Roller coaster

What a roller coaster of a day.

I started the morning with a really fun interview for a story I am working on at the office. I got some decent photos and had a lot of fun talking to my sources and playing reporter again. (After they promoted me to assistant editor for my office last summer, my reporting duties ended, but one of the other zones is a bit short-handed at the moment, so I’m throwing together an extra story to help the editor over there.)

Somebody from Sapulpa called and wanted a couple of copies of a back issue of our section. I was in the mood for a stuffed tomato from Al’s Route 66 Cafe anyway, and I hadn’t poked my head in on that part of our coverage area lately, so I just took the papers over there on my lunch hour.

On the way back, I was coming down old 66 when I saw a bluebird alight on a fencepost. It was stunning — intense blue feathers on its back and wings, with bright coral feathers on its underside. Just breathtaking.

After lunch, I went to do another interview, which started off a little slow but ended up being a lot of fun once the source settled in and got comfortable with me.

Everything was great until this source divulged to me that one of my all-time favorite Route 66 businesses, the Country Store on 11th Street, was about to close.

I was just heartbroken. Once I finished my interview, I headed over there to see what was going on. I posted something about it on Ron’s blog; the upshot is that the store could close at any moment, and if you want to have the slightest chance of saving it, you’d better get in there NOW and buy as much stuff as you can afford. Take cash or your checkbook, because they’ve disconnected the phone line, so they can’t take credit cards any more.

I blew $188 in the span of about 15 minutes. I’ve spent more money in a shorter amount of time, but only once, and that incident involved a cantankerous but utterly adorable Arabian gelding.

If there is good news in of all this, it’s that I now have just about all the seeds I need for this year’s garden, enough flower bulbs to turn my back yard into a wild profusion of color (eight different kinds of tulips, two kinds of daffodils, four kinds of crocus, grape hyacinth, and allium), and I picked up a beautiful birdfeeder to put at the center of my labyrinth. I also bought out the rest of Bill’s black striped sunflower seeds, which I will feed to the cardinals (I have seen several pairs in my yard in the past couple of weeks), and I got a bar of lye soap and a pretty metal hook for hanging baskets of plants.

If the Country Store closes, I’ll have to figure out where to buy all the odds and ends that I’m going to need for my garden. I can probably find a lot of it at the Farmer’s Feed Store in Sapulpa, and the Tomato Man and Li’l Sprouts should have the rest. But it just won’t feel like spring in Tulsa without a trip to see Bill and Kathey.

One more reason to shop indie while you can.


5 thoughts on “Roller coaster”

  1. Hi! You seem to know nurseries fairly well. My parents actually bought the building which used to house The Country Store. While we’ve been cleaning up the building in preparation for our restaurant supply store, we’ve averaged about 8-10 people a day coming by looking for the Country Store. Unfortunately, I know nothing about gardening, rancing, or anything similar, so I have no idea where to suggest they go.

    Do you know of any store similar to the Country Store that are fairly close to that location? I’d love to be able to answer people with more than just “Sorry, I don’t know.”

  2. Here’s more than you ever wanted to know:

    There is nowhere on earth like the Country Store, which is why it broke my heart to see it close. No more one-stop shopping. But …

    If they need a good basic feed store, send them to Booster Feed Mill, up on Admiral Place (I think between Yale and Sheridan on Admiral, but don’t quote me on that). They can get animal feed and a few dog grooming tools, feed scoops, and that sort of thing up there, and it’s not terribly far away.

    If they need more animal equipment, feed, baby chicks, rabbits, or plants, send them east on 11th to Lee’s Feed, which is waaaaaaay out there, going toward Catoosa.

    If they need tomato plants, send them to the Tomato Man, out on West 81st Street. (He is only open for about a month each year — from tax day to mid-May — but that’s because he only sells plants when it’s time to put them in the garden, and he knows what he’s doing.) His Web site has directions and a map.

    If they need unusual garden plants, send them to Grumpy’s Garden, at 15th Street and Owasso Avenue (near Cherry Street in midtown). She sells a lot of herbs and flowers and things. She’s probably a good place to send people in general, as she’s relatively close and knows where to find things if she doesn’t have them.

    If they need the closest approximation to the Country Store, send them to Farmer’s Feed in Sapulpa. It’s a bit of a drive from where you are, but well worth it — the people are friendly and knowledgeable, they have a good selection of farming and ranching products, and they sell the same basic type of stuff as the Country Store, although they do NOT have a greenhouse.

    If they need a large selection of plants, send them down to Southwood Nursery, at 91st and Riverside.

    Unfortunately, none of those places is really very close to the Country Store, but that kind of tells you the story — the Country Store closed, in large part, because that end of 11th Street isn’t in the country any more. Yuppies and chemlawn have spread across farms like kudzu and basically choked out the demand for feed stores in Tulsa, y’know?

    Oh, one more: If they need striking tools, lawn tools, or that sort of thing, send them to Swinney’s Hardware, at Second and Lewis, or to Best Hardware (in Brookside, north of Weber’s Root Beer) or Cullison Hardware (on north Peoria in Turley, going toward Sperry).

    I’ve yet to find a source for reasonably priced pond plants.

    Glad to hear the building is going to stand and you’re willing to help the folks who are looking for places to find things for their gardens and farms. Still wish I’d had the money to buy the building and bring back the Country Store in an all-organic, slightly more hippy-dippy context. It was one of the reasons I moved to Tulsa, and it makes me sad to face a growing season without it.

    As soon as I figure out where Bill Sivadon ended up, I’ll post something so people can find him and continue to benefit from his encyclopedic knowledge of gardening and farming and just generally getting stuff done.

  3. Bill Sivadon stopped by where the Country Store used to be a few weeks ago to visit and see the changes we’ve made to gear the building toward restaurant and kitchen supplies. He told me he’s now the manager of the Dollar General in Mounds and to feel free to let people know they can find him there.

  4. Thanks for the update! I’d heard that Bill was at the Dollar General but hadn’t had a chance to pop in and visit yet. I’m hoping to get down there this summer to see how he’s doing.

  5. Hey Emily,

    Thanks for the kind words about my family and your love for The Country Store. I was sad to see Dad lose the store and know that he has a deep desire to see both people and their gardens bloom. Since moving to Texas I have yet to take the time to go over to see the building. I am the only one of the family who hasn’t. I have way too many memories of that old building having grown up there, worked there and made many friends along the way so i don’t want to see any other name or color on that building.

    Once again, thanks for being a part of something that meant so much to our family. Also, feel free to swing by and see Dad at the Dollar General, I’m sure he’d get a kickout of it.


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