulch.

Imagine my excitement when I first moved to our property and Jack of All Trades introduced me to a cedar sapling. The sight of this tree was just as I thought it would be; it has a lacy conifer foliage and a gray hairy like trunk. Twelve years ago, the people I took care of cut me ten-10 feet long cedar posts as a surprise gift. We made the playground set out of them, and after all this time our main swingset poles are still going strong.

These trees can also make wonderful shrubs. They are a relatively slow growing bush when hedge cut, and withstand our Maine snow amounts. The two pictures are my shaped cedar growing around the pond and in front of my rock wall, they have been growing for about ten years and are a nice addition to a year round green landscape.

The first picture is of my daughters toy box I made for her in the year 2000, I couldn't find anything in the shops that fit my needs so I fashioned this box out of oak pallets we had from a boiler install. The pallets cushioned the boiler and were wrapped in plastic around the appliance. Perhaps one day.....when we are done lining our closet with red cedar, I will use the leftovers to finish the inside of her toybox.... if only, just for her hope of a future box.

In the garden.....checking for skeletons..finding it empty.


  1. Dawn,

    This is a lovely post and here at Chez Cedar we are especially fond of Juniperus! It smells good, too!

    Wow, your closets look terrific....what a great idea!


  2. Good job Dawn. Cedar trees are great and have so many uses in a yard or house. Several in a line make a great wind barrier or block out neighbors and are really stunning to look at. They get so tall.

    Tina, I never said congrats for getting your certificate so am saying it now. But am wondering why it took so long.

    Hope everyone has has great day.

  3. The closests do look great! I especially like your rock wall. Always have.

    Mom, I guess I couldn't be certified sooner due to transfer issues. Now it is done and it is fun. You do have to complete volunteer hours each year to stay certified. It has been fun so far and thanks!

  4. Great Post Dawn! I love the smell of cedar. In our first rental house, we had a coat closet lined with Cedar. It smelled so good! I would like to have all my closets lined with cedar and maybe one day, we will build a house and have them...

  5. Great post, Dawn, and the sight of a nearly empty closet is a thing of beauty, but one lined with cedar is a work of art. I had a cedar lined hope chest and filled it with sheets and towels that were purchased with green stamp books. HA

    Frances at Faire Garden

  6. Hi Guys,
    I'm glad you all like this post, I had fun doing it and so did my daughter.
    Gail, I forgot about your name, Chez Cedar, shame on me! I like the juniper also, mine are the worst for wear. I had to trim them back hard.....lost my gin berries! Hic-cup. Just kidding. I did not know that about the berries.
    Mom, the big cedar are just outside our property line. A small grove of 6. When we first found it, they took my breath away. They are big and beautiful, we have single smaller ones. I'm surpised you didn't ask about who the friend was?
    Tina, other pictures are up coming of my wall. It is in such dire need of repair but is the focal point of our yard. Another project for this year.
    Skeeter, I'd never heard of lining closets with cedar but I'm glad we are doing it. This is the last thing to be done in this house. Building is fun but once done....I'm amazed we did it.
    Frances, I love a empty closet also, mine are usually brimming with junk and almost topple on me when I open the door. I think everyone should have a cedar chest, afraid they are becoming a thing of the past. My mother knows all to well about green stamps! I can remember licking.. sheets! of them.

  7. Dawn, actually I have been racking my brain trying to figure out who the friend was. All I could think of was Beth but she was more Joanne's friend. There is a big walk-in cedar closet in the Porter house.

    Frances are there still any green stamp redemption places left? I still have 5 or 6 books that are full but I did get several things years ago, including a really nice maple, platform rocking chair. With 4 girls I bought a lotta food.

  8. Oh darn cause that was gonna be my next guess and alsmost said it along with Beth. Should have! When I think of her now, I always think of that make over program when she had the room done over for Buddy. I think all you girls saw it and I did. I knew when it was gonna be on cause Betty called me with the date.

    For all you people that watch those make over programs....What a rip off!!! The people from the show spent most of their time on Mia's 4 wheelers and trampoline while her friends did all the work.
    Good part was it was all free! But it is not like it looks on TV.

  9. Hi Dawn, loved the cedar chest you made. I finally after years and years got a cedar chest for Christmas this year. I've always loved them --my grandma had one and several of my mom's sisters had them. When they would open them up it was amazing --the smell was so good. I wanted one then! Hahaha --but I'm fine with mine now --actually have some of the kiddos baby stuff in that I plan on giving them when they get older. A lady I met in Kansas one time told me to rub some soft sandpaper on the inside of the cedar chest if the scent wasn't as strong and it would help bring it back. I tried it on my mom's cedar chest and it worked. Smelled like new again:) Busy day today --cleaned out several kitchen cabinets and reorganized --got rid of some clothes too. A productive day but the yard is way too soggy from last nights rain. We have ball tonight --I'll have two little mudballs on my hands when Sidekick and girl model get done playing:) See you all later! Great post! Hi Tina and all my other favorite cyber garden buddies:)

  10. What a lovely reflection on cedar! It's not often that you hear of a tree's entire life cycle, and its after life. It is a fascinating tree to hold onto its magic bug-defying powers.

