Thursday, November 29, 2012

Another Tipping Point

I don't know if you readers remember, but Tara has made it a goal to clear out the area by the shop before the first snowfall. Now, it snowed yesterday but didn't stick past overnight, so we'll assume the clock is still running.

As part of that plan, lately she's been attacking the bit right against the north boundary of the property, up against a tumbled-down old stone wall. There were some bits of cars there; I think I counted them as half cars in the total number in the yard, I'm not sure now.

At any rate, this is what Tara managed to come-a-long up onto the trailer a few days ago:

(Pictures by Tara.)

I honestly can't identify that. I think it's a chunk of Citroën DS, but it might be a piece of a Saab Sonett. Well, whatever it was, it was a damned heavy rusty hunk of rusty rust.

Tara had thrown some other peeled-off jagged bits into the Bus; with that and some generators off we went to the scrapyard. Lovely, isn't it?

Though the Bus wasn't too pleased about the heavy load, still we made it there without incident. Now that doesn't seem worth mentioning, does it? Oh, but it is. And right about now you'd be correct to be getting a faint sense of foreboding.

But anyway first we went to the precious metals warehouse-thing where they took the generators off our hands; it was a different guy there this time, though, one I didn't recognize. He gave us our receipt and then we drove around back.

Where we emptied the bus just fine; but then there was the matter of getting the huge hunk of former European car off the trailer.

Tara of course couldn't budge it on her own; she'd used the come-a-long to get it there in the first place (and then left it there because it was holding the thing on the trailer) but that obviously wouldn't work the other way. So we asked the guy in the Claw.

But alas! The Claw actually was not up to the task; it tried to grab on but couldn't get a good grip (or the guy operating it wasn't that good at it; he gave up pretty easily, I thought). So he tried the magnet instead.

Maybe he was new there, maybe it was just too odd a shape, I don't know. But he had a hard time picking it up with the magnet too; eventually he sort of half picked it up and then slid it off the end.

Yes, well. The trailer was still attached to the trailer hitch. Or it had been.

Granted, the hitch was sort of a homemade jury-rigged thing; I was always worried about how it attached to the Bus proper (I have no idea what there is left of the Bus under there) but apparently I should have been worrying about the construction of the trailer hitch itself.

Because with that much weight on the back end of it, the weld came apart.

As for the trailer itself the guy managed to mangle the fenders on it and pull the plywood up. I mean fair enough, it wasn't the sturdiest trailer on the planet, but still. The guy looked like he felt kind of bad, but not bad enough to actually do anything about it.

When we got to the front and told the guy there, he couldn't help us either. Tara was sure there must have been somebody there with a welder; but no. They just kind of shrugged. No, I'm not personally pleased with that. They broke it, they should fix it.

But at the time there wasn't much to do about it. The main concern was how would we get the trailer home, so the whole thing could get fixed?

Well, the bar serving as bumper that was actually part of the hitch was still there; and Tara managed to chain the thing up without a ball. And so we went home, somewhat less than legally, with frequent stops to check that the thing wasn't coming off. We made it, just fine, though we were plenty nervous. Tara got this picture later:

Yeeaaaaah, don't know about that. I mean it got home with us, but that was probably pure luck.

Tara has some ideas about fixing it, and making it much stronger this time; she also said, and I suppose she is right, that it broke sort of at a good time. I'm not sure it was the best time myself--that would probably have been at home, with nothing on it--but at least it wasn't on the way there. Because that could have been very bad indeed.

But anyway that area over by the north wall is slowly getting cleaned up. I looked around at all the photos I'd taken that were supposed to serve as 'befores', but none quite matched up. I had to make do with this:

It's pretty close. And here's the after, or the middle, since there are still things over there that need to go:

The posts will have to come out; and you can see that we still haven't figured out how to get rid of that stack of concrete blocks. Nobody seems to want the damned things.

So then. We managed to get rid of some assorted 'precious' metals (including everyone's favorite, irony aluminum) and another 1300 pounds of #1 iron. And so that tips us over past the 40,000 mark to 40,100 pounds, or 20.05 tons removed on our forty-seventh trip to the place. Twenty tons. All of it removed one piece at a time.

Thanks, Dad.

Friday, November 9, 2012


I was doing something work-related on the Mac today, moving things around and cleaning up the virtual desktop in preparation for something else, and this is what I saw when I attempted to empty the trash:

For some weird, glitchy, and sublimely inspired reason my Mac decided to use the picture of the trailer full of junk from the other day instead of the usual Trash icon, which I've never seen it do. And there it was, asking me to permanently throw away all this accumulated junk with the click of a mouse.

O! If only it were that simple.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Tetanus Burger Combo Platter

Well on Monday it was time, once again, to saddle up the old Bus and git us to the scrapyard with another load of rusty hunks of rusty rust. This time it was a trailerful of the hideous remains of I think a Saab Sonett; although maybe it was a Citroën bit, I don't really know. It's a bit hard to tell once you get down to the, well, rust tacks I guess.

So Tara had loaded it up on the really very handy trailer and attempted to bungee it down along with some other jagged bits and I think some kind of axle something-or-other; with that and some assorted other things in the Bus itself, off we went:

(Pictures by Tara, except for the last one, which is by me.)

Now maybe I just have a tendency towards animism, but I swear when we got there and drove around back this time I could feel the Bus getting nervous. Somewhere deep in its little metal Soul it was screaming in terror that it, too, would be left there with the rotting and crushed bodies of so many other cars.

