At last! Harold, the ironmonger, and Josh, his helper, pulled up yesterday afternoon. I'd just about given up hope of seeing them this year. I've been cleaning up around the property and collecting odds and ends of metal "anything" for Harold; rusted pitchforks with no handles, a couple of wheelbarrows that had gotten squished when the oak fell, and two of the remaining three rototillers. At one time I had seven, only one of which ever ran (I held on to that one). There was no sense asking Steve why we needed seven rototillers. The answer would have been, "You just never know."
Harold is an old dude, walking with a cane now, and he's been in the business since before there was dirt. He takes great pride in recycling other people's trash. He told me that very little of what he collects goes to the dump, and he makes a very good living at what he does. Josh provides the muscle now and does the heavy lifting. Josh and I went through the treasure trove in Steve's section of the barn, finding the frame for a canopy for the boat that I haven't yet been able to talk Harold into taking away (he's still thinking about it). When the Kids and I have gone target shooting up in the national forest, we always police the area afterward, and we found a big bag of spent brass cartridge casings that made Harold happy. There were the fan blades for a windmill. They blew off the mill years ago and were a "some day" project. There was an extra set of tines for one of the rototillers; they went bye-bye along with the defunct tiller.
As much as Josh loaded, it hardly made a dent in the amount of "stuff" in the barn. Some stuff I held on to because, "You just never know," and some stuff I kept because I didn't know what it was and it might be important. I kept hearing George Carlin's famous bit on "stuff" as we rooted around. Man, have I got stuff! When Tree Guy and Son were working on the oak down in the pasture and putting up the new square-wire fencing, they took down a large section of five-strand barbed wire fence. That huge snarl of barbed wire has been an eyesore out by the barn since then. Harold explained he'd lose money on it, but he'd take it away for me. Josh had the painful chore of loading that ball of spiky wire into an already full pickup. One of those springy strands whipped around and caught him in the back of his trousers. Hoping not to see more of Josh than planned, I gingerly freed him while Harold stood by and laughed.
After loading the barbed wire into the truck, there was no room for anything more and the guys headed for home. I will continue to hunt and collect stuff for Harold. It's always a pleasure to see him, and even a bigger pleasure to see stuff leave.