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Friday, September 4, 2015

Dirty Job Accomplished

 Every year there is one job that exceeds all other jobs in dirty, dangerous and a test of my courage. That is cleaning the wood stove thoroughly and cleaning the chimney and lastly the wind cap. It requires hauling a heavy 40' ladder up to the house and then struggling with it to get it on the side of the roof. The top of the chimney is about 32' high and the ground is hard and rocky. Because the house is an A-Frame it is very steep and when I arrive at the top of the ladder I have to turn around on the ladder and face out. Because I am only one little slip away from a near straight fall I wear a climbing harness and attach myself to the top of the ladder with a very strong rope.
 Above I am bringing the wind cap down to clean it which is the photo below. We use creosote sticks through out the winter and they make cleaning the creosote very easy. We can clean the chimney from inside the house but the wind cap requires a steep climb. Folks ask me if I'm scared to climb up that high and that steep. I would be lying if I said I wasn't because that is almost straight up and very high. But it needs to be done to keep our wood heating system safe and I've tried to hire in the past to have it done but it seems it is never done as well as I like it done. So I swallow my fear and climb up and clean it very well so I don't have to worry about doing it for another year.
I think I am getting a little to gimpy to be doing it many more years. I could wait until there is 6' of snow piled along the side of our house but still that snow is hard so I'd just as well do it this time of year when the wind isn't gusting. Besides I always enjoy the sense of relief that it is done and I'm still in one piece after having done it. That just may be what they call a high or rush because it is such a relief to tempt or risk fate and win. I usually save a ratty old set of clothes to use so I can throw them away after I'm done. I take them off outside and go straight to the shower. Creosote and soot seem to smear every where and it is good to get them off my body as soon as possible. One more dirty job done and won't have to worry doing it again until next year.  For now - ahhhhh it's done.

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