Or maybe that was just my (vivid) imagination; though the smell there that day certainly didn't help. I don't know quite what it was, whether it was foul rusty oily mud, fumes from the smelter, or an actual corpse (or ten) of dead and rotting deer in the nearby woods, but something smelled horrible. It was like paper-mill awful, if you've ever had the misfortune to smell one of those (Savannah, Georgia, I'm looking at you). It was really truly ghastly, and I was worried it would cling to my clothes. (It didn't, and I am very grateful.)

So holding our noses we drove around to the towering pile of rusty hunks of rusty rust, which is always different, and always huge, and never seems to go down very much, and unloaded the Bus. But then we got to the car piece on the trailer. We were standing there, trying to figure out an angle of attack, when one of the guys there asked if we wanted him to do it. The guy with THE CLAW.

Several years ago now we got a new septic system installed; and one thing I learned from the experience is that dudes with heavy equipment are always looking for excuses to use them. The guy digging the septic system asked us after he'd finished digging the GIANT HOLE in my backyard if there was anything else we'd like him to move. We had him bury a very large tree trunk along the stone wall, pick out some rocks, and anything else we could think of and he still came back for more. It's like the best toy ever and they just can't stop.

So when CLAW-guy asked we said Oh yes, thank you. And he got in the thing and one



up it went in the claw and off the trailer.

All told, though, it wasn't all that heavy; and so Monday's total only came to another eight hundred pounds even. Still that brings our total up to 38,800 pounds of iron removed since we've been keeping track (remember, there was plenty of iron that we just brought straight to the dump back in the day, too) or 19.4 tons. And it was our forty-sixth trip, which is absolutely ridiculous. We'll make fifty, easily, I know. Because, yeah, hey guess what, there is still more.

We generally take the back roads to the scrapyard, especially in the Bus, and being children of hoarders who now have a name for it, we do of course notice other hoarded houses along the way. There are at least three of them I can think of off the top of my head, maybe more, along that particular route.

One broken-down looking old house had piles and piles of Godsknow what covered with tarps in the yard; it almost looked like someone was preparing for a yard sale, but we knew that wasn't really true. And out in the driveway was an older guy, the hoarder himself I could just tell. He was standing by his car (with a stars-and-bars license plate), with the trunk open, like he'd just acquired some more junk. Though we were driving past I got a good look at him and the smug bastard look on his face. And I knew he was a hoarder.

I reflexively flipped him the bird while he watched us go by. We were just coming back from yet another goddamned trip to the scrapyard cleaning up after my hoarder asshole father, and to see that look on his face was just too much. Because I know what that asshole's family are going through living with him.

Anyway. I don't know how Tara's plan of getting that area by the shop cleared out before the first snowfall is going to go, as that's a Hel of a nor'easter pelting us out there; so far, though, it looks like it's just rain. Who knows what we'll wake up to, though. I've seen pictures of other places that got snow from this same storm.

And I guess there's just something about this nasty cold storm that gets the 'hunker down' instinct going, because this is what greeted me in the living room this evening:

That, my friends, is a five cat pile-up, with a sixth on top. It's been a while since I've mentioned the cats around here; they are doing well, though I've come in for rather a lot of schlepping giant bags of chow and tubs of litter. On the top is old Maude, who's been here forever; on the couch, left to right, are, (the back end of) Rory, Ratty, Danny, Aleister Meowley, and Zeffie, or Madamoiselle Zéphirine Chatonne-Gris, who ended up staying when the person who said she would give her a home flaked out on us. (Thanks; I appreciate that, really.) You can see, also, that Ratty is still living up to his name. Oh Ratty. Never change.

Friday, November 2, 2012

You're not my father! That's impossible!

Growing up in the 80's recession, we had lots of hand-me-down toys,  toys from the dump, but rarely ever any current must-have toys such as Star Wars action figures. 

I'm sure we would have loved Star Wars figures,  with us being pretty much that perfect age (I was 6 when the first movie came out).     I don't think we were disallowed toys like this on matter of principle but I guess collecting Star Wars figures could get expensive, as I seem to recall them being like $3 each back when they were new.   (I do recall having a C3PO but that was it)

Of course, some years later I guess our hoarder dad saw these trays at the dump and thought they made ideal screw-sorting out trays!  Add to that the insult that 70's/80's Star Wars figures are much sought after these days, so stumbling across these empty cubbies with their tantalizing labels of what's not inside of them.. well it's like finding the empty box to something really cool missing from your childhood and inside is a bunch of dirt and rust, not that toy you wished was inside.

Makes we want to clean out these trays and spend $800 on ebay finding all the guys that go in these trays, just to recapture that lost bit of denied childhood.

"Obi-wan told me enough..  He told me you killed my father!

No.. I am your father!

NoooOOOoooOOOO! "

Yikes.. Imagine if Vader was a hoarder on top of being Dark Lord of the Sith.


Thursday, October 25, 2012


Well this past Sunday we did another VW swap meet; we were worried that it maybe wouldn't be all that big, as it was a 'first annual' affair; but when we got there we were pleasantly surprised (as were the people who set it up, who were walking around with dazed smiles muttering that they couldn't believe how many people actually showed up); however, getting there, well, that was another matter entirely.