  11. Dawn, I don't remember that about Mia.

    Mom, I did see the show. What was the name? I don't watch TLC anymore, only HGTV. I should've paid closer attention then I would've known it was my childhood friend. But I only paid attention because it was in Bath Maine.

    Anonymous, I remember you showing me your new cedar chest. I just remembered. Okay, five months can be along time. lol Nice. I don't have any cedar, just the trees. I do love the smell.

    Hi Sarah, I love your blog. Can't wait to see what you post when you come back. Check in Friday for a post on the irises. Tomorrow is GBBD. Nothing but flowers.

  12. Hi Anonymous, I didn't know that about the sandpaper and wondered how long my closet would smell. Some else told me to clean wallpaper rub bread on it. Ha! Can see me now! Bread in one hand, sandpaper in the other.
    Hi Sarah, I know your in England and have wonderful pics on your blog. I hope my mother and I keep you in touch with Maine.
    Tina, I'm surprised you didn't know that about Mia, she constantly talked about it. While you were out was the show, if you saw it you'd remember the hydrant keg as he is a fireman. I've seen it a couple of times and Mia is hard to reconize until she smiles then everything hits a bell. I think I knew it before mom told me, think the show aired before that and I was wondering.

  13. Hello all. Great post Dawn. I love the smell of cedar. We had a whole wall in our den in cedar. Boy the whole house smelled so good. Yeh, bugs don't bother it--even termites & they'll eat any wood.

    Finished the West wall bed. Planted my cannas there as well as an Amarillo that my brother & wife sent me for x-mas. There was 1 already in the corner so I thought they would make good fillers. They both are red. The cannas will be red, cream, yellow, orange & Pink. In the very front of the bed is a flowering almond that is at the NW corner. Also got one of the ferns planted. Will put the other in a pot to watch. Planted a couple Frescia {sp} bulbs to see what they would do.

    I had a comment all written but the power went off. Phooey lost all.
    Boy, my allergies are going like gang busters. Can't sleep. Haven't been this bad in decades. Now the package says if your over 65 call the dr. Now I'm afraid to take anything. Old age, drats.

  14. Hi Lola,
    Sounds like you had a busy day, I love the amarillos, they have such wonderful color.
    Guess if you can't take some meds over 65, better off going to the doctors. Here's to hoping one of my kids marry a md.

  15. Lola all the smoke down there may be helping you out. :( Yup old age sucks but better than not being here!Hope they grow up and get married quick as I need a Dr I can trust after that quack I went to.

  16. Wow, what a memory on the green stamps! One grandmother collected H&S green stamps and the Other Top Value Kroger Yellow Stamps! Waffle iron, toaster, me a little piano, etc. Ah the memories of licking those stamps! LOL...

    Lola, call the doctor for some relief! My dad had it bad last week and now my mom has it this week. Poor niece that is graduating HS in a week is in the hospital with Kidney Stone. Poor kid, I did not know girls got them! My dad and two brothers have had them in past and not fun thing to deal with. Bless her little heart. Hope she can get those exams taken on time...

    Anonymous, I needed little Sidekick today. We found tiny earth worm snakes under some pine straw! He would have had fun like the Saint did trying to catch them to put them out of harms way… I also accidently chopped off a blue tail lizards tail while clipping the hedge. I felt so bad afterwards but I know he is okay as they loose their tails on purpose... Sniff... You would have thought that the thing would have stayed clear of the noisy electric clippers! Duh, not a smart lizard…

    Got the entire hedge clipped and fresh pine straw under it! Yeah, one more chore completed! Got all the old pine straw removed under all the Crepe Myrtles and some fresh under a few. Will work on placing more fresh under the remaining ones tomorrow before the afternoon rains hit us... Hopefully anyway... Removed the old pine straw out of the driveway island. We found lots of holes to fill but thinking of not filling them as we dont really go into the island so why fill them. I hope I dont twist an ankle when pruning the snowball bush! Maybe we should fill the holes…

    I don’t have much left on my list of things to do before my parents come down…

  17. Skeeter, I know! I looked up the green stamps online and they take them in trade for green points, funny, even after all these years. Nice of you to be concerned about the creepy, slitherly, amimals of mother nature, I wouldn't go out of my way to hurt one.......actually I think I'd run the other way! Hope your niece heals, they say those stones are the worst.

  18. Lola, Forgot to say on the other post-yes!! Pull the bulblets apart and plant more! It will not hurt nothing at all. I love crocosmia! It would like nice in a pot. That power thing stinks! Hate writing everything out then losing it!

    Dawn, Here's to hoping BOTH your kids BECOME MDs!

