Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What Is THAT?

Well we've been plugging away at it all; we burned another pile of stuff last week, this time from the last part of that pile of wood. We've sorted some more tires to get out of here, hopefully this time really actually the last of the damned things, and are working to get a car taken out sometime very soon. I didn't get any pictures, though, as things are in-between and what with everything pulled out to sort it actually looks rather worse at the moment.

We spent some time tonight over in the shop. I know, that would not seem to be part of the area we picked for the March project; but given the inextricably tangled nature of the bits and stuff here, things need to be shuffled there before other things can be shuffled somewhere else, which, yes, is rather a pain, but it is part of the progress.

And in going through stuff in the shop (why yes, we filled some more bins for scrap, of course of course!) we found these mystery items:

The bigger two are like four inches in diameter for the round part (maybe seven or eight inches altogether including the spiky thing) and are made of some kind of metal. They hinge open a bit. Tara's best guess is that maybe they are some kind of spurs, for riding a horse? If so they're a particularly nasty kind for the poor horse, and I'd also think there'd be more straps, or places to attach straps.

I mean not that my father ever got anywhere near a horse, as far as I know. Though he always hated cows, or would at least rant about them on occasion. But the lack of horse experience, of course, means nothing at all about why he had them, or why he would have saved them. There is as ever no reason.

Any ideas?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Burning Times

So we've been plugging away at the burny stuff this past week; and we've managed to make another entire pile of wood disappear. Yay! And, go us! Though, really, go Tara! as she's the one who did the work.

Tara got down to the bottom of the woodpile towards the south; that just leaves one more pile of wood, which she claims might actually contain some usable stuff, though I have my doubts. And when I say the bottom, I mean down to the dirt and, of course, the ubiquitous New England rocks. Though, really, some of that wood was rotted enough it was hard to tell what was wood and what was dirt. Plywood is not normally moved with a shovel, is it?

At any rate, though, look at these glorious before and after pictures! First the panorama:

And then the view from the south:

It's getting there!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Burn Baby Burn

So Tara came by today and lit some stuff on fire. I didn't get pictures of that (well, let's face it, it wasn't all that exciting—basically it was just a camp fire), but I can show you folks the space left by the stuff that has, literally, gone up in smoke:

See that pile of stuff over there on the left in the first picture? See how it is not there in the second picture? O it's gone gone gone. Remember, burning something gets rid of it forever. And yes, that's a lesson a child of a hoarder can really take to heart.

So that's another step towards the March goals. So far so good!

Friday, March 4, 2011

March Plans

All right. Now maybe this is a bad idea; but I'm going to post about it anyway.

So, like I said, it's March now (I mean not like you didn't know), and the weather is showing signs of improving. And while we're still in the lion stage of things just yet, the usual rumor is that by the end of the month things will get rather lamb-like. Which I guess means gentle and soft (and perhaps itchy).

And while I know you can't count on the weather to cooperate, still, Tara has these grand plans for cleaning up the yard this month. Or rather, a specific section of the yard, the one out back that encompasses from by the downstairs garage over to the shed. In that area there are a couple (maybe three, depending on who's counting) cars, some tires, the of course requisite random junk, and a pile or three of anteaten wood.

I took some panoramas today, to document the before aspect of things. This is what it looks like by the downstairs garage (and no, the garage roof is not actually crunchy-broken in half like that):

And this is the part over by the shed:

Now, the reason I'm not sure I should post this is because I don't want to publicly lock myself into something. Like I said, weather here is going to be a major factor, not to mention that she and I do both work, albeit in freelance sorts of things with flexible schedules; also I know sometimes if I set goals and then don't meet them exactly as I wanted to I feel like a failure, even when I get pretty damned close. It's like the team that loses the World Series thinking they suck, when jeez you know they're right there at the top too, aren't they?

But Tara has this plan. Or 'plan,' I should say, as her 'plans' usually involve throwing herself at something with an enthusiasm that so bewilders the laws of physics that they momentarily suspend themselves in pure disbelief; honestly most of the time I just stand back. Well back. Cockamamie is a word that tends to come to mind around my sister.

The thing is they work. Well, so far, and knock on wood and all that, goodness. So, when she said today all the things she wanted to do this month, I was skeptical, as that's a lot to have on one plate; but if anyone can pull it off she can.

So yes, the goal for this month is to clean up all that in the pictures above, which also involves completing a stone wall, and, hopefully, renting a bobcat to move some dirt (and rocks, for the above-mentioned stone wall) around; but, like a lot of things in this place, it's not that simple, and there are all these interlocking things that will then also have to be dealt with, even though they are not strictly in this part of the yard. Like, for example, the fallen-down apple tree that is currently blocking said pile of rocks over by the shop; that will have to be hacked up first. Stuff like that. So we shall see.

I can't promise anything; but I think the impulse to record this, to document the process is outweighing my fear of pressure.

Wish us luck!

Today's Iron Run

Well, the decent (-ish, I suppose, meaning, cold but sunny) weather has inspired us to start back in on the yard these last couple of days. Now, I know, March in New England isn't exactly spring; hell, April in New England hardly qualifies some years. One year not too long ago I found myself heeling a bunch of bare-root roses into my dormant veggie garden the day after St. Patrick's Day (or the day after Liberalia for all you Roman Reconstructionists out there); of course first I had to shovel eight inches of snow out of the way. Why I've even seen snow on the lilac blooms, though that was rather a long time ago. So, I know to make no assumptions.

So, besides Tara burning a bunch of junk wood and brush, we managed to gather up another load of iron for a scrap run today, most of it coming from a rusty old rusted trailer that Tara improbably hacked up with her trusty Sawzall. (Don't worry, this is Massachusetts; she has insurance.) Here's the obligatory load of junk in Larry the Volvo picture:

You know, you'd think these would get old. But they don't. Well, not for me, anyway. I suppose it's because it is solid proof of progress 'round here.

So, the total today was another 740 pounds of scrap iron; that brings the overall total up to an even 27,000 pounds (13.5 tons) of iron removed since we've been keeping track (which is coming up on three years), and marks the thirty-first trip to the scrapyard.

Tara is beginning to wonder, but since to me the place doesn't really look all that different I'm quite sure that yes, there is still more. Of course.