St Croix River Road Ramblings

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Sunday, June 23, 2013

View from on High

The Cabin's flat top gives a nice view of the lake farther down the hill but requires a yearly expedition to the top to seal the leaks.  
"Oh fiddlestix" my grandfather would have said if he had been in my place.  I used an slightly more colorful term.  "I should have brought my camera.  The view of the lake from up here (top of the cabin roof) is quite spectacular!"  I have gotten in the habit of taking pictures of everything, and a roof patching job on top of the cabin would have been a new perspective. 

I had scrambled up the steep roof on my annual "tar the seams" expedition.   The cabin has a 3-foot wide flat top that has been a nuisance for the nearly 40 years since Margo, Dad and I built it.  

Why does it have the flat top? 

My lumber was sawn on our home sawmill--a 100 year old circular saw like grandpa used when he was in the saw mill business.  I had cut many of my logs at about 9 feet  and other at about 11 feet (aiming for 8 and 10 foot lumber).  I had many 11 foot 2x4s to make a shed roof with two 10-foot pitches.  

   Actually trying that, I realized that would give me no head room in the loft, and so by using them the full 11 feet with a 3-foot flat top, I got plenty of headroom for me in the middle and Margo along the sides.  

But, a few years after the first black roll roofing flat top  began to leak and needed a yearly swab with thin tar. Then nephew Bryce shingled the cabin and the top with roll roofing overlapped and for 10 years it was fine, but flat roofs just don't work too well, and it again needed the yearly swab.  

   This year, I bought two rolls of 6 inch, rubber stick down membrane to stick on the seams.  I got up on the top again (getting up seems to be OK, coming down the ladders is more of a problem--and coming down without a ladder even more!).  

   It was hot on the black roof, so I sat, feet over the edge and stuck down the rubber strips on the seams and worst spots.  Probably should have had enough to do the whole roof, but the repair should keep my side of the bed from getting wet from above.  I have a new knee obtained from falling off a roof 3 years ago, so am pretty careful now as I do roof work.  My new knee works pretty good, but for some reason feels totally strange to put my weight kneeling on it--so I don't.  That makes things harder to do--guess I need to try knee pads. Anyway, while I was up there I turned my TV antenna at where I thought the Twin Cities might be located as it had blown off in the wind.  I have this huge leaf covered maple directly between me and the Cities, and that seems to mess up my summer reception. (Reception got even worse--turning a TV antenna on top of a roof without a rotator really needs a wife down below giving orders). 

    At the recent Sterling Eureka and Laketown Historical Society meeting, we inspected the leaks in the east museum room ceiling. The old 8 room school house has a flat gravel and tar roof that has been leaking for a few years.  Those kind of roofs are really impossible to find where the leaks are, and patching is sort of hit and miss.   

   We decided to offer $500 as a contribution for repairs or replacement of the roof to see if we might stimulate others to kick in a little too and get the ball rolling.  I joked that we could spend $500 on buckets to put under the leaks or on the roof itself.  The leaks are gradually staining the ceiling tiles starting from the west side of the room and now moving to the center.  Flat roofs seem to be questionable in our climate!   Of course, the building is 60 years old and probably on its second roofing job. 

Brother Marv and Mom have those Certain-teed Curling shingles--the ones that were 30 year warrantied and last 15 years in the sun.  Dad put it on in 1996 and said "it will do me and Mom out."   In his later years he estimated fixes by whether they would last as long as he and Mom did.  Well, it did do him out, but Mom, at 91, appears on her way to 100. 

Marv is getting estimates, so I, as landlord of Mom's place, had him get one for her house too.  Hope to hear in a week or two and see if we can afford a roof that will do me out.   Tin seems popular now, the kind that has the nails covered.  It is probably twice the cost of 30 year shingles, but it is supposed to be a 50 year roof.  I am 66, and will make a guess that 50 years will do me out.  Kind of hoping it will last long enough so my son won't have to replace it either (he is 37). 

Ahead for the week--Monday genealogy day at the Luck Museum; T, W working in the Cushing Museum getting ready for the 75th Annual Sterling Settler's Picnic (Sunday -noon Potluck at the Cushing Community Center -- in the big room where the leaks have not yet reached), and then Mon-Wed of the following week at Danish Family Camp at West Denmark.  
   Margo is taking it easy at Pine Island.  She has some "sun burned" skin from radiation that is sore -- like the trip to Florida in mid winter where you spend too much time in the sun times 5.  
  She needs to take a picture of the lupines blooming there so I can post it.