Lisa Kern

Lisa Kern
Pennsylvania, US
March 28
I'm a mom of three boys, a needy dog, and an insolent cat. When I'm not writing, vacuuming up pet hair, or cleaning pee off the toilet seat, I like to fantasize about jeans that actually fit and an all-you-can-eat-chocolate-and-cheese diet. Welcome to my party.


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Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 13, 2009 10:35AM

Let's go to the flea market!

Rate: 42 Flag

A beautiful fall day is perfect for a country flea market.  One thing is certain:  even if you can’t find any bargains, there’s always plenty of absurdity to go around.  Throw on a pair of your rattiest jeans, a flannel shirt, and a John Deere cap and come along with me to the flea market.  You can leave your comb, deodorant, and refined vocabulary at home.  You won’t need them where we’re going.


 Don't you wish you were here?  



You never know who you’ll run into at the flea market.  Even some of Freaky Troll’s extended family were there.


 You can see the family resemblance.   



I’m not sure who this guy is (Santa’s killer handyman elf?  Horror movie extra?) but I don’t think I’d let him in my house.  His apron might say “Screws” and “Bolts” but the maniacal look in his eye suggests that he might have a few loose ones.


 I'd sleep with one eye open with this unhinged muppet in the house.    



The flea market vendors want to stay ahead of the Christmas rush by bringing out their Christmas merchandise before Halloween.  How can anyone resist this Hiding Santa?  He’s perfect.  If he can’t see you, he can’t put you on his Naughty List.


 I can't see youuuuuuuuu!    



The woman in this painting is butt-ass naked, but apparently the small orange sticky notes over each nipple disguise that fact.


 Post-it pasties!    



Just a few spots down from the ammo and XXX-rated VHS tapes, welcome to Redneckistan.  Here, you can purchase a different fashion statement for every day of the week.


Which to wear: Git 'R Done or NRA Forever? 




This ought to teach those damn kids to stop throwing their ball into my yard.


 Getting caught in a bear trap'll learn 'em!    


It’s all here, even the kitchen sink.


 It's one of those newfangled modern-artsy ones.    



A lot of the vendors are patriotic and want everyone to know it.  This vendor shows us how even a pool ladder is enhanced with the addition of an American flag.


You can remember Old Glory as you take a dip in the pool. 



Here’s one-stop shopping for the perfect redneck wedding:  an Eagles shirt for the groom, a wedding dress for the bride, and a game of Twister for the reception. 


Wouldn't you love to see the wedding photos? 



 Of course, you don’t want to drink too much at the reception or you’ll end up like this poor dog:

Do dogs even get headaches? 


Apparently the natives made a wood carving of Gene Simmons.

Do they get reality TV in Fiji? 


The astute flea marketer knows that complementary objects arranged together yield successful sales.  Notice how the red anvil and the deer antlers enhance the patina of the white elephant table.  Can’t you just picture all of them in your living room?

I use antlers in all of my decorating, don't you? 


Any idea what this is?  Me neither but it doesn’t appear to be G-rated.


The vendor told me but I forget.  Curse this 40-something brain of mine! 




Now THAT’S a cauldron!  You can easily cook three neighborhood children at one time.


Would you believe it cost $395? 




Test tubes?  Rocket fuel belt?  Your guess is as good as mine.


I was afraid to ask. 



Doesn’t this little guy just say take me home?  Or maybe he says hide the lawn and garden tools.  


Watch your property values escalate with this critter in the yard. 



And he's brought friends.   These ones suggest that someone has too much time on his hands. 


The more the merrier when it comes to yard art! 




Oh look!  Supplies for incontinence issues at any age:


Someone gave up a lot of table space for this display. 




The pig farmer is a regular at the flea market.  Hauling pigs by day...


Doesn't get more country than that. 



...and your flea market treasures on the weekend.


He's actually quite popular here. 



No need to remove the pig shit first; just load ‘er up.


Helllooooo, e. Coli! 




This chest promises a Gay Time (or Alternative Lifestyle Time for those politically correct folks.) 


Hmmmm...wonder what you can keep inside? 




Need a tire?  How about fifty of them?


Do you think they come with a road hazard warranty? 




Once again, we see the value of purposeful merchandising in action:  an antique fire extinguisher for when your antique gas fireplace catches on fire.


Shouldn't these come with a warning label? 



File this one under Why Don’t You Just Throw It the Hell Out?


Was this ever a good idea? 




Don’t have a pot to piss in because of the economy?  Here’s TWO of them for you.


One for me and one for you! 




The old ball and chain, after the divorce:

12 feet long, 'cause we all need our own space. 


Admit it.  You want one of these, don’t you?