    Mom, You are funny! I guess there is always a worse alternative to everything.

    Skeeter, Your garden needs to be on a garden tour. I am sitting here thinking, Do I need mulch? Some gardens do but I am not sure I am so motivated. We'll see. Nope, not a smart lizard at all. What type of snakes? Did you catch one to hold?

  19. Hello Everyone, Dawn what an interesting post. The toy chest is very nice, my girls would love to have had one that large when they were small! And to think you made it, I would never try a project like that. The cedar lined closet is a luxury in a home. I have a cedar wardrobe in my walk-in closet that I keep blankets in. I also have a Lane cedar chest that I have had for years. I store handmade items in it (embroidery, crocheted etc). Did any of you receive a small miniature Lane chest when you graduated high school? A department store in town gave each female senior one as a graduating gift. I still have mine, not in the best of condition but neither am I!!!

    I very well remember the stamps both green and valu plus. I ended up with quite a few books that I didn't redeem before the redemption stores closed.

    I had a very enjoyable day visiting with Tina and touring her gardens. What a breathtaking sight. How can one person remember the names of so many plants? Thanks Tina for inviting me and also sharing so many nice plants. I did find one oakleaf at the px. Also found a purple leaf redbud at Rural King, I'm just hoping it is like the one you have. Nina

  20. I share your opinion of cedar mulch. It is the very best mulch.

  21. Hi Nina and Aunt debbi/kurts mom! I don't have a cedar chest but I've heard about the lane chest, lovely furniture company, how lucky you are! Yield company had some beautiful ones also.
    Cedar is a wonderful repellent, someone could develop a parfum?
    Nite all.

  22. Nina, That is SO sweet for a department store to give graduating seniors a chest! You are too kind with my gardens. Thanks for visiting. Enjoyed it very much too! Hope Gene was not too bored.:) Good for you on the oakleaf. I am betting that purple redbud is a 'Forest Pansy'. They don't label them well at Rural King. You'll be happy with it but it takes a few years to get going.

    Good morning Aunt Debbi/Kurts Mom! I wish I grew a lot of wildflowers because I would play. But only a few. Actually they grow themselves. Verbascum and Queen Ann's Lace. I'll link when they bloom this summer. Okay?

    Dawn-Good morning!

  23. Skeeter I am so sorry to hear about your niece and, yup, females do get em as your family found out the hard way. They are always very painful but I think they are a bit worse for men but maybe that is cause we are the stronger sex.

    FILL THE HOLES before you get hurt!!

    Nina I got a miniature Lane cedar chest from our only local furniture store at graduation time.
    I also still have mine on a dresser in my bedroom and it is still just like new except it has no smell left. Since all us girls got that I wonder what the boys got as I don't remember. Wonder if they got the same. My kids or grandkids never got anything from a business so maybe they don't do it anymore. Too bad.

    Glad you had a good time at Tina's. So nice that you can really get to meet and enjoy each other.

    When I came in from outside yesterday I found another tick. I have always been a very stong person and able to do and handle anything. Spiders, snakes, mice, ect do not bother me at all. What is it about those tick that really make me panic. I almost wanna cry.

  24. Skeeter, I don't know how I missed it but I hope your niece gets better soon. A stone so young? That is painful. Is she who you are coming to see graduate? And Sunday is fine. The 25th? Love to see you guys-Mr. Fix-it will be here too!!!! He and the Saint can talk cars. That will be fun.

    Mom, The secret with ticks is to check yourself real good when you come in then it won't be so bad. Get one up on them. I learned this finally. I am up to 10 so two is not so bad! Really, beat them at their own game.

  25. Skeeter, thought I would tell you my story of passing a kidney stone - on my 21st birthday!! Messed up a good birthday celebration. But they brought the cake on to the hospital and we had a mini celebration. What pain, luckily after two days it was over. Hope your niece recovers quickly! Nina

  26. Ouch for Kidney Stones! That was sweet your family took the cake to the hospital!

    Yep, gonna get those holes filled. I just picked up 20 more bags of dirt... argggg

    Tina, we will plan for Sunday morning or noonish. Will let you know once all gets going. Yes, she is the one graduating. They say her grades are good enough in case she does not get to take exams but still should take those exams to better those grades for college! We are going to a family thing at 3:00 Sunday so we should be at your place before that.... Will let you know...

  27. Ouch for Kidney Stones! That was sweet your family took the cake to the hospital!

    Yep, gonna get those holes filled. I just picked up 20 more bags of dirt... argggg

    Tina, we will plan for Sunday morning or noonish. Will let you know once all gets going. Yes, she is the one graduating. They say her grades are good enough in case she does not get to take exams but still should take those exams to better those grades for college! We are going to a family thing at 3:00 Sunday so we should be at your place before that.... Will let you know...

  28. My daughter hates moths with a passion and wants her entire house built of cedar. That would be pricey don't you think?