08 October 2006

Minding the Gutter

Since I moved in here, I have been pretty sure that my neighbor on one side has his 'mind in the gutter' altogether too much. I don't mean he's a dirty old man, but rather that he seems to be on his roof twice a month cleaning the pine needles & leaves off the shingles & out of the gutters. I've surmised that he likes it up there because it gives him a good view of everybody else's backyard, but he does always seem to be actively working and not just spying when he's up there.

I moved here because I love the trees, but I do appreciate the downside of trees, especially in fall. When we did the inspection on the house, it was clear that the gutters needed some attention, but I didn't think they were so bad as to require 'cleaning the gutters' as a condition of moving in. And they were not a high priority fix, which is why I ignored them until yesterday.

We finally have a real fall weekend here, with low temperatures in the low 60s and highs 'just' in the mid-80s and humidity around 50% (compared with the usual mid-90s and 90%. This may sound like 'summer' to those in heat-challenged climates, but trust me, it's quite cool here, which has the added value of keeping the skeeters away.

So after totally wearing out the dog, I decided cleaning the gutters would be a good, useful activity that would allow me to continue to enjoy the great day. I grabbed the ladder, some gloves and a determined look, and headed up onto the roof.

I'm not afraid of heights/ladders, but that transition from the ladder onto the roof is a mental challenge. I also don't much like critters crawling on me or goo on my hands. But hey, I dug in.

Having never done this before, I don't know how much gunk accumulates in an average gutter per year, but if what I found was a mere year's worth of gunk, then I begin to understand my fastidious neighbor. Because I'm pretty sure that water has not actually flowed in any of these gutters at least since I bought the house and probably much longer than that.

That said, I have a wonderful pile of the most gorgeous mulch any gardener ever made. Because essentially, the gutters were a long, tubular compost heap.

I also have a new appreciation for the guys who do this for a living. Although I did not encounter any crawling critters, I did have to sidle up some fairly steep -- even for Monkey Girl here -- roof sections to clean off accumulations on the shingles. I also had to engineer a solution to reach the gutters on the front of the house, since the gorgeous landscaping & huge tree/bush things pretty much don't leave a lot of room for such plebian concerns as ladders and gutter cleaning. (This would be, I think, the reason those front gutters were totally packed with silt: Nobody could get to them.)

1 comment:

The Food Lady said...

Ahh the joys of home ownership... they never end, eh?

I love the smiling dog! : )