Friday, July 8, 2011

Work, Comedy & Making Ends Meet.

Just a quick post to let everyone know that yes, I am still alive, and haven't broken my neck by falling through some attic floor through to the next floor. Been through a few attics, basements, farm sites, etc since the last time I blogged.

 Been busy, though not picking as much as I would like.

Funny how the cash goes out twice as fast as it comes in!

Lots of flooding in this area, as well as south, west and east of here. A few rivers have been overflowing, and there also have been so much rain around that there has been lots of "overland flooding" as well. Makes picking tougher....backroads turn to mud, are washed away, sinkholes happen, and critters like moles decide that the road is the best high ground to head to and they start colonizing. 

You hit one of their hills at any speed and you have a recipe for disaster. Add to that having water right to the roadside, and filling ditches that are 10 feet (or more) deep...well, you can use your imagination.

I can still pick every day and find cool stuff, despite events like flooding, storms (rain or snow!), etc. Usually there are 2 things that can slow my picking activities a fair bit:

(1) Poor health (illness that keeps you bed bound...things like the flu, inner ear infections, or other things that make it unsafe to even walk)

(2) Lack of cash on hand.

Basically my health is ok at the moment. Cash is tight, though. Doing renovations to the house (we run a B&B, plus been paying bills down, getting car repairs done (picking is tough on the vehicle!), etc.

Heck, filling up the tank with gas is a $100 touch these days!

Still managing to pick up some old stuff here and there. Even the jobs I have been doing on the side to make some extra cash can offer opportunities to get inventory.

Been cleaning up a scrap metal pile on a farmsite, for an associate of mine. He's a bit of a wheeler dealer, and he bought a package of farm properties, and he needs the scrap cleaned off the place before he resells that piece of the package he bought. Wants to have it looking clean & more appealing for potential buyers. 

I volunteered to do it, as he's related to a good friend of mine. It is more of a favour, as it is heavy work, moving literally tons of metal by hand. He might think I'm getting rich off the stuff, but that is far from the case. However, it allowed me a chance to pull out any interesting bits and pieces...many of which I see in many scrap piles that are sold at farm auctions, and the piles go for more than I want to pay for the few things in them. Having to talk to the scrap dealers who bought the piles later tends to be a pain, and sometimes impossible when you are trying to keep track of the other stuff you want to buy at the auction.  

So, from this pile I have gotten some cast iron farm implement wheels, as well as some other bits and pieces that have some resale value beyond scrap steel prices. 

Hot and heavy work, for sure.

I have been earning every cent I will gain, that is for certain...and every dime will have been hard earned at that. The blood and sweat expelled by my body has the profits wiped out already. Yes, I do REALLY mean blood!

Dangerous work, also... especially when at every square inch there are rusty & pointed harrow teeth, rusty, broken (and still sharp) swather blades , jagged old cultivator shovels that have been made razor thin and edge sharp by tilling sandy soil for eons, not to mention an intertwined conglomeration of knife edged sheets of tin, flesh scoring rusty barbed wire, rotting cans of who knows what...and to to that the fact the pile is intricately interwoven, with structures being interdependent...with no sense of structure or stability.

I climb and scour these sorts of piles when I am out picking, but usually only for easily accessible items. If I have to shift ten tons of metal in the blazing sun and risk slicing my jugular open to get at something, it better be a heck of a treasure!

I also pick up interesting bits and pieces of rusty metal for potential sculpture or other artistic/creative use...which I may use....someday.....if I ever get some spare time!

There were some cast iron water bowls for cattle:

I figured they could be used as rustic planters, bird baths, etc.

Also got some heavy chain links, which are actually from a dairy cow barn....part of the system used to mechanically clean the place. Yes, from a manure removal machine...(SHHHH, don't tell anyone!)

  They are long sterilized by mother nature, and their previous exposure to the, uh, ummm.... "elements" have given them a very cool patina:

What did the country antique dealer say to the city antique dealer?

That there ain't cow shit, that there's PATINA!

Well, with that I will leave you laughing, or groaning, whichever!