Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘gutter

Not Suffering

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Just a little rain up here at the lake yesterday afternoon, but we are living the life of luxury, regardless.

Breakfast on the deck.

But earning it by taking care of that too-long neglected task of tending to the gutters on the backside of the house. Out of sight, out of mind, you know.

After I dug for long enough, I actually found a gutter underneath all that mess.

More family arrived yesterday afternoon and we dined like royalty and stayed up too late playing cards.

It’s another classic summer weekend ‘at the lake.’

Aahhhhh.

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Written by johnwhays

August 22, 2020 at 8:15 am

Failure Happens

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We received 3-and-a-half inches of rain in the storm that hit this region on Tuesday evening. With reports warning of wind gusts between 60 and 70 mph, we were a bit anxious about what might happen when the full force arrived. Luckily, we did not experience any loss of trees from that high of wind, but the paddocks have the makings of a couple new canyons shaped by the heavy rain.

IMG_1437eWhile cleaning up manure, I came across evidence of a failure I had been suspicious of for some time. The drain tube that was buried from the barn gutter to the main drainage swale has made its way up to the surface. There is no way it can be draining properly.

That helps explain the dramatic runoff that has been occurring from the corner of the barn. It doesn’t really matter that I cleaned out the bird’s nest from the down spout when the drainage tube the spout is connected to is plugged somewhere down the line.

After work yesterday, I disconnected the down spout from the tube that leads underground and rigged up an above-ground series of tubes as a temporary solution for protecting the paddock from erosion.

I don’t know what I would do different, but the failure of that buried tube reveals a flaw in our plan. Once again I am reminded of how fluid (as opposed to static) the “solid” ground actually is. Buried things don’t tend to stay buried around here.

Each spring farmers find new rocks sprouting in their plowed fields. Those rocks aren’t falling from the sky. They are pushed up from below, just like that section of my drainage tube that now protrudes above the surface.

I probably won’t ever succeed in preventing erosion from runoff of heavy rains, but I would sure like to reduce and confine it as much as possible. My next idea will involve a way to capture the water running off the roof into a giant barrel of some kind.

Then I just need to figure out what to do with the overflow from that vessel whenever it fills up.

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Written by johnwhays

July 8, 2016 at 6:00 am

Bird Pests

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June seems to be the time of year when the birds really make pests of themselves down at the barn. They are becoming pests because they are making nests. There is a starling that has taken a real liking to one of the downspouts from the gutter, plugging a short horizontal section between two elbows.

DSCN4801eI tried to flush it out last night while trying to take apart the sections so I could remove the nest. I didn’t really want to be up on the ladder when the section popped open with a protective momma bird suddenly exposed. The fact that it wouldn’t try to get away from all the banging and shaking I was doing made me think all the more there might be eggs present.

I finally bit the bullet and yanked it apart. The bird still didn’t fly away. From the looks of things, it was caught on something between the bottom cutout in the horizontal gutter and the first elbow. The poor thing couldn’t free itself even if it wanted to.

I suddenly felt guilty for all that banging I had done to scare it away.

In hopes of avoiding any aggression from the exposed side, I climbed into the paddock and from that position, removed the last screw keeping the elbow connected to the gutter. The starling was gone in a split second, flying off in a direction I couldn’t see.

A custom gutter-downspout-shaped nest

A custom gutter-downspout-shaped nest

Poor Delilah was beside herself with urgent desire for a chance to “assist” me with extricating the bird. I had her leashed to a fence post nearby while I worked. I feel like she gives me such a look of disappointment when I just let creatures go free like I did with this bird.

I can perceive her saying, “What are you doing! You let it get away!” with extreme incredulity.

She seemed to know it was trapped and so fervently wanted to just run up the ladder and offer it a helping paw. More likely, a not so helpful jaw, in all honesty.

Now it’s time to up my level of intensity in the project of bird-proofing the downspout. The plastic netting I tried last year turned out to be woefully inadequate. Next up, a plastic wedge-shaped screen that boasts “Revolutionary Patented Design Eliminates Downspout Clogs!

Cyndie picked it up for me from a home improvement store on her way home from an event because I had texted her about the previously-unplanned-but-now-urgent need.

Meanwhile, something that looks like a pigeon keeps making a nest over the large sliding doors. That one’s a lot easier to dispatch. Seems like every time we open the doors, a couple of eggs drop to the ground.

