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May 30, 2011


In an attempt to deal with the disappointing fact that a Teddy bear will probably run away with Potted’s container contest’s top prize (and I won’t), I went shopping. This is not a new tactic for me; buying something I really love can go a long way in making me forget something unpleasant. The venue, however, is relatively new, we’ve been there just one other time. An interesting spot, it’s contained inside the chain-linked end yard of a large building that houses an army surplus store. I’d been attracted by what seemed to be a growing accumulation of intriguing stuff in the yard, although I wasn’t sure what the stuff was exactly. After months of taking quick note as we whizzed past, we finally stopped and took a good look … and I loved what I saw. Getting into the yard required a little effort but it was worth it, there was lots to see; and after careful consideration I came away with a large metal lantern, a huge, hernia-inducing rusted steel chain, a ceramic garden stool in turquoise, and the feeling that I should check back often … this place was terrific! So, we returned today, got into the yard with no problem and met the proprietor: earnest architectural salvager, and all-round cool stuff hunter/gatherer, Stephen Penn. A terrific guy who obviously loves the hunt, he’s slowly turning the army surplus’s yard into a go-to place for unusual garden items. Today’s takeaways are above: A rusted old cactus sculpture; the end-ring of another massive chain, with two links; two interesting welded steel abstract art pieces; a scroll-y, drum stand; and my happy piece: an old rusted bingo caller’s contraption!


I saw the contraption from the street but thought it was a little hibachi grill or something … closer inspection revealed something much more complex. Missing now, the numbered balls would be loaded in the cage and rotated until one fell out and down the ramp. After being called out to expectant players, the ball would be placed in its corresponding opening at the top of the piece … once a winner had called out the magic word, (and their card had been checked by a vigilant bingo official), a yank on the red knob would cause the metal rods holding the called-out balls in place to push back, allowing them all to fall at once and roll back into the cage for the next game … simple, and pretty ingenious. I tried to find a similar machine online but was unsuccessful to find either it or the Capitol company … like most things, bingo machines are computerized now. Anyway, Penn sold it to me for a terrific price and I love this thing! Paul and I both enjoyed meeting Penn, and he promised more goodness soon, including huge shipments of flagstone pavers and used bricks. Current yard stock includes lots of nicely patinated planters and pots in various sizes, as well as garden furniture, some succulents and cacti, and architectural elements like doors and windows. I’d love to give you the name of Penn’s business but I’m not sure it’s got one yet. Penn’s yard is located at J&T Military Surplus, 6009 Jurupa Ave., Riverside CA, 92504.  Contact him directly at California Estate Sale, 951 286 8280; or

Losing a planted container contest but finding a rusty ol’ vintage bingo machine? Winning!

11 Comments leave one →
  1. rosenatti permalink
    May 30, 2011 11:37 pm

    I am. so. jealous.

    • reubix1 permalink*
      May 31, 2011 12:51 am

      Isn’t it the best bingo machine ever?!

  2. May 31, 2011 7:48 am

    You’re simply the best, as Tina said.

    • reubix1 permalink*
      May 31, 2011 12:07 pm

      Miss Turner, I presume? … Thanks, Delphine

  3. May 31, 2011 10:50 pm

    Wonderful finds! When I saw the first photo it looked just like a sculptural representation of a sewing machine on a table, complete with sewing chair and ummm…cactus-shaped thread holder. Sooper cool!

    • reubix1 permalink*
      June 1, 2011 2:46 am

      Hah… in the first photo an old sewing machine stand’s legs are propping everything up… good call!

  4. June 1, 2011 3:18 pm

    you ARE a winner!! total SCORE! i would do (almost) anything for that rusty cactus! as for the potted contest, you had my vote. next time!

    • reubix1 permalink*
      June 1, 2011 3:56 pm

      Aw, thanks… yup, I love all my new junk!

  5. stephen penn permalink
    July 7, 2011 8:59 am


    • reubix1 permalink*
      July 7, 2011 12:32 pm

      Hey, Steve … I gotta stop by again soon and see what’s new


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