The butchering was a lot of work, and by the time I was around 6 or 7, the tradition ended. Years later my dad pulled the black pot out of one of our sheds, added some dirt and put some flowers in it.
Knowing my love for it, my parents gave me the kettle about nine years ago. My husband calls it my cauldron, and when we first acquired it, my sister and I did indeed dress up as witches for Halloween, got some dry ice and set up for trick-or-treaters in the driveway.
The following spring I planted flowers in it, adding a plastic pot to the top to give it levels. Over the years, though always beautifully filled with colorful blooms, it had gotten even more rusty, and it was starting to have some drainage issues.
Having time on my hands this spring and concerned that it might rust out, I decided to give it a face-lift. After completely emptying it, I first scrubbed it down with soap and water. I then used a sander attachment for a cordless drill to remove the worst of the rust. I followed that with another wipe down. I bought two cans of Rust-Oleum black spray paint — then went back to the store to buy three more cans because that wasn’t nearly enough to cover the pot and its stand.
A week later, my husband and I put it back in place in our front yard landscaping. We leveled it, gave it better drainage, and topped it with a new plastic teal planter. It’s filled with trailing, purple and white petunias, a cranberry-colored vinca and deep-rose alyssum. Fairies have temporarily taken up residence until the flowers fill out more.