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.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Lucky Thirteen

You know, our Rusty Jones is so determined, so tireless, so ruthless in his quest to rid this yard of rusty cars, that he won't even let a little thing like February in New England stop him. Now, granted, this has been an uncommonly mild winter so far, but still. Nothing much usually happens here in February.

So last week Rusty came and took away the old blue Saab 99, the one whose paint is officially called Caroline Blue, and so therefore the car has been called after it Caroline. I mean duh. This was another one that Tara hauled off to her own yard, and, while I disapprove I suppose in general, still, she's legally an adult and it's neither my business nor, and this is important, is it my problem.

So off Caroline went, out of my yard!

Here she is ready to go, up in the driveway, after being pulled up there with Tara's new Bug:

Here's a before picture from last summer, of where she was on the north side of the shed:

And the after, though it's not quite the same view. You can see we've also cleaned up around the area in general since:

And that, my friends, puts us as thirteen cars out of here and thirteen cars left, since we started this blog, anyway. If we count from the mid-nineties, well, I don't know but it's whatever seventy-eight minus thirteen is, more or less. My count, incidentally, may be a little off, as there are some, well, half cars here that I'm not sure how to tally. But for now I'm going to say we're at an even split, with fifty percent of the (recent) goal met. And that's pretty damned good!

On the kitten front (the lingering business that is taking so much of my time believe it or not), now it's just Zéphirine the shy kitten in the dining room. And with her brothers out of there, it was only a couple days before she decided she was lonely and came out begging for me to pet her. So she has, astonishingly, turned a corner, and in fact will now climb into my lap and demand to be pet. She's still pretty shy, though, and needs more work, but putting her back out as feral is thankfully no longer an option. She also has a home lined up, a friend of my mother's who knows cats and knows she's a shy one, which is good because I'm not sure she'll ever be up to the level of being able to handle a shelter situation, with all the other animals and the noise and smells and such. That friend won't be able to take her until the middle of March, which actually works out fine since that will give me time to get her solidly tame.

So there's a light at the end of that tunnel, finally, and yay!