Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘roof rake

Floating Flakes

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All day yesterday snow-globe flakes floated magically out of the sky. It was mystical. I checked the radar in the morning to see if it was a temporary shower or something more substantial and the precipitation didn’t even show up. Somehow, flakes just kept falling from the time I woke up, continuing without pause through my last walk with Delilah in the dark of night.

It made for a gorgeous winter day. I occupied myself with raking snow off the last three valleys of our roof and then shoveling away the piles that resulted beneath.

There was a decent-sized drift hanging off one eave and plenty of straight accumulation built up on the opposite side of the house.

I let Delilah hang out with me while I worked, but by the time I moved to the back, she just stood at the door staring inside. It looked like she was hoping someone in there would notice and rescue her from the cold. I gave in and walked her around to let her in the front door.

Then she barked at me for the noise I was making on the roof.

Delilah got to have a real canine adventure Friday night when we took our last walk of the evening while the snowstorm was underway. While she had her nose in the snow investigating something that caught her attention, I spotted a field mouse skittering along on top of the snow.

By the time I got Delilah’s attention to come after it, the critter disappeared below the snow again. As Delilah hunted around near that spot, the mouse popped up right beside me and resumed its sprint to escape all this attention.

That was a fatal mistake. There is now one less field mouse roaming the ranch this winter and Delilah is feeling like quite the successful hunter.

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Written by johnwhays

January 20, 2020 at 7:00 am

Even Icier

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If my experience yesterday on the south side of our house ends up being typical for any of you who happen to also be in the Twin Cities area that received rain over Thanksgiving weekend, I recommend that you check your roof for ice beneath the snow. There were areas where the frozen crust was two inches thick on our roof. That adds a lot of weight.

I knew there was an annoying frozen crust beneath the snow around here because it has made both plowing and shoveling a complex and frustrating endeavor, but I had no idea the result on the roof was so pronounced.

I struggled mightily to break through the thick frozen layer beneath the multiple inches of snow yesterday by turning the Avalanche Deluxe head on its side and chopping out small pieces at a time.

Using the head with the plastic film, I was only able to slide down the loose snow that was on top of the thick crust, but that still moved more snow, faster, with one stroke upwards than I ever did when trying to pull it all down with my old rake.

I’m just as pleased with my purchase today as I was after the first use on Saturday.

The only disadvantage of the ease of pulling the snow off the roof is the resulting large amount of densely packed snow on the deck, steps, and walkways that then needs to be shoveled away.

That project takes a lot longer than the time it took to bring it all down off the roof.

Shoveling it off the deck was made appropriately more laborious by the chunks of ice slabs mixed in with the snow.

I am very thankful for the forecast showing a few days with sun ahead and no days with precipitation in the next week to allow time for the raked roof to respond to the new exposure with some serious evaporation.

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Written by johnwhays

December 16, 2019 at 7:00 am

Evolving Perspective

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I do it every year. At the beginning of the snow season, when I plow and shovel snow, I take great care to maintain order. On the gravel, I lift the blade to avoid pushing rocks far into the grass, in hope of saving my mower blades extra abuse in the summer.

By the house, I pile the snow away from the swinging bench and brush the snow off the seat to create an inviting place to sit and watch the activities of birds and squirrels.

There is a reason for every decision, and order abounds.

By February, the importance of those decisions has shifted significantly, and the new focus is on moving snow at any cost. The rocks are an unfortunate consequence of the newer priority of just getting this snow out-of-the-way. The bench becomes a place to store snow, not a place to sit.

It is my perspective that has changed about what the value of these things are. I care about some details up to a point, and then I no longer care.

I had the ladder out yesterday, scraping the latest covering of blown and fallen snow off the edges of the roof. It’s a laborious effort, balancing on my arches on that narrow rung of the ladder, while holding my arms over my shoulders to maneuver the rake on the end of the three 4-foot aluminum pole sections. Back and forth, reaching up, pulling back.

While taking a pause to rest, I became mesmerized by the steam rising off the roof where the sun was heating up the dark shingles. It was well below freezing, yet that solar energy was melting the snow as fast as ever.