I'm trying not to weep. 


Everyone needs a wooden zebra with a come-hither look in its eye.


Hey there, big boy... 




In spite of all of the odd offerings, I did manage to find something that I couldn’t live without:


How can you possibly be depressed with this clock around? 




A bad day at the flea market beats a good day working every time.    


Isn't this on a tarot card? 


**be sure to mouse over the photos for even more fun.   counter for wordpress

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I'm assuming that the pics are all of things that you purchased? Funny post. (Rated)
Wow, I was first on a Lisa post.
Lisa, how much stuff did you go home with?
Roger - Even though everything was so tempting, I have a budget. And taste.

Sheepie - Sadly, only two things. It was difficult leaving those yard critters behind, though.
Had I been there, I would have bought a Freaky Troll doll, a bottle of Axe, and a cigarette lighter.
I gotta buy GAY TIME chest. How much was it?
This was GRrrrrreat!! Reminds me of the flea markets back home, but yours are much more classy. The Flea Markets down here are really nice and there cool but they aren't nearly the fun that these country northern flea markets are. I got some good old fashioned vibes from this, Lisa. Thanks!
Steve - And that's why I love you. You understand the perfect ingredients for a good time.

Z - I'll see if it's still there next week and let you know. :)

Michael - Thanks! I'm glad you liked it, even though I failed to include the photo of the fish wearing sunglasses.
Lisa--I'm not quite sure what the bench with the clamp thing is for, but the green-patinaed copper pot thingy with the thin pipe "handle" sitting on it is part of a moonshine still. (Perhaps the bench was once used to support the copper tubing?)
Also, the "hangover dog" is a music box. There's a key on the bottom of him, and when you wind him up he plays "It's a Dog's Life."

My grandparents had one of those on their mantel.
I call dibs on the red anvil!
I need to get out more; looks like you had a lot of fun!
As for the clamp bench, looking more closely at the design and the various straps and things, I'm guessing it was probably originally made for immobilizing an animal's (such as a sheep, goat, or calf) head in order to dose it or do ear notching/ear tagging. Some medicines for sheep at least had to be pretty much poured down their throats.

But that's just guessing.
Lisa, another great the pictures...brought back so many memories from when my former and I used to go to flea markets back in the day.
Excellent job, Lisa, and congrats on the EP. Well deserved.

BTW, those aren't TIRES, they are PLANTERS. Didn't you know that? :-D

Flea markets are definitely fun, and you never know what you'll find - my wife picked up a couple of Wallace Nutting's for a song.

I love country flea markets. "Redneckistan" - that made me laugh hard.
Wow you really weren't kidding about the absurdity.

I should scan a pic, I still have a stuffed eagle at a flea market that was so large, if you put it in the backseat of the car you couldn't see out!
Great, fun post, Lisa. Good "tines' on one of them. I love flea markets wherever I go to meet the folks and get an idea of the customs as much as buy anything.
Flea markets are so weird. Depends? Yeah, I'd want to buy those off a card table in a parking lot instead of an actual store.

You'd die if you saw the one we have in Canton - it's ginormous.
I truly do not know how I would like waking up to a smiling alarm clock that just rudely interrupted my sleep.
I want a record bowl. Heck yeah! That looks like someone left them on the heater too long and then just went with it. If I had a record bowl I'd put black licorice candies in it. See, I even had a plan.

I love this post. It's amazing the crap...I mean can find at a flea market. In Louisiana they have them set up every weekend.
Flea market finds! Seriously - flea markets are da' bomb. Thanks for bringing us along!
This makes such a great photo essay!
LOL! I made record bowls for my daughter's 13th birthday party. It was 70s-themed and I used them instead of goody bags. They were a HUGE hit!
I love some of the antique stuff? Does that make me a hoarder?

They wanted to charge you for taking pictures? Off with their heads!
This was freakin' hilarious! The pix, yes, but your commentary was truly priceless. Promise me you'll go again in the future and do a Part II. If this was all from just one visit, I can only imagine what treasures you'll find each time....

p.s. The oddest "treasures" I've seen at yard sales: Half-used cosmetics and open boxes of condoms.
Thanks you so much for going to that so that I don't have to. Thank God I read twice, or I would never have noticed the dog with the ice pack on his head. I thought you were talking about the spaniel with puppies. like i sooo...gotta go to flea markets with you!! your hilarious!!
I reckon that the bench and clamp device would be useful for restraining small livestock, ornery children and obstreperous women. Devices of this design are also used by leather-crafters to hold a project in place, leaving both hands free to lace, sew, puncture & cetera.
Oh, how I love any kind of flea market. Love how you captured the photos of the wierd stuff. Looks wierder when you put it in photo format.

