Auger and tongs on top of it all

When there are wild sunflowers and young mimosa seedlings growing in the gutters, it’s Spring in Austin and time to take action.

The sight of neighbors aloft yesterday inspired me to follow their example. Being up on the roof is never fun, except for the view, but it’s less un-fun if the skies are overcast and it’s not too hot and not too cold. Yesterday was as perfect as it gets.

At our house, the first-level roof is too tall for any ladder that we or our neighbors possess. It takes a crawl out one window or another to access the roof, and then the gutters are suspended from a very deep overhang, one on which only the merest sprite of a being would think of standing.

So it takes being flat on your belly with your arms outstretched to reach the detritus in the gutters in order to lift it out and pitch it overboard. Most of a person’s weight needs to be back on the roof proper. It’s sort of like what would be required of anyone called upon to rescue somebody who has fallen through the ice.

It was great to find some fresh impermeable work gloves on the laundry porch. There was standing water up there because two downspouts were clogged with oak leaves and flowers. Scooping out acorns, leaves, tree flowers, and redbud seedpods isn’t so bad, but the occasional dead anole, even if dried out, is best handled with gloves.

Opening the downspouts has been easy ever since I had the bright idea of using my trusty drain auger (plumber’s snake) from Deutchman Plumbing Supply on South First. After I had lifted out as many pressed-together chunks of leaves as I could reach with my wonderful locking chef’s tongs, I started cranking away. Whoosh! The consistency of the downspout’s contents must have been just right.

Yesterday I accomplished only a third of the work, and after the pecan blossoms drop, even that will need to be done again. Because it’s Spring in Austin.

Don’t try this at home, kids, without a spotter. You want somebody to be down there to do whatever’s appropriate in the event of a mishap, whether it’s to call 9-1-1 or just to pick up the pieces.

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