Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

The Terrible Tree

As I wrote yesterday, Lisa spent several hours hacking away at the tree that was sitting on the roof of the old house. She has cut it back considerably, but now we are stuck.

This close-up shot may not give you a sufficient appreciation of the challenge. The edge of the roof is approximately ten meters above ground level -- that house is (including the attic) three stories high, and the roof is insanely steep. Lisa says her great-grandfather was worried about snow buildup, which turns out to not be a problem, but he didn't know that when he homesteaded the place. As built, the roof was easier to access -- there used to be a second-floor porch that went clear around the house and a permanent ladder attached to the roof, but those were removed many years ago, and it's a major production for us to get any work done up there. It's no wonder that roofers have quoted vast sums of money to fix the roof that make the hundreds of dollars we've spent on roofing supplies seem trivial by comparison.

Lisa has cut back most of what was on top of the house, and most of the foliage she could reach with the handy hand-saw. (Nearly thirty years she's had that saw, and it's never even needed sharpening. Those Finns make good saws!) The end of the truncated tree now sits around two meters from the edge of the roof. But now there's almost nowhere Lisa can perch to cut another piece from it. If we could somehow cut about two meters more from the top of the tree, we think it would swing free of the house and land below. Now it wouldn't be harmless -- it would surely smash up the PVC pipe framework that holds an awning below, but that's easy to repair by comparison -- but it would certainly be better than the hundreds of kilos of weight now resting on the none-too-steady roof.

Lisa has an idea about getting it off the roof, but she doesn't know exactly where to get the necessary materials -- in particular, we need another long, heavy rope, probably at least as heavy as her current safety rope, and a bunch of pulleys. She thinks she could run the ropes from high in the redwood tree, tie one end to the fallen tree, and use the mechanical advantage of a block-and-tackle rig to lift the end free of the roof, then swing the loose end clear of the roof. If that didn't cause the other end of the tree (still attached at its base to the parent trunk) to fall free, we could at least lower it to the ground in a controlled fashion. However, we can't use the existing safety rope for this purpose because she needs it for climbing -- she'd be attached to that rope while rigging the rest.

We only have one more day of clear weather -- there's now a chance of rain forecast for tomorrow -- so it looks like we'll not be able to get anything else done with the Roof Tree today. But since we have the roof ropes rigged up and the ladder in place, Lisa hopes to go up there again (once the sun has melted the frost on the roof) and lay down plastic sheeting over the gap in the goop she laid down over the east end of the roof earlier this year. It's too cold to apply more roof goop, but at least stapling down some plastic sheeting may keep rain from entering this section, which it clearly is because the roof still leaked even after all of the other sections at that end were sealed.
Tags: lisa, mehama, roof
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