You are right, that zebra was downright sexy!!!
I love flea markets. Sometimes I find really good bargains. I always find a good time. Thanks for sharing all those interesting pictures!
Cringing here over the cheezy mediteranian oil lamp thingy - growing up in NJ, I remember many of them from my youth.

I'm pretty sure the giant test tube thingies are containers for paint balls - they also use them for hiding caches in geocaching!

Thanks for the lovely tour - better you than me :)
Yuselof the Worm is correct. It's a cobbler's bench. I've never seen one of that particular design before, but here's something very similar.

But trying to figure out what the hell that thing was kept me entertained on the internets for the better part of the day.
Lord, this put me into the wayback machine. Kirksville, MO used to (does still? Not sure) have a Friday Night Auction. Two barnloads of stuff materialized during the week, and the auctionin' started right at 6:00 pm. I actually purchased some pretty interesting items there, including my cast iron cauldron. But I digress.

At the end of the auction there was always a pile of total garbage that nobody wanted. But Jerry the auctioneer wouldn't be put off. He'd just keep throwing boxes of the garbage together as a bigger and bigger lot, yellin', "Who'll gimme a BUCK fer this?"

Somebody always did, and hauled it away. Thus did the Friday Night Auction Barn become empty and ready for the following week.

Thanks for the memories of other people's cast-off crap!
If I'd known you were goin' I woulda sent ya with a shoppin' list!
Holy canoli. I'm exhausted.

Depends?? Really? Is that legal?
One of my favorite passtimes and why I have to tell people we learned to decorate from Gomez and Mortisha.
"The astute flea marketer knows that complementary objects arranged together yield successful sales. Notice how the red anvil and the deer antlers enhance the patina of the white elephant table. Can’t you just picture all of them in your living room?"

Yes! I can! Please pick these up for me next time... I'll send you a check for the cost and postage... I've cleared a space next to my vintage Coca Cola Machine.
Wheee, Comments!

Leeandra - You are impressive, girl. Did you know that ladle-thing was part of a moonshine still or did you research it? Either way, good work. The dog with a hangover must have been popular. I've seen it other times, too.

Spotted Mind - OK, you can have the red anvil but you have to take the deer antlers and the elephant table too. They're a set, you know.

Leeandra - That's what my husband thought it was for, too, but that's not it. The vendor told us what it was and I forgot, but I see that someone farther down in the comments did guess it correctly. We can create our own game and call it Guess The Purpose of This Old Piece of Crap. It would be a huge hit!

Mary - The thing I love most about flea markets is that they're never the same experience twice (plus once in a while, you really do score a treasure!)

Bill S. - Of course - tire planters! I'm poking fun here, but you're right. You can stumble on some wonderful things at a flea market. Thanks for the sweet words. I appreciate your support. :)

littlewillie - I'm glad you got a chuckle out of it. Life's too short to not look for the humor in it.

Jen - Oh you definitely have to scan a picture of the eagle. As big as your backseat? That's a must-see for sure!
So much to comment on, where does one even start? Oh yeah, the sticky notes on the nipples! Good to see that it's a PG rated flea market. And the freaky sawing elf guy..he plugs in? What on earth does he do when he is connected to electricity? A horror movie in the making, for sure.
Lisa--I did actually know that. My great-grandfather made the stuff, plus I lived in Appalachia for a year. That piece is upside down, however.

I would guess that the caldron and possibly the milk can were also part of the setup.
Lea - I hear you. I met a lot of people as I was taking these pictures. The old couple who had the nude painting were especially funny. I expected they were going to be uptight but in reality, they were a hoot. They told me stories about all of the uptight who criticized them for displaying the painting.

Julie - The Depends weren't as bad as the giant Hershey bars another booth was selling. I swear, they were from 1974.

Deborah - Thank you!

Marcelle - I don't set the alarm. Alarms never make for a happy day.

Jess - I KNEW someone would want those record bowls! At only a dollar, how can you refuse? There's a design flaw though. The hole in the middle means that you can't put anything liquid or small in it.

Owl - I agree. Flea markets are a good time even if you don't buy anything.

Palindrome - Thank you! It's always nice to see you here.

Disco - Making the record bowls as party favors is actually a great idea. What did you use to melt them?
oooohhhh.....I love flea markets! There was a giant one about 30 mins from our house in NC and we'd go about once a month to peruse the aisles and aisles of "treasure" was a blast!
Emma - I love antiques, too. Collecting them doesn't make you a hoarder unless you have piles of them everywhere and can't function normally in your house. Collect away!

