Monday, April 09, 2007


Today was a just-right sunny day with a bit of cooling wind so I decide to take a break from hauling and splitting, and clean the rain gutters instead, this time in advance of rainy season; usually I do it in severe downpours, which says a lot about my character.

My old character, that is, since now that I'm doing the task ahead of time, I've clearly turned a new leaf. But I've done that before, so I'm not really fooled - though it feels good nevertheless - and at the next heavy storm I'll enjoy staying inside and watching the downpour instead of cursing and wondering where the hell I put my poncho last year.

So it was that from early this morning I was climbing ladders and dangling from various eaves around the house, working to foil the collaborative attempts of the wind and all these trees to jam their leaves and needles (oaks, cherries, cedars et al.) into the narrow rain gutters, which they do with impressive ingenuity. I've devised a series of stepped screens in the gutters, but I can see that the elements and the forests are evolving hard to get around my tricks and clog up the main downlet.

So I have to be the Edison, the Einstein, the very Argus of raingutterists if I am to have anything I can rely upon to gutter the rain, I muse as I hang one-handed from a corner eave with one foot on the ladder in a stiffening wind, bending a gutterscreen into place, but how does that differ from anything else in life I muse a moment later as I reach barehanded into the sludge-filled gutter and scrape the contents out onto the ladder, the deck, myself and some laundry Echo hung out there that I didn't see. Have to tweak the system for that, and stay alert.

Our jerry built rain-drainage system also relies on some ground culverts: one in back into which the rain gutter empties, and one in front to catch front eave runoff, the whole then emptying via underground pipe into the culvert that runs down the roadside. But since the grade of the road is so steep, all the rain runoff flooding down the road toward us hits our road culvert and there deposits much of the upmountain sedimental downwash from paddies and forests, with hydraulic effect sufficient to lift the culvert grates high and shove them on downward or just bury them in place.

This sediment, though a curse, is also (with a lot of work) a blessing, because each Spring it provides me with wheelbarrows full of superior and naturally composted soil, with lots of earthworms who came along for the ride, made the culvert their home and began to raise their families in that ideal environment.

So as part of my rainguttering I have to clear the road culvert of its rich soil into the wheelbarrow and roll it back to dump on the garden, which believe it or not, brings me to my point, such as it is. I was getting out the soil using shovels of varying sizes and clipping off the long rootcables of bamboo that love to snake for meters along the culvert bottoms to new places, when I cleared a shovelful of soil and saw the back end of a hibernating frog sticking out of the soil in the bottom of the culvert.

Thinking I might have injured him with my huge metal monster of a shovel, I pulled the frog out of the muck and set him on a nearby rock in the sun to look him over. But in his desire for hibernation he was so sleepy and groggy he hadn't noticed a thing, and still didn't. At least he was still intact. The look on his face reminded me of the face I used to see in the mirror the morning after a fraternity party.

At least he'll get an early start this year, with whatever his equivalent of raingutters is.


Leonard said...

"My old character, that is, since now that I'm doing the task ahead of time, I've clearly turned a new leaf."

Ever the punster, you started me chuckling from the opening of the saga.

Annette said...

Must be a terrible way of waking up: too early, and with your bum on a public display in the cold air.

Maya's Granny said...

I'm so glad to hear that the frog wasn't hurt -- for industry to end in tragedy might make you wait for rain next year.

joared said...

Rain gutters! Reminds me of one more task that periodically needs being done here, though I only have one extending the width of the entrance to the garage. Think I'll let someone else take care of that for me in these coming years. We haven't had enough rain this year to clear any leaves out -- something about climate change. Have you heard about it??? ;-)

BTW I was forced into changing to the new Blogger about a month or so ago, when they suddenly ceased allowing me to access my old Blogger as I undertook to write a post one night. Since I'm a somewhat "newbie" blogger I felt initial terror that Murphy's Law would kick in once again. By some miracle everything worked smoothly. When you decide to take the leap, hopefully your experience will go as smoothly as mine.

Robert Brady said...

Thanks, Joared, I imagine they'll be sending PLM down that rabbit hole in the near future...