Sunday, March 3, 2013

Turbine Trouble

Our small farmhouse has four turbines on the roof (among other things).  They are designed to take the heat out of the attic space.  I guess they work.  I haven't checked the attic temperature to see and don't plan to.  I will just take the experts' word for it.  I think I need to qualify my statement that they work...they work when they are working...if you know what I mean.

We recently experienced the "Blizzard of Oz" which was snow accompanied by some really high winds and I found one of the tops of one of the turbines in the front yard.  It was broken and bent.  Pop is the one who knows about these things, not me; and since he was out of town, I called to tell him to see what needed to be done.  I did know that without the twirly-gig top, rain (and possibly other things) could get into the attic.  Before I called him, I checked the weather forecast and was relieved to see that there was 0% precipitation coming while Pop was gone.  I mean, it is cold and windy out here anyway, and I'm sure it is even colder and windier on the roof.  Please...don't make me go up there!

Well, Pop doesn't believe the weather forecast all the time (neither do I, but I sure wanted to this time) so he told me I would need to go up there.  He said I would need the BIG ladder as it was the only one safe to use...I would need to take some plastic up there...and secure it over the gaping hole left by the missing twirly-gig.  I told him I wasn't sure I could handle that ladder.  He said maybe I should call EJ to see if he could come out, but after talking to Farm Chick, I learned that he has been working a lot lately.  Hmmm. put on my fancy pink farm girl coat and my roof shoes (okay, there's no such thing...I put on my hiking shoes coz I figured they worked well at Yellowstone and should keep me from slipping off the roof), and I put on my "Handy Grammy" attitude.

The ladder wasn't as heavy as I remembered it.  I carried it out of the pole barn and put it against the house (carefully avoiding the snow).
I gathered up black plastic, some wire, my wire cutters, and my work gloves and went out there.

I stuffed all my supplies in my pocket since I was nervous about climbing the ladder anyway...and climbed up.  I also had my phone in my pocket to take pictures...partly to share this adventure on the blog and partly so there would be some evidence of what caused my accidental injuries and/or untimely death if I didn't make it.  I'd hate for my family to think I was just partying on the roof.

So I carefully climbed up and took a picture of the turbine missing its twirly-gig.  As I took the picture and assessed my position on the ladder versus the roof I wondered how in the world I would safely get on and off.  I am much better at getting on the roof than off.  Getting off scares me a little.
I decided to move the ladder over near the chimney so I could at least have a chance of grabbing on to something if I needed to.  I congratulated myself on not being too hasty and thereby hurting myself.

I couldn't avoid putting the base of the ladder in the snow but I decided that would be okay.  Falling off the roof into the snow surely wouldn't hurt as badly as falling onto the hard ground, right?  So up I went.  I felt like Dr. Seuss' Yertle the Turtle...being on the roof offers a nice view of the farm and the neighborhood.  Okay...I had my bearings...I was up safely...I had the things I needed to affect a temporary fix.  I documented the broken turbine when I realized I was not on the roof alone.  Our ladder-climbing farm cat, Snowball decided I could use some help.

Silly kitty.  

She did her own survey of the damage.'s the problem.  She quickly lost interest and did her own version of Yertle the Turtle.

So I got busy and put the plastic over the hole and wired it on.  

Then I headed over to work up the courage to come down the ladder.  Snowball came over to the ladder too; although I don't think she was ready to come down from her rooftop experience.

It occurred to me that I was not only going to have to get myself down from the ladder...I had to get Snowball down as well.  So I clung to the rock (not kidding) and got myself in place and called the silly kitty over.  She objected a little but I grabbed her and held her close to my chest with one hand and spoke softly to her as we worked out way down (okay, maybe I was talking to myself).  

We made it!  Pop will be so proud of me when he gets home and sees my handiwork...and the blog post...and me in one piece.  Whew!  Handy Grammy strikes again!


  1. Way to go farm girl! I'm still puzzled how you were able to get the cat and your leg in that photo on the way down. You are amazing.

  2. Brave Woman! Enjoyed the humorous retelling of your adventure.