Silkstone - People sell the oddest things. I once saw a gerbil cage for sale. It still had the gerbil bedding (that shaved wood stuff) - and the gerbil poo - in it. Unbelievable! Thanks for stopping by and for saying such nice things. :)

Juliet - Yes, it's just another service I offer: attending rural flea markets so you don't have to. :) Thanks for playing along at home.

Sao Kay - Thank you! That elf is rather disturbing, isn't he?

Love1lee - Come on up! This particular flea market is every Saturday and Sunday from April 1 through Christmas.

Yuselof - Yes! You're correct! That's exactly what the vendor said that wooden contraption was used for. I'd forgotten until I read your comment. Now poor Leeandra can get some sleep.

Brenda - The next time you go to a flea market, take a look around for odd stuff. It's definitely out there. I think we overlook it when we're looking for the treasures (and treasures do not include that seductive zebra!)
Eva - Thank YOU for stopping by!

bluesurly - Ah, so the test tubes are for paintball! That makes perfect sense. I think next time I'll just take pictures of things I have no clue what they are and let everyone have fun identifying them.

Leeandra - Yes, Yuselof is correct. You're terrific for researching it, though. The next time I'm stumped with what a certain item is used for, I know who to ask. :)

Verbal - I'd forgotten about auctions! They're a whole 'nother story. I swear the auction house just boxes up everything they find in a house (Geritol tablets, half used tissue boxes, old hair nets) and sells it as a lot. I've gotten valuable antiques at auctions, but I've also gotten stuff that was pure trash. Still, if offered for a buck, those old hairnets can look awfully good.

Surly - Next time, I'll let you know. You would have loved the used bikini wax kit.

Waking - If the Depends freaks you out, I probably shouldn't tell you about the food products.

wschanz - Gomez and Morticia, huh? You probably would have loved the stuffed peacock that I saw there once.

Yakkygirl - OK, but you might have to arm wrestle Spotted_Mind for the anvil.

mamoore - Good grief! How did I miss that the Disturbing Elf guy is electric? Who in their right minds would plug that deranged muppet in?

Leeandra - Your grandfather made moonshine? How cool is that! Now you've made me want to play Guess the Gizmo with other antiques that they have there.

LandP - Thank you! I love quirky and interesting (thus the smiling clock) but some of the stuff people try to sell is just plain odd.

ricepaddie - I love them too. Flea markets are the most fun you can have walking around.
Freaky Troll is a tad upset that you didn't rescue her far flung family members... except for the big scary one.
I love these pics. There's nothing as fun as a good flea market, and this one looks as good as any I've seen. My favorite section is always Redneckistan; where else can I find tools custom stolen by some meth head for a quarter what I'd pay at Home Depot?
Deven - I thought about bringing Freaky's family home with me, but you know what they say: trolls at a flea market are there for a reason. (I think the big one might have an addiction to cat food. He smelled kinda fishy to me.)

Nana - And you get the bonus of being able to meet the actual meth head who stole them. Win-win!

Gary - It's so nice of you to want to help me out romantically, but your site offering tall and gorgeous men and women won't work for me. You see, I'm only attracted to the short, ugly ones. Tall and gorgeous is just too high-maintenance for me. Let me know if you find any that pick their nose and fart incessantly. Hawt!
Lisa you have outdone yourself - I haven't laughed so hard in a mighty long time. What an adventure!
Since I couldn't go, thank you for posting the pictures. You really did find the oddest things. I've been looking for a red anvil.
Dustbowldiva - I'm so glad you got a chuckle out of this. I was going to go back today to rescue Freaky's family but sadly, it's still monsoon weather here in the northeast.

latethink - I'm not surprised you've been looking for a red anvil. They're so versatile in home decorating.
Umbrella - You liked the painting? I would have pictured you as more of an antler kind of girl (kidding!)
The oven. I put them in a 150-200 degree oven (preheated) for 5-7 minutes, then mold them around a bowl to shape. You can also put an oven safe bowl in the oven and lay the record on top.
Well! Excellent, now I know what to do with all those useless LP's! Sundae/salad/soup bowls! Who needs Martha Stewart?

I don't know about the game of Twister--sounds like more fun than I've had at some weddings I've attended! And that wedding dress--it's price is probably right for the no pot to piss in crowd.

Rated, if belatedly.
Disco Lemonade - Thanks for the instructions on making the record bowls. It sounds like an easy, fun activity for a kids' party.

Shiral - It's so nice to see you! About the wedding dress...we went back to the flea market last weekend (to rescue Freaky's family) and it was gone. Someone must have bought it or maybe the bride changed her mind about selling it. The Eagles shirt and Twister were still there. To make the original ensemble really perfect, a shotgun would have been a nice touch, don't you think? Thanks for stopping by!