Given that it was more than a hundred miles away, and was slated to begin at nine a.m., which seriously what the hell people, we got a very early start, leaving at seven. Trust me, that's early for us, yikes. I would like to sing the praises now, if I may, of the dark-chocolate spiked Coffee Coolatta.

We took the Bus, of course, fully laden with the usual assortment of old parts and such; and it was okay for a while there, even though it was obviously pretty heavily packed. But within the last thirty or so miles it was clear that the thing was not happy at all.

It was skipping somewhat and backfiring a little pretty much constantly, and had very little power going up the hills; we were on the highway, too, probably not the best of decisions, and entering hilly territory to the north as it was. Finally Tara pulled in to one of the giant state-run liquor stores (open on Sunday!) to have a look, but didn't see anything obviously screwy. So we kept going, since if you're going to break down in your weird old car it's not a bad idea to do it at a weird old car show.

We did make it, though Tara was sweating a bit; me, I've got AAA and know I'm not going to die, though it's never much fun to deal with a panicky Tara. We pulled into the grassy field into a likely spot for vending, and Tara immediately got out and said HELP.

Well, it didn't take long to find someone who knew what was most likely going on; Tara is a decent mechanic, yes, but old VWs aren't actually her specialty. Within a few minutes a lovely man named Paul had his head under the back lid and was in the process of gapping the points with some jerry-rigged tool.

A jerry-rigged tool which worked like a charm; Tara took it for a spin after he'd finished, and declared it pretty much a new engine when she returned. Paul got his pick of old parts in thanks.

Another guy there (I don't remember his name I'm afraid) then actually gave us a new set of points, saying we should always have a set handy.

Now, maybe it was just a damsel-in-distress sort of thing, but I'll tell you my faith in humanity got a bit of a polish on Sunday. They were complete strangers, and immediately took care of us and made sure we were okay. Which is really very nice, and I am grateful.

We then set up, and though there weren't really all that many people there compared to the big show we do, still, people started buying stuff, their eyes getting all big when they saw all the milk crates of stuff.

Here's the spread:

(Pictures by Tara.)

And no, that's not our dog. Her name (according to her collar anyway) was Samantha, and she was an old thing that decided to adopt us, flopping down at my feet while I was sitting there minding my own business. I'm not sure of her motivations; we had no food, and I'm frankly not a dog person myself (you may have guessed by now I am in fact very much a cat person); maybe it was the combined total of the scents of fourteen cats between Tara and me that attracted her, I don't know. But she was mellow, and good-natured, though she kept trying to get in the Bus and go home with us. Here's a better picture of her:

It was a lovely autumn day, sunny and not too cool; and all told we did all right. Having started early it also ended early, which was fine by us as we liked the idea of getting home in daylight. So after a time we packed it all up again, and no, though we sold some stuff, again, the amount of stuff we had didn't look to have gone down even a little bit.

We were driving along a stretch of I think route sixteen, going south in such a way that the late afternoon sun was exactly in our eyes, when the acceleration suddenly stuck ON.

Within seconds Tara 1) pulled the gas pedal up (didn't help) 2) stood on the brake and clutch both while the engine revved ridiculously high 3) turned the engine off altogether and coasted into a parking lot and 4) jumped out of the car freaking out and swearing, directing her ire at one 'Mr. Sun' which now I know she'd just had a bit of a scare (me too) but was funny as hell. Like it was the sun's fault, and like he's a Mister.

When she got done swearing she went to have a look at the engine to see if she could see what was going on.

She could. It was in fact pretty obvious: the spring on the carburetor had broken.

Now. Lucky lucky us. If you are going to break down in a weird old car, it is really exceptionally helpful to have said weird old car packed full of the proper weird old car parts.

Within a minute she'd found a matching carburetor and robbed the spring off of that one; we set off again and everything was fine, and we got home without further mishap, which was fine by me, and I'm quite sure fine by Tara too.

I think that's it for the car show season, unless I am much mistaken; Tara now has this plan to clear out a section of the yard over by the shop before the first snowfall. New England weather being what it is, we'll see how that goes. But that is next.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

VW Show

Well, I never said I wasn't a procrastinator. Almost two weeks ago now we hied off to the annual old Volkswagen show up by the City. The weather wasn't bad or anything; though it was cloudy and a little chilly, it was definitely preferable to last year's ninety-degree-plus temperatures. Though mornings and me are probably always going to be incompatible.

Oh, speaking of incompatible: the new Blogger interface and my old Mac browser definitely fall under that heading, alas. I've had to figure out a workaround, but I've managed, though it involves, shudder, a goddamned PC. Oh Blogger. I'm beginning to hate you. Though not enough to switch to Wordpress.

Anyhoo. There we were again at the VW show with the ratty old Bus; and, once again, as soon as we started pulling stuff out of the Bus the insane hordes, I mean, old Volkswagen enthusiasts, swarmed over and started throwing money at us. The very first thing, actually, out of the Bus was a great big interior panel from I think another Bus, and as Tara was pulling it out and grumbling about how awkward the damned thing was to haul from show to show someone made an offer. It didn't even touch the ground.

I did most of the schlepping, as Tara had broken her foot. Now, if I were a cannier sort I'd probably have called Tara first and asked her How much is my silence worth to ya? but I'll tell you how she did it anyway for free, because that's what big sisters are for. She broke it go-go dancing on a table in a swim-up bar in eight-inch heels. In Jamaica. Sounds unbelievable, doesn't it? Well, it's up to you to judge whether I could make that up or not.