I figure the birds think we are the ones that become pests at this time of year.

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Written by johnwhays

June 1, 2016 at 6:00 am

Posted in Chronicle

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Stealthy Installation

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This is a little embarrassing. Presumably, while Cyndie and I were sitting on our couch Wednesday night, conducting a quarterly meeting for Wintervale Ranch, LLC, 4 guys from the gutter company showed up and completed the rework of the gutter on the barn. We didn’t have a clue.

Thursday morning, while at the day-job, I texted Cyndie to find out if the crew had showed up yet. After she replied that they hadn’t, I suggested she call to check on their schedule. She did just that and received the startling news that the work had already been completed. How?

IMG_iP0895eCHThey needed to saw off about 3 inches of the overhanging metal roof. That had to make a racket. Delilah gave no indication of any kind. I think we better not rely on her as a watchdog.

They installed blocks in all 70 troughs of the metal roof. They worked right where the horses congregate, and must have spooked the horses to some extent.

We remained oblivious. I don’t understand how this could be.

I would have appreciated a call from them to report when they would be working. At the very least, it would have saved the embarrassment of our phoning the office to ask when they were going to show up to do the work, after it had already been completed.

I sure hope this crew never strays toward using their skills of stealth for nefarious purposes. They could have cleaned us out of all our valuable possessions while we sat idly by, clueless.

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Written by johnwhays

August 21, 2015 at 6:00 am

Learning Opportunities

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Of all the projects we have undertaken since we moved here, I never imagined that gutters would become the significant issue that they have. Yesterday we had a visit from our gutter guy, (really, we have a gutter guy —how sad is that?) to have him give us a quote to improve the gutter on our barn so that it actually works during anything heavier than a light drizzle.

DSCN3632eThey installed the gutter for us originally, per my request, but it has never provided the solution we were seeking. Last fall’s addition of lime screenings on the ground in the paddock has served to very visibly reveal the shortcomings of our current set up. We have some major rills that have been formed by the water that pours off the roof, over the gutter, and flows down the slope below.

Sounds like my decision to now add metal “blocks” on the steel roof to hold snow in place will actually serve us well in making the gutter more effective. They originally mounted the gutter low to protect it from being damaged by ice and snow sliding down the roof. With the blocks in place, the gutter could be raised up and that would help, so I’m told, in catching more of the water that flows over the lip of the roof line during heavy rain.

Where were they with that brilliant suggestion when they did the first install? Especially since I did order snow blocks for the back side of the barn at that time (where there is no need for a gutter), because I didn’t want the massive pile up of snow occurring on our roadway back there. I had seen what happened the year before, with no blocks, and was wary of how difficult it would be to keep that passageway clear of snow if we did nothing.

On the front side of the barn, the roof gets enough sun exposure that it usually melts before creating a giant accumulation like what would happen on the back side, in the shade.

So, we bought a gutter once, and now we are going to buy the gutter again. It’s kind of like getting 1 gutter for the price of 2! What a deal!

This is so not how I want improvement projects to go. I get to chalk it up as one more lesson to me about getting over my thing with perfectionism. Oh, and my thing about frugality. And my thing about making smart, informed decisions.

I take solace in the fact these lessons come to me in this most beautiful place that we now call home, surrounded by fields, forest, our horses & dog & cat, wild animals and many critters galore, gorgeous sky views day and night, and a peacefulness that is garnished with songbirds, mooing cows, occasional barks from neighbor’s dogs, and the wonderful sound of rustling tree leaves.

It all helps soften the blow of the next brilliant (F@#$!*%&) learning opportunity destined to come my way. Perfection.

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Written by johnwhays

July 23, 2015 at 6:00 am

Uninvited Supervisor

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Cyndie and I were working on a little project in front of our house yesterday and I looked up and spotted someone spying on us. It looked like we were being supervised over the lip of the gutter.DSCN3694e

The reason I suspect the little critter was checking us out is that after we moved on to other things, he left. Cyndie had wanted to get a picture with her camera, but by the time she got out there, he had disappeared.

Something tells me the gutter covers we bought aren’t guaranteeing that I won’t need to occasionally clean the gutters. Down at the barn we’ve had birds creating nests in the downspout, and now on the house we have amphibians making themselves at home in the channel.

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Written by johnwhays

July 20, 2015 at 6:00 am

Posted in Chronicle

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