Between rain, snow or both, it’s been a tough fall to get chores done on the farm.
This year, because of wet weather delays, the brunt of whittling down the list fell on Brian, who worked on it in late afternoon weekdays after he got home from his Grand Forks job and before it got dark. By the time I got home, daylight had waned, so my meager contributions were making phone calls to arrange furnace service and septic tank cleaning appointments.
I was feeling guilty about not helping -- until this past Sunday when forecasts of a storm looming before the week’s end put Brian and I under deadline pressure to clean the leaves-filled-eavestroughs. We had been waiting to clean them out because we wanted the snow and ice in them to melt as much as possible before we tackled the task.
While Brian stood on a ladder about 20 feet above the ground cleaning out the high eavestroughs, I climbed up my ladder about 10 feet and stepped onto the roof of the fairly flat porch where I proceeded to clean the ice-packed leaves out of the eves above. After I finished that section of eves, I carefully walked to the edge of the porch roof and sat down to clean those eavestroughs.
About halfway through cleaning the lower set, I encountered snow and, when I started to slide a little too close to the edge of the roof for comfort, I decided cleaning out the eaves from the ladder would be safer.
After carefully inching my way back to the ladder, I climbed down it, moved it to the spot I needed to clean, climbed back up and started to clean the eve spouts again, flinging the icy, wet leaves with my right hand while holding on to the ladder with my left.
I repeated the climb up the ladder, fling the frozen leaves and ice chunks, then climb down the ladder routine a dozen times as I made my way around the lower part of the house. Brian, meanwhile, did the same thing, only his trip up and down the ladder was about 10 feet more each way.
Fortunately, both of our tasks were performed uneventfully, even when I carried with me a wooden step ladder on one of my trips up the ladder. I needed the step ladder to clean the eavestroughs above the upper deck of our house and figuring a straight line is the shortest distance between two points, I put the ladder on my shoulder and climbed. The most difficult and dicey part of the endeavor wasn’t the climb, but, instead, hefting the ladder over the 30-inch-high railing that surrounds the deck. I managed to do it while keeping my balance, then stepped over the railing and cleaned the last of the eaves.
With that chore behind us, our farmstead is battened down and ready to face what the winter weather throws at us. I hope the storm misses us, though, because I have some pretty stiff muscles that need to recover before I do much snow removal -- especially if it involves climbing a ladder to a porch or deck roof with a shovel in tow.