Sepia Saturday - Ducks and Donkey

Donkey with my sister and cousin
circa 1962
When I think of heirlooms it's jewelry or a silver tea set, or antique furniture passed down through the generations. Heirlooms in our family are funny ones. We have ducks and a donkey. They are not the ducks and donkey one would think. These are cement ducks and donkey. Yes, cement...

My grandmother had a small "get away" in the woods of Alton, New Hampshire. She spent days and weeks there in the spring, summer, and fall. She especially loved and thrived having family around.

She had beautiful gardens around the property and tended them with the utmost care. She took pride in her plants and spent many hours fertilizing, pruning and weeding.

Donkey circa 2010
She had two very special garden ornaments which she cared for just as meticulously. They were the ducks and a donkey you see in these photos.

They were always neatly painted and cleaned every spring and they stayed outside till late fall. They were taken in every winter into the garage for safe keeping. Guess who had to carry them in? Have you ever tried to carry a cement donkey? My advice is try not to get involved.

We have countless photos of several generations of children sitting on Donkey's back. I never sat there. Being an 8 year old I was too proud to sit on a tiny little donkey like that.

Ducks circa 1965
Gram alway's had her prize geraniums planted in Donkey's cart. She would watch over them watering them as they needed.

The ducks always took center stage in front of her residence. They were arranged as though they were in a parade with mother duck leading. Sometimes us kids would rearrange them just to tease my grandmother. She took that all in good stride. When we returned to Alton they were all back in place in the "parade."

Donkey always took his place between an old granite fountain pool and her rose trellis. Roses were another one of her passions.
Ducks circa 2010

After "Gram" passed on in 2001 her belongings where divided up between us grandchildren. Donkey and the ducks were given a new home as well. The ducks reside today just a few hundred feet from were they once "paraded," at another residence owned by my cousin. Donkey however took a longer trip and now resides at my sister's home just south of the (New Hampshire) border. All are very happy and well cared for.

One more thing. Donkey is not carried to shelter every winter like he once was. To save our backs he is ceremoniously covered and secured with a blue tarp to protect him from the elements. :)

Ride your donkey or parade your ducks to Sepia Saturday by clicking here.

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so sweetly nostalgic, i love that.

it's nice a autumny around here, i love that too!
Donkey reminds me of the stone planters we see coming in from Mexico around here. Very cute!
Christine H. said…
These are great heirlooms - really. It's especially wonderful that you have them in photos throughout the years.
Marilyn & Jeff said…
Wonderful memories and photos - they are family treasures holding as many stories as they do.
Nancy said…
Your grandmother is probably really pleased that someone took over the care of the donkey and ducks. I especially like the donkey and cart, laden with flowers. I like your blog header and background, too. Beautifully autumny.
Unknown said…
How wonderful that they have survived. Wonderful.
Alan Burnett said…
The very best kind of heirlooms - much more meaningful than necklaces and rings. And even if they are made of concrete, they have still managed to soak up so much history.
Alan Burnett said…
The very best kind of heirlooms - much more meaningful than necklaces and rings. And even if they are made of concrete, they have still managed to soak up so much history.
urban muser said…
i love that you still have these items. cool photos.
MuseSwings said…
What wonderful family heirlooms you have! I can't think of a better place to be able to remember other generations than in a garden!
tarp sounds like a good alternative, as i have a poor back myself. the fact that you reset the ducks into another sequence is too funny!! wish i could have seen your grandma's face as she looked outside and noticed your deed...
PattyF said…
Great piece of nosatalgia! Donkey and ducks are the kinds of heirlooms that have far more than monetary value. How wonderful that they live on to delight other members of the family.
Unknown said…
well donkey has a good home, but I'd hoped you had him. This reminds me I have my own cememnt and other lawn characters to haul in for the winter soon and several need repainting which I realized last year and did ot do. Mine are gnomes and angels and not that heavy! Interesting post...nice that you have the photos to go with the story.
L. D. said…
I love them. I just inherited my mom's cement swan. Oh yes it too is so heavy. We do what we can to hold on to the past.

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