I pulled out my pocket camera in hopes of capturing the wonder of the phenomena that had so captured my fancy that I was happy to remain even longer on that precarious perch, soaking up the scene.

I have no idea how I also captured the corner of my sleeve. How did it even reach up into the frame? It doesn’t make much sense to me.

Notice how the impact of the angle of solar intensity is evident by the melt occurring on the right, versus the roof slope on the left.

Most of the year, I would fret over physical abuse to the shingles, but this time of year my perspective has evolved. I’m willing to drag metal across the granules of shingle in order to remove that insulating layer of snow that will create ice dams that lead to bigger problems.

I am not one to rigidly cling to a single way of seeing most things. Everything is always undergoing change, including my perspective.

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Written by johnwhays

February 16, 2019 at 10:47 am

Giving Up

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To heck with keeping up, I’m ready to give up. The snow-pocalypse of February wins. I can only endure so much, and it turns out, unending accumulation of plow-able amounts of snow in close succession is more than my fragile mind can handle.

It takes a certain mental discipline to clear the quarter-mile of driveway from the house to the road, then around the hay shed and in front of the barn, when the snow is falling fast enough to cover your progress as fast as you make it.

That’s alright. After the year when I waited until the snow was absolutely stopped before plowing, and there was too much for even my big tractor to clear, I learned that it would be smarter to plow whenever we get 5 or 6 inches, even if it was still snowing.

But it is very rare that it would take more than two sessions of plowing. Until now.

I am officially drained of my stoic Northland resilience. Is this one of the ways that zombies are created? I am but a shell of my former self. In the fading light of day, I found myself stumbling up the driveway from the barn, dragging a shovel behind me, while the snow continued to fall.

There is no space to push more snow. At the end of the day yesterday, the wind started to pick up and create drifts. Of all times for us to need more gas, it happens in the heart of a big snowstorm.

I stayed home from work yesterday, and the highlight of the day for me was that I wasn’t driving my car on snowy roads. Then I needed gas. Out I ventured onto the drifted roads in my car, frowning.

This battle all played out after I had spent the early part of the day raking snow off the roof, and then needing to shovel the giant mound from our front steps.

It was exhausting work, but when I finished, it seemed like the snow was letting up, inspiring me to move on to the plowing. I even saw a glimpse of a bright yellow circle in the sky, through the clouds for a few seconds.

It didn’t last. Halfway through plowing, the rate of snowfall picked up dramatically. That was pretty much the point that my brain threw in the towel.

The rest of the plowing was devoid of my usual attention to detail.

There are options that would serve to remedy my problem of having nowhere to push more snow: a snowblower attachment, for one.

Visiting Cyndie’s parents in Florida for several months is another possibility. I wonder if they would mind if we brought all our animals along.

I think the horses and chickens are all about as done with falling snow as I am.

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Written by johnwhays

February 13, 2019 at 7:00 am

Quick Return

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It feels like spring! Seriously. A day after the snowstorm, our uncharacteristic weather has made a quick return. The clouds are gone, the sky deep blue, the sun shining bright, the air warm, and the snow, totally sticky and melting. It is something that can’t be controlled, so we just take what is delivered.

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The back yard is filled with evidence of visitors sledding and building snow sculptures. The snow is sliding off the metal roof of the shop.

I may look into a metal roof for the house when our shingles reach the end of their life. I would prefer to have the snow slide off the roof without my needing to pull it down using a rake on a very long pole handle.

I got a little tired toward the end of my efforts of pulling down snow from the roof on Saturday. On the last section, I hung the rake on the lip of the eave, just like I had done all the way around the rest of the house. But I let go of the handle with a careless lack of attention to detail.

It swung away from me with a little too much momentum. As I watched a fraction of a second last much longer than that in my mind, but quicker than my body could react to, the rake lost contact with the roof.

Why couldn’t it just fall harmlessly to the ground beside the house?

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Written by johnwhays

February 27, 2017 at 7:00 am