I’ve got shingles.
You’re sympathetic? Thanks. But I’m talking about cedar shingles. I still need your sympathy. They’re all over the yard.
Last summer’s roofing project required removal of two layers of cedar shingles from the 1939 farm house. No doubt I wrote about the enormous task.
It was work, work, work to rip those old shingles off and to replace the 82-year-old felt and to lay down nice new composition shingles.
Truth be told, I still prefer wood ones. Yes, I saved a few hundred for cute little signs I plan to letter and sell at craft shows.
You’d probably need to win the lottery to pay for cedar shingles these days, standard or shakes. I don’t play the lottery so I’m out of luck.
If you roof a house, you need a lackey to pick up the ripped-off shingles and all the other stuff you drop from the roof, accidentally and on purpose. I was one lackey short last summer. Still am.
Anyway, if you’re understandably too tired to collect all the discarded shingles yourself and you leave them lying on a tarp or collected in leftover cattle supplement tubs and a little tornado blows through the following spring, you’ll wish you’d already hauled those shingles off. If wishes were horses, I’d need a big stable.
OK. Maybe it wasn’t a tornado. But the crazy wind laid down four trees, carried an empty metal stock tank over a fence and into the garage door – ouch – and took the roof off the tractor shed and carried it to the pasture.
It’s the kind of damage I always liked to cover as a reporter. Not that I wasn’t sorry for those affected, but spectacular storm stories are the easiest to write, especially if you arrive before the hail melts. People give you quotes. You get a few telling pictures in the dramatic glow of the about-to-set sun. It’s like storm-chasing not on steroids, I’d say.
Back to my shingles.
Maybe I would have picked them all up if I’d ever finished my summer roofing job. I got to a stopping point by fall. When winter comes and you spend time feeding cattle though freezing weather, you have an excuse for not picking up shingles. And not doing lots of other stuff.
The scaffolding is in place for me to finish the other part of the roof. It’s very substantial scaffolding built by my husband, project consultant.
He’s got three good reasons not to be the designated roofer: I weigh less, and he thinks his knees wouldn’t unbend at the end of the day. Were you counting?
Me, I’m not quite ready to get back to roofing. That little tornado should have sucked those remaining old shingles off the decking. Whoosh! In cartoons it would happen that way. Ah cartoons.
In closing, here’s a tip:
A five-tined pitchfork like those used in Western movies to murder someone in the barn is also perfect for picking up old cedar shingles.
Hanaba Munn Welch is a correspondent for the Times Record News who divides her time between Abilene and a farm north of Vernon. Her columns, as a tribute to the Childress Engine 501, always contain, amazingly, 501 words.