Sunday, 16 March 2014

Has Spring sprung yet?

I cleared some of the snow off the roof of my house on Thursday. Probably about 2 elephants' worth of snow. It was a good 2+ feet thick in places and you just know that weighs a ton or two.

I have a thing called a roof rake. And for those who don't live up here in the Great White North, you probably have no idea what I am talking about. But after months of snow accumulation, the warming of spring makes all that snow become even heavier. And the ice build up underneath, along the edges of the roof just above the eavestroughs, can lead to ice dams that back ice up under the shingles, which leads to damage to the wood sheathing and water leakage inside the house.

So some of us clean the snow off before that happens. Or, like my neighbour just to the west (with the metal roof), the sun will warm things up and all that ice and snow will avalanche off, taking eavestroughs, downspouts, soffit and fascia with it. I watched it happen on Thursday as I worked on my roof. They will have lots of repairs to do when the snow is gone.

A roof rake is a 8" x 24" piece of slightly curved plastic attached at a right angle to an extendable aluminum handle. It reaches out to 16.5 feet when fully extended, which gets right to the peak of my bungalow's roof. Not all that controllable at that length, but I made due.

The biggest issue I had was the snow in the yard was halfway up my thighs. And not in a good way. (Never mind, boys!) So I could basically only stand in one spot while I dragged the rake down repeatedly, pulling snow off. That meant a lot of twisting and turning of the upper body while my legs were stuck in the snow. Which of course meant that the next day, my back was very unhappy.

It also meant when I lost my balance and fell backwards, it was really difficult to get back up because my bum just kept sinking into the snow! Having bad knees is very inconvenient at times like that, let me tell you.

It was nice and mild that day... we hit a high of +3C. The sun was out and the birds were chirping everywhere. So after work, I went out and started slogging away. After about 2 hours, I had done the front and back sections. Because I have a hip roof, there are four sides. The east side is where I park so I left that one alone, and I just couldn't get at the west side because my neighbour (they of the avalanche) had put up a snow fence to block drifting into their parking area out back.

And of course, when I cleared the back, a good portion of it fell in front of the back door (which is the one I use all the time ~ the front has been buried all winter) and along the walkway. So I had to clear that away so I could get back in the house! That, I swear, was one of those elephants.

We've had more snow and more cold this winter than in recent memory. In Winnipeg, the frost line is down to 9' underground in areas, and there are over 1100 homes with frozen water lines. The city is frantically trying to thaw them but it all takes time.

Next year, I will start on the roof clearing much earlier and do it as the stuff builds up so spring clearing is less arduous.

But Spring really is on the way. The first Canada Goose was spotted the other day, and if they are on the way back from down South, you just know warmer weather is on its way too!