019 I’m fixing this roof alone

019 I’m fixing this roof alone

A few weeks ago, I adopted a neglected piece of land. There is endless work here but also endless potential. My hands are itching to get into the soil, build beds, and start the actual garden. Before I can do any of that, I have to fix the garden hut roof.

The temporary fix I applied (and then repaired) doesn’t stay on for long but the rain didn’t seem to want to stop. The roof was getting urgent. So, despite rain always on the horizon, I started to open up the roof.

The old roof is falling apart in a lot of places and I didn’t know what to expect underneath. Would I need to replace any beams? I certainly hoped not. Lumber prices already made the roofing supplies a major expense.

The old nails were really, really stuck. My first attempts to open up the roof were more of a fight than construction. Most of the nails wouldn’t budge–not even when I got the crowbar with the much longer lever out.

So I tore around them.

At this point, fighting while still on firm ground, I wondered how I would deal with the upper half of the roof. I would not be able to just lean with all my weight and power there.

Someone had placed Styrofoam boards between the roof layers. A lot of this construction feels haphazard but it might also have fallen apart unevenly over the years. After all, it’s been eight years since anyone even cared about this land. The neighbors think the hut is at least twenty years old.

Animals had taken apart the boards over the years leaving a dusting of small pieces of plastic foam behind. I didn’t want to add all that microplastic to my land, so I collected as much of it as possible.

After finishing the first round of work, I covered the opened roof with some construction foil. Ah, how naïve I was. It should have given me a hint that my temporary roof fixes never stayed on. The storms are strong here.

The next storm pulled the foil off the roof and I collected my first rainwater. It’s a shame I couldn’t actually collect it. But it gives me hope for the rainwater collection system that will be part of this roof when I am done.

No wonder my flimsy foil didn’t last if the storm brought down parts of the hazel that has been leaning against the house. I had cut a few branches. The storm cut more. They needed to go but I had planned a more controlled approach. Ah well, thanks storm.

After taking off the foil, I finally started on building things up instead of tearing them down. The first wooden board went up.

It felt so good, a proof of concept. I could do this! I can do this!

Working alone is calm and meditative but can also sometimes be a bit tricky. Creative planning is often necessary and things don’t always go as planned.

But I am learning, building muscles and skills. The second row of wooden boards went up over the next few days, and it felt good. I was still working near the ground but I was getting more and more confident.

I picked up the rest of the roofing supplies a few days later. The first half of the roof is opened up by now, a third row added. But more on that in another episode.

So long, and thanks for being here.