Fall weather is always interesting. Two weeks ago we turned on the furnace. Late last week things warmed up and we turned it off, and yesterday it was nice enough to open a few windows. This afternoon we're supposed to get rain and cooler weather. Before the inclement weather hit, I decided a little outdoor maintenance was in order. The main task was the seasonal cleaning of the gutters.
Our neighbors have a locust tree planted outside their front door, and several more surrounding the deck in the back. After many years, they're now much taller than their two story house. The trees turn a lovely golden yellow at the end of the season, but their compound leaves are a pain to deal with. When they fall off the tree the tiny leaflets come off the stalk and end up everywhere. For the past few weeks we've been tracking them into the house. They also end up in the gutters, so every spring and fall I give the easy-to-access gutters a good cleaning.
Our house is a typical two story, and because of the architecture it's possible to get to the front gutters by climbing out a front bedroom window and sitting down on the porch roof. The roof has a slight slope, but as long as you pay attention to what you're doing it's OK The gutters on the north side can be accessed by climbing out another bedroom window and using the kitchen roof. (The back of the house has a walkout basement, so the gutters are effectively three stories up. I tend to ignore them.)
After breakfast I gathered my supplies...a large plastic kitchen spoon to scoop the leaves into piles and a bucket to hold them. First stop was the front porch. I took out the screen from the window, carefully crawled through, then cautiously shuffled over to the edge and squatted down to survey the downspout area. As I suspected, it was clogged with a large pile of leaflets and a few stalks. Since it hasn't rained in a while the pile was dry and easy to scoop up. I threw the debris into a bucket.
I could see a fine layer of leaves scattered along the length of the gutter, so I stood up and shuffled over to the far end where I carefully used the spoon to gather the leaves into piles for easier removal. The shingles that overhang the gutters have rough edges and are hard on your hands, but I always forget to bring gloves until I'm up on the roof and it's too late. I was able to clean about two feet of gutter at a time, then had to scoot over to a new section. The project took about fifteen minutes, and when I was done the bucket was half full of debris. I climbed back through the window, closed everything up, and moved to the next area.
The section section of roof isn't as steep, but it's harder to climb out the window. This bedroom has a casement window with a crank-out sash that's higher and smaller then the other rooms. I've done it many times before, though, so it only took a couple of minutes before I was outside. I repeated the cleaning process from one end of the roof to the other, then went inside. My bucket was now three quarters of the way full.
Even if I wanted to clean the last set of gutters we don't have a ladder tall enough, so all I could do is hope they weren't too dirty. When I started my job the sun was in and out of the clouds, but by time I finished the wind was picking up and sky was looking pretty grey. I'm glad I remembered to do this project now, and not after it gets cold.