Anyway the VW show was considerably less exciting, even with Tara on a bit of Vicodin, which if I'm remembering correctly was what Greg House was addicted to.

So all these people came over and chatted about Volkswagens while I gritted my teeth and tried to be polite; I guess I faked it pretty well as they didn't stop buying things. Here's the spread. I swear, even though we sell stuff, and even though at the end of every show we toss a couple of boxes because we've consolidated the rest of the stuff, it never looks like any less:

So they bought a bit of stuff and we did pretty well, though not as well as that one crazy year. And we have another show, though it's a little one, on Sunday, so we'll see how that one goes. We also got plenty of requests for other stuff that we have but didn't bring with us, and sold I think a bumper or two in the week following; so it's all right. But it's a bit tiring. I'm kind of done with this Volkswagen stuff, honestly.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Uh Huh

There has been a bit of an unofficial hiatus here at Tetanus Burger; let's blame the hotter-than-usual summer. Trust me, hauling hunks of rusty rust in the heat and humidity is no fun. So there's that; there is also, however, the little matter of Larry the Volvo station waggon's clutch.

You may remember that sometime last year the clutch plates gave out and had to be replaced with brand new ones, which Tara did; however, it wasn't as if we suddenly stopped abusing poor Larry and his life became all ice cream and daisies. To be specific, I'm thinking of the time somebody whose name rhymes with Sara hauled out one very reluctant VW Bug. Understandable, when you think about it, that Bug's reluctance; it was headed for the gallows, after all. But Larry didn't do too well either; if I'm remembering correctly there were clouds of black smoke involved.

And as far as the Bus goes, well, Tara put the camper kit back in and didn't really want to start throwing horrible hideous rusty things in there and mess it up. (She can get house proud sometimes, our Tara.)

So she came up with a solution, though it took a while to figure out. That solution was a trailer.

And lo and behold it's rather easier to shove heavy iron things onto something that can actually tip so the floor is at ground level; and yesterday Tara managed to get a really heavy engine on the thing (another Triumph one, I think) without my even knowing she'd done it till afterwards. And with a couple of other bits (a Bug front axle, I think) and some rusty jagged things Sawzalled off a Saab, we were ready to go today.

Sidenote: two things one does not want to hear together are the sound of a Sawzall abruptly stopping and the words Ow ow ow ow ow! Now, okay, if something truly ghastly had taken place I imagine we'd be talking inchoate screaming and a lot of gushing blood, and probably some post-traumatic stress disorder therapy for the both of us sometime down the line. Luckily (though I suppose Tara was still none too happy about it) she'd just banged her finger.

Here are the required photos of the load, this time both the trailer and the smaller bits in the back of the bus, on, of course, a protective tarp:

Sorry that second one's so blurry.

So off we went to the junkyard, though it was slow going because it's an old VW Bus, and on the way Tara told me about some old videotape she'd found and popped in which had some 80s television somewhere in there, including a bit of Alive From Off-Center and some pop videos. Then she started talking about a song she heard on it, but I didn't remember it until she started humming the synth riff. It was this atrocious thing:

You're welcome. I lived through the 80s and hated pretty much every thing that was coming out then, retreating for my own sanity into Led Zeppelin and Cream and the Beatles; you know, things that had some kind of integrity and melody and stuff. Of course I know now there was some decent stuff back then, like say XTC, but damned if I knew about it at the time. O it was a sad, sad, time to be in high school.

So with that song in our heads, which, incidentally, is so annoyingly catchy that no amount of concentrating on something decent like D world destruction/ O-ver an overture/ N do I need/ apostrophe T need this torture? can drive out oh my god WHY we got ourselves to the scrapyard and all that usual stuff, though it was a little tricky unloading it since I had only been able to find three gloves. I'm pretty sure most of them got left in Larry, who is at Tara's waiting to be fixed.

So then we got to add 780 pounds, not a real big load but good enough, to our total of iron hauled away. It was our forty-fifth trip to the scrapyard, and got us up to an even 38,000 pounds, or 19 tons of iron taken away from the property. Well, that we have receipts for.

There is another Bug waiting to go; Tara moved it out while I was away for a week, but it's been held up because the local people were waiting for a part for their ramp truck. So either that is next, or it will be another scrap run, now that the trailer has passed its test.

Because, guess what, there's still more.

Oh and again, You're welcome.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Oh my darling Rusty. How I missed you. But like they say absence just makes the heart grow fonder (actually I think the psychological term might be intermittent reinforcement.)

So today our steadfast Rusty Hunk showed up to take away another rusty hunk (of rusty rust), this time one of the old, much-loathed Volkswagen Bugs, this one being especially hated by me because I used to actually drive the damned thing. Oh, the fond memories of cruising along well under the speed limit while everyone else swooshed by me since if you tried to go fifty in it the steering wheel would shudder horribly and it would feel like it was about to break apart like the Enterprise at Warp Eleven (She canna take any more Capt'n!!!)

Oh did I say fond? Actually I meant that other four-letter word that begins with an F.

Here's the damned thing, after we dragged it out from behind the shop. It took quite a bit of abusing Larry the Volvo station waggon to get it there to where the ramp truck could reach it, but that was as good as it was going to get. You can probably make out the skid/drag/burn marks in the background (the latter made by Larry as he repeatedly spun out, as he has just an atrocious lack of traction):

(Pictures taken today by Tara.)

