16 July 2011

On the Roof in Russia!


Life goes on in Russia, regardless of the economy, the government, and the weather... just as it does in America.  It’s comforting to consider daily challenges (big and small) and how Russians and Americans meet them.  Even something trivial such as roof ladders can tell a lot!

I know, there are roof ladders found everywhere.  But I bet they vary according to national temperament as much  anything else.  Here it’s typical to build your own, without much attention to what-if safety.

Come walk around the village and enjoy some observations about an arcane subject!  To me, the geometric design that results from roof ladders can be photographically appealing.  Take a look at the ways people build these crawlers.


You can tell a lot about someone by looking at his roof.  Seems this man has a fascination with electronics.  I have never seen a roof done with shingles in Russia.



Arkady, in his mid 80s, (across from our back lot) does all his own work, and is a fantastic gardener.  He spent time on his roof last year.  Notice he has the narrow part of the ladder down.



A well constructed ladder..but look at the small hooks holding it in place... just below.



They have a beautiful cottage, surrounded with trees.



This roof ladder is a faded memory, never used now.  The old man died years ago, and now just his two nieces, also from Petersburg, live here in the summers.




Yuri (who just had a well dug) has a one-vertical-piece ladder.  Photo below shows what might keep the ladder you are on from slipping off the roof.  The ladder’s wooden back hook is built arching over the vulnerable top peak.



Looks like someone has been up on Valentine’s roof recently.  The roof ladder has elevated cross pieces which will help you have a good toe hold.



This seems a typical handyman ladder held with over-the-peak metal hooks.  Looks too short and shaky for comfort!  I bet this ladder hasn’t been climbed in 20 years.



You could scamper up this roof, but watch the ladder or roof doesn’t give way!  This is the original house on the property where a new log house was built last year, just below.


Even the newest house in the village has a roof ladder.  A noble sign of work in progress!  The roof has yet to be finished.




Alexei and Gala, across the street from us, have the newest roof ladder in the village, built by their son-in-law.  I’m pretty sure it has extra nails and good joints.  I’d climb it if asked!




Luda has a simple ladder with what looks like store bought  hooks.


A few safety reminders for the casual roofer...

If you buy a clamp-on metal hook, use it according to this article... Roof Hooks  [hotlink], Painting Your House.

It’s an excellent idea to tie it to an opposing tree to keep it from creeping off.  The hook should not be on the ridge tile, but should rest on the other side of the roof beyond it.

A roof ladder keeps from sliding by surface friction and the strength of the opposing roof over the ridge top.  If the roof is rotten, that’s bad luck and a big danger. Someone pointed out on a forum that the crawler is to keep you from slipping, not to stop you once the unwanted journey starts!

Handymen and carpenters in Russia often refuse to wear work shoes, masks, eye goggles, as they feel they are sissified.  Consequently people wear sandals, old track shoes, or whatever when climbing trees or doing roof work.  If someone is injured there is no practical legal recourse for the worker, and the employer doesn’t  worry much about liability.

Here’s a gift to you from Ray Bradbury... “The Leave-Taking”, Saturday Evening Post, May 25, 1957.  Included in The Stories of Ray Bradbury. Publisher, Alfred A. Knopf, 1981, New York.  Also published as “Goodbye, Grandma”.  The complete short-short story  [hotlink]

   “Grandma, who'll shingle the roof next spring?” Every April for as far back as there were calendars, you thought you heard woodpeckers tapping the housetop. But no, it was Great-grandma, somehow transported, singing, pounding nails, replacing shingles, high in the sky!
     “Douglas,” she whispered, “Don't ever let anyone do the shingles unless it’s fun for them.”      “Yes'm.”
     “Look around come April, and say, ‘Who'd like to fix the roof?’ And whichever face lights up is the face you want, Douglas. Because up there on that roof you can see the whole town going toward the country and the country going toward the edge of the earth and the river shining, and the morning lake, and birds on the trees down under you, and the best of the wind all around above. Any one of those should be enough to make a person climb a weather vane some spring sunrise. It's a powerful hour, if you give it half a chance...”

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