It was yellow, once upon a time, though it's hard to tell now what with all the greeny Xanthoparmelia lichens on it. Yes, it's been sitting there that long.

As we were dragging it out I was the one chosen to sit in it and attempt to steer. For some reason though I wasn't thinking, though I should have known; for as I placed my foot upon the floor, lo! the rust parted and it went right through to the ground beneath.

When José came by with the ramp truck today he gave it the usual look, but seemed resigned to taking it. Here he is doing I'm not quite sure what, probably trying to find something solid to attach a chain to:

And here it is going away, hurrah!

When we got to the junkyard though the big scale was broken so they had to guess; they said something like a ton. If we'd gotten rid of it last week we might have made a bit more, as the price of iron crashed this week, so we didn't make anywhere near as much as usual. But that's okay. The thing is out of my yard, and one just can't put a price on the psychological benefits.

Here's a before, from last summer or autumn I think:

And today's after:

And so we are now at fifteen junk cars out of here, with eleven to go. Two more and we'll be in the single digits, which, really, I don't think I could have even imagined a few years ago. But it looks like it's happening.

That's nothing short of a miracle.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Another Event

Another Sunday, another Volkswagen event. This one was a good hundred miles away; and if you think O pish, tosh! That's not far at all! do please keep in mind we went in the old raggedy Bus. It was a loooooong trip, let me assure you.

But at least it wasn't making that grindy noise in the back any more, as Tara finally got around to replacing the (other) back bearings; and it's true, the thing both got us there, and back again, which is never to be taken for granted with an old air-cooled Volkswagen.

So we got there, to a little hall named after (in a style reminiscent of Red Green) the majestic moose, and drove around back, where we set up in the right field position of their little baseball diamond. And then we started hauling out the boxes of junk, I mean, shit, I mean, old original German Volkswagen parts; and once again, even though it was not exactly a huge affair, the people there swarmed over and started throwing money at Tara.

I don't know how this can continue to be happening, but it is.

Here's the spread:

Picture by Tara.

Even Tara was surprised that though people are certainly buying stuff, the amount we bring never seems to go down all that much; and I think she may finally be getting it through her head that there's way, way more of this stuff than she thinks there is.

I didn't get to look around much, though really that's fine with me, as I don't particularly care about old Volkswagens (well, okay, that's a bit of a euphemism: I outright hate the things), but I did manage to take a walk around. As I cut through by one Camper, with two hipstery sorts sitting under an awning, one of them noticed my Monkees shirt and commented that he liked them. Then he said, 'I miss Davy.'

'I don't,' I grumbled. I may be the curmudgeonly type, which will incidentally explain this next bit.

'Why?' he said, as if I just said I hated puppies. Well, I suppose I did.

'I'm a Mike fan,' I said, and kept walking.

All in all, though, smallish event or not, we did, as usual, pretty well, certainly enough to make it worthwhile. And, as usual, we got plenty of bites about parts people want that we didn't bring; but I think the important lesson Tara learned is that there are, after all, some things people just don't want. And that means that those things can just get thrown away. Hurrah!

It only went till three-ish, this event; the second the raffle was over people started driving off. So we packed up and started the long journey back.

This time it was me who was feeling poorly after we returned. It was I think a combination of not enough sleep, too much sun, not enough water, too much fast food, and too much noise on the ride back, the kind that really wears on you; I ended up collapsing into bed in the early evening, which is saying something because I never take naps. Well, it would have been a nap, except Maurice the Cat was just so happy he took to chewing on my bare toes, which, while cute in the abstract, is really not, after all, conducive to sleep. But after lying there a bit and sipping as much water as I could, the balance of my humours was restored and I was back to normal.

There are more events coming up, of course, though the really big air-cooled Volkswagen show happens the same weekend as the Citroën thing, so we can't make that one; but now that the season is here, we're going to try to hit as many of these as we can.

What fun.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Yeah Yeah More Iron

So off we went today on another, guess what, iron run. This time the bulk of the load was some rolled-up chainlink fence, which, let me tell you, is nasty stuff to attempt to muscle around, since it has pointy bits pretty much everywhere.

We had planned on also muscling an old Triumph engine into the back, but it actually proved too heavy. Tara is going to take a wrench (or perhaps a sledgehammer and Sawzall) to it and see if she can break it down into smaller pieces. And that'll make the beginning of the next iron run.

Mostly though we took a little bit from here and a little bit from there; so there aren't any dramatic befores and afters to show, I'm afraid. Here's Larry:

We also threw some 'precious' metals in there, including some old VW generators, which I'm quite sure we have many more of, somewhere behind some stuff somewhere.

When we got to the smelter where the 'precious' metals go, what was there up on top of the computer-thing but a decent size statue of the Hindu God Shiva, in that dancing-on-a-dwarf-surrounded-by-a-ring-of-fire pose. Probably bronze, that someone wanted to recycle, but the kid picked it out. He knew what it was, too, and said that a couple people had already tried to buy it, but he'd refused.

So anyway. The total weight for the iron today was on the low side, because we'd been expecting to have that engine in there as well; but the price was actually pretty good. Usually it runs about two hundred dollars a ton, but our five hundred and eighty pounds brought in seventy-five and change, which puts it at what, oh let me work that out, hang on, about two sixty a ton. Not bad. Might not be a bad idea to do some more iron runs soon. Because there is of course more.

Tara actually was wondering if we might top twenty-five tons of iron by the time we're through here. I don't know; probably. I can't imagine being through though, personally; it's such an alien concept in some ways.

So, then. That brings our totals up to 37,220 pounds, or 18.61 tons of iron removed from this poor hoarded property, and our forty-fourth trip to that scrapyard. And yes, there's oh wait I just said that. Well, you know.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Dub Culture

BTW, that "For Sale" sign is covering a hole, not an indication that it's for sale.

So this past weekend, we geared up for another Volkswagen show to try to sell off some of the gems that our dad left behind for us.

We've made out like bandits at the autumn swap meet at "Transporterfest" - a VW show that is geared towards old VW buses and air-cooled models.  This time though it was a show called "The New England Dust-off".  The best part about the show is that it was only 15 miles away, within the mileage restrictions of a AAA tow.   In case the ol' Bus decided to die, AAA could tow us to the show instead of home.  Actually maybe they could tow us to the show, and then a few hours later, tow us back home.  As it turned out the bus ran well and AAA's serviced were not needed.

Well, we did okay.  In past Transporterfest Swap Meets we netted like $400-$800.  Today we only made about $150 after entrance fees and lunch.  Being Earth Day, the Earth decided to say "screw you" to all these cars on asphalt and rained on us.  Not a lot, but enough so to make it chilly and uncomfortable.

After a month of little to no rain,  today was the day that April decided to finally live up to it's reputation.  I was also fighting off a cold so it was a recipe for misery to be honest.  Plus since we got up early, I sorta was half awake when I got dressed.  Somehow I chose a pair of pants that had a huge hole in the nether-regions, so from about a few hours in, I was consciously aware not to turn my back on the customers.  As soon as the rain picked up a little, that was our cue to leave.

Mostly though the patrons of this show were decidedly not the clientele that our "product" was aimed at.   The crowd here was primarily of the water-cooled, front engine VW persuasion.  These guys cruise around in "dubs" or something, whereas I refuse to use that silly lingo (it's a Volkswagen, dammit!).   So yeah, it was a lot of young whipper-snappers with their Fast and Furious Jettas and Audis.  I think we sold more hubcaps and VW insignias to Beastie Boy fans than people who needed them for their vintage air-cooled Beetles.

Come to think of it, The Beasties are seriously old-school even for these guys.  Oh crap, I think I just seriously dated myself, Ms-Grew-Up-In-The-80's. 

The bottom line is that 90% of the stuff we brought with us, went back with us.  Still we impressed them them with the rusty bus with the hideously torn pop-top tent that only keeps out the largest of mosquitoes.

Hopefully the next swap meet will be better.  And we're getting a sense that you can only sell ANY of this stuff if it's in pretty decent shape.   I'm beginning to think that a lot of the junk we got from Dad was just that - junk.   I can't tell you how many times we opened a parts box that Dad had saved to discover - not the new part that was in it,  but the broken part that my dad replaced off a customer's car, saved of course because it was not 100% broken, you know, only like 75% unusable.  Ah, hoarder mentality permeates every thought process, doesn't it?

Plus it seems like a lot of what we have is incredibly common.  We're not talking about rare Bugatti parts of Lanborghini engines here, sadly.  It's pretty clear that most VW bits are available brand new, and with the Bug being the most popular car design in history, probably 11 million of these things were parted out, so that brings down the prices too.

So we may indeed make a scrap run out of the inevitable purge of the unsellable stuff.  Which of course,  as you know I'm going to say it- there's always more.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Rock On Gold Rust Women

Well, now that the weather is getting warmer and things are slowly turning green here at the Best Little Hoardhouse in Massachusetts, it's time once again to start ramping up the clean-up job. So today we made, guess what, another iron run.

This time the heavy bit on the bottom was this Saab engine that took a while to muscle into the back of ever-patient Larry the Volvo station waggon; on top of that was the ancient iron dolly-cart it rode in on. That was a bit of a problem, that dolly-cart; it was mostly nothing, but the structure of it was just huge and awkward, and of course still heavy; fitting everything in there for this load required a bit of puzzle-piecing it together. But we got it all in there, eventually.

The rest of the load was made up of some truly hideous jagged bits of rusty rust pulled (and Sawzalled) off of the rotting corpse of Genviève the Citroën; good Gods look at this nasty pile of stuff:

Don't let the heavenly-looking light fool you; this stuff was a clear and present danger, and bad-tempered to boot. But we made it through, thanks to luck and a stout pair of gloves each. Well, not that the gloves necessarily matched each other; I was lucky to find a couple of right ones, though we had about eight left gloves. I don't know where they go; probably a Universe parallel to the ones socks are sent to after being devoured by the washing machine, I imagine.

Here's the backed-out view; as I said, nasty stuff, and hopefully not too much damage to the headliner.

Both pictures by Tara, by the way.

This load came to 760 pounds, with a little aluminum (and everyone's favorite, 'irony aluminum' though don't ask me what's ironic about aluminum, I'm nowhere near hipster enough) and a bit of brass thrown in; that brings our total to 36,640 pounds of iron removed from this place starting about four years ago; or in tons, 18.32; it was our forty-third trip to the scrapyard.

Tara has already talked about this Triumph engine hanging out in the downstairs breezeway, to form the start of another iron run; so that should be happening fairly soon, probably next week, as both Tara and I are busy the rest of the week. Because yes, there is still more. Somehow.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Tipping Point

So today was the day of days, O wonder and splendour! Today we passed the half-way mark in the number of cars removed from the yard. Today we got rid of car number fourteen. Rusty be praised.

Well, okay, that's only counting since the beginning of this blog, which we started in June 2010. If we go by the number of cars here in the yard at its worst, we've gotten rid of sixty-six cars, or a good 84.6%, which is pretty damned impressive if you ask me.

Today's sacrifice to the Gods of clean yards was the old brown Saab over by my (poor neglected) vegetable garden. It was, in fact, the old junker under which a certain batch of kittens hid once upon a time; but such sentimental concerns did not save its rusty self from the scrapyard. Mind you, to a hoarder, that would have been a perfectly valid reason to keep it, forever. And you know I'm not kidding.

It was a little tricky to tell just how rusty it was, as the thing had been painted rust-brown to begin with; but I'm pretty sure it was, like almost all the other cars in the yard (including the fiberglass ones), the inevitable rusty hunk of rusty rust.

But it went, and that patch of grass can get started on growing in again. Here's the before:

And the after, yay!

And there it is up on the ramp truck. The guy taking it away, José, gave it the usual dubious look. It is a little surprising he found something solid enough in the front to hook the chain to. But he did, and away it went.

So like I said, that makes fourteen down, with twelve left to go in our Mr. Rusty Jones's countdown. I don't know about you, but I'm thinking that means the single digits are in sight. And that is good news!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Satellite Photo

Here's a satellite map of part of the yard, so you all can get a look. I'd date it to May 19-25 2010. I know it's 2010 because the brown and yellow bus is still there (the first car our Rusty took away, and one of the first things I reported here on Tetanus Burger); I can date it to that week because of the various things blooming/leafing out.

Which means that this photo dates from just before we started this blog.

There are quite a few cars there that have since left the property. The two Saabs behind the garage, for example. The bus, of course, has also gone, as has all the junk a little left and below the center; and that little enclosed area to the right of the shed is now empty, though one of the cars is still here, having been moved from where it was but not out yet.

Interesting, isn't it?

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Rust In The Wind

Today it was once again time to saddle up ol' Larry the Volvo station waggon and drag the poor guy, loaded down with rusty hunks of rusty rust, to the scrapyard. Once again.

This time the main weight of it was this old Citroën engine that had been sitting smack in the middle of the lawn over by the shed; well, that and some truly scary jagged rusty bits vulture-picked off the carcass (ha! carcass) of Genviève the Citroën, as well as various bits and bobs raked up out of the dirt such as the odd shovel handle. Here's Larry's butt, as usual, for proof:

Tara for some reason has got it in her head that there aren't too many iron runs left given how much we've cleaned. She's had that idea for a while now; I'm pretty sure the psychological term is denial. And today she was all like, It just keeps coming! I just sort of shook my head and said, Yep. I think she's expecting that if we've got the place eighty-five percent cleaned by now (which is probably about right) it should start petering out, right? Yeah, well; fifteen percent of a million is still a lot.

For some time now, we have been working on the area over by the shop, where the pen used to be. And by some time I mean off and on since the fall; however, since it was only bits and pieces here and there, there hadn't really been anything to show. We've (well, okay, Tara did most of the muscle work) pulled out these absurdly huge creosote 'fence posts' (probably sections of telephone poles), which required a tripod and come-a-long, moved cars, picked up junk, gotten rid of an engine or two, taken the sections of stockade fence away, filled in holes, cut down a dead tree, burned brush, and generally tidied up. It's still not done (those old creosote fence posts are a bit of a puzzle; I'm not sure they'll burn, or, rather, I'm worried they'll burn rather too well), but here are some befores and afters.

The before is from last summer, maybe:

And the after, taken today:

And here's one looking towards the shed:

That bit of something in the middlish there is half of the back axle section of Genviève. (Yes, I'm sure there's a proper name for that part of a car, but, happily I've blotted it from memory.) It's half because Tara managed to saw the thing in two, length-wise. The reason it's still there is because we ran out of room in Larry, so it will have to wait for the next iron run. Yes, there will be another. Of course.

So, then, totals: today's iron run was the forty-second trip to the scrapyard, and got rid of another 700 pounds of iron (as well as nine pounds of aluminum specially for the smelter-man); that brings the total amount of iron removed from the property since oh whenever to 35,880 pounds, or 17.94 tons, just this close to a solid eighteen tons.

Which we will of course easily top on the next iron run, probably next week. Because, of course, there is still more.

Friday, February 24, 2012

To The Scrapyard

So yesterday it was supposed to rain; the sky was a perfect blue. Last night it was also supposed to rain; we woke to a dusting of snow. New England knows how to keep her weathermen humble.

Now, Larry the Volvo station waggon has a few quirks; this is not news, I suppose. One of them is that he is absolutely, completely, tragically useless in even the tiniest dusting of snow. Though come to think of it he also has been known to stand there and spin his wheels pitiably given some wet grass and a bit of an incline. The snow thing, to be honest, baffles me: he does, after all, come from Sweden, a decent percentage of which country is north of the Arctic Circle. You'd, I don't know, think that maybe, just maybe they would have encountered snow there, I mean once or twice.

But that wasn't, it turned out, a problem today. Because instead of being a rear-wheel-drive big empty station waggon with no weight over the back wheels, Larry was once again full of rusty hunks of rusty rust, which, despite the rust, still weigh an awful lot.

That engine was the first thing we muscled into Larry; when Tara stepped back to look she noted it was riding kind of low. Poor Larry. We push him, we do.

At any rate, here's another shot of Larry's butt. And yes, that is an old junky unicycle on the top of the pile.

And so that was the forty-first trip to the scrapyard, ai yi yi yi yi, and adds another 640 pounds of scrap iron hauled away from this poor hoarded yard. It was one of the lighter loads despite the engine, since the Citroën bits were on the light but bulky side. Tara did excavate a bizarrely long section of pipe in amongst the cat briars which she then remarkably enough cut up with a dull Sawzall. And that brings us up to 35,180 pounds, or 17.59 tons of iron cleaned up, or at least 17.59 tons of iron for which we have receipts.

Yep. Still more out there.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


I will never understand quite how Tara's brain works. I'm all right with that.

Because yesterday, out of the apparent clear blue, she came by and started tearing a car apart, with more or less her bare hands. Well, bare hands and her trusty Sawzall, of course. Yes, the weather has been uncommonly warm, and yes, much like Everest it was there, and yes, we all work out our frustrations in different ways, and I suppose that's not any of my business, really, but still. It was odd.

Because Tara had, for some inexplicable reason, suddenly set her sights on Genviève, the green Citroën that's been hanging out over by the shed for the longest time. We've been focusing on that area lately, and have gotten most of it clean(ish), maybe that's why; with the rest of it gone Genviève is rather obvious now, especially since the weeds have all died down for the winter.

Or maybe Tara was just bored. She had, come to think of it, actually come over to burn some brush. But watching brush burn is, I suppose, not a whole lot more exciting than watching paint dry; and I guess Tara couldn't be expected to just stand there when there were power tools calling her name.

Now Genviève didn't actually look that bad. In fact I would have thought she was one of the more intact cars left, especially compared to the Bugs by the shop that have been there so long lichens have grown on them, and no, I'm totally not kidding. But look at her:

That looks like a proper car to me; compared to the rest of them in the yard why it even looks drivable!

Yeah well. Anyone who knows anything about Citroëns, and, unfortunately, that would include me, though I swear, it was not on purpose, knows that Citroëns can contain upwards of 94% rust and still look like a car, even though at that point the only thing holding them together is the tensile strength of the outer paint shell.

But once Tara actually looked at this one, she could see that even by her standards (which, honestly, are pretty low as far as cars go) Genviève's frame had actually rotted away from the inside some time ago.

So she started tearing it apart.

But then something else odd happened.

I looked up and there was an older man on his bicycle in my yard. Now that's not necessarily that unusual; sometimes people randomly stop by to ask about car parts, so Tara went over to talk to him.

A few minutes later Tara comes over to me, and tells me that the guy lives up the street, and had offered to cut up some downed trees for us. Except, he didn't want any money for it, and he didn't even want the wood; no, Tara said, the guy had said that he knew our dad from the Conservation Commission, and that he was a good man, and so he wanted to help.

I kind of just blinked, since I knew your father and Your father was a good man should, technically, be mutually exclusive; Tara did say that she'd told the guy dad was a hoarder. But she'd told him fine, go to town with the trees.

A while later the guy, who I'm going to be calling the Odd Samaritan, comes back with his chainsaw, and makes very short work indeed of the downed apple tree, and the broken limb on the bird cherry, which we hadn't been able to figure out how to approach, since it was this giant limb which was half driven into the ground when it broke.

Then he comes over to Tara to ask what else he can cut up. Tara points him in the direction of this giant pain in the ass stump that's been in the back of the shop forever that we haven't known what to do with; a minute or two later he's like More? and Tara takes him over to the other part of the yard.

Where our Odd Samaritan cuts up another downed tree, and a broken tree limb, and then further cuts down an entire dead bird cherry tree.

At that he comes back over and says he's done for the day. I just look at him. Did he get the chainsaw for Christmas? Has he run out of trees in his own yard to cut down? Does he drive by our house every day and is simply sick of looking at the downed apple tree? I don't know. I tell him thank you, and doesn't he want the wood? No, he says; he owed Dad a favor and was happy to help. My guess is that, like Tara, he had a power tool and just couldn't resist, even if it was someone else's yard.

He watched Tara taking bits off Genviève for a while, then asked her why she was doing that; people will just take cars away for you, you know. Tara told him there were parts she wanted to save off of it; then our Odd Samaritan said, "You take after your father." Oh snap! I thought, but managed not to say anything out loud.

And then the guy left.

Well, okay. Thank you, Odd Samaritan. He certainly saved us a lot of trouble.

But back to poor Genviève. I suppose other cars have nightmares about this kind of thing; it is a little gruesome to watch a car being dismantled like this, especially when said car had a name and all. But you know, I'm strong. I'm pretty sure I'm capable of not letting it bother me.

Here's the sequence from the side, starting with the same picture from above:

And then from the back; there was really not much more underneath it all than a pile of rusty rust. What a shock.

So with all that, guess what the plan is for tomorrow? That's right, an iron run mostly comprised of Genviève bits. Well, that and this crazy heavy rusty Triumph engine that we managed to muscle into poor long-suffering Larry. Said engine was once upon a time shown to the guy who bought the TR3A back in December, to see if he was interested. He took one look at it, then told Tara to "send it back to God;" Moloch, I assume, as it is destined to be sacrificed to the furnace.

It's been a while. We'll see if the guy at the scrapyard missed us.