Timely discoveries (even the mysteries)


Once or twice a weekÖ definitely once or twice a monthÖ I like to walk around the house and yard.

Itís something I began doing on my own. Years after it began, I was discussing my habit with my father, and he admitted to doing the same. He also shared a story about how my grandfather told him to start doing it when he bought his first house with my mother decades ago.

Itís just a general walk. Nothing really prepared or special. I donít have a checklist. And I couldnít tell you why, but each one seems to just naturally evolve into a certain focus, and usually a focus that I never expected.

I might notice some bees setting up flight patterns into a bush. Perhaps some flaking paint around a door frame. Iíve found deer tracks and loose window screens and mushrooms in the yard. Iíve found other things.

No two walks are ever really the same. Some lead to grabbing a paint brush, and others t breaking out a wheelbarrow.

A short time ago I made one of my first rounds since the true threats of potential snow faded away. We may still see some snow, and Iím actually kind of expecting more snow. But, with at least a small amount of hope in the air, I was wandering around the yard looking at things to do because the weather was improving. Things, for instance, like pulling down the snow fence.

Thatís when I spotted it.

A broken shingle.

Not just a torn or ripped or damaged shingle. A well-worn, if it was still on the house it would have been years overdue for replacing, broken shingle.

It was a weird discovery, but probably not for any of the reasons you might expect. First, it has nothing to do with my house or shed. Iíve looked, and everything seems in place and just fine in my areas of responsibility. Second, this isnít my first encounter with such shingles in my yard.

Last year, around the same time (while making a similar first-of-spring trek), I began finding some broken shingles scattered around the yard. They were on the lawn, and in the driveway, and in the drainage ditch. So, seeing them again this year is slightly concerning. ButÖ and this is where we hit the funny twistÖ

Itís not concerning for me. And, I have no clue who should be concerned.

We have a couple living on one side of the house that are a bit older. Their family helps out with things like snow removal. And, though the husband is out there occasionally riding a mower across parts of his property, a landscaping company arrives two or three times during the summer to cover the entire lawn in one swoop.

For us, however, there are a couple of trees in their yard that I pay attention to. Not because the trees are any concern. Itís the leaves.

When the fall arrives and the leaves hit the ground, they get left for a few days. In turn, being windy around here quite often, those leaves make their way into our yard. So, Iíve asked if itís ok, and every so often Iíll head over and drive my mower around their trees in a proactive effort to pick up the leaves while theyíre dry and easy to clean up (as opposed to wet and heavy and against the side of our house).

For our purposes here, itís the thought that counts and not the clearing of leaves. Because I want to bring this back to the roofing tiles. Iíve looked. Been in the neighborsí yard and looked. And on their house and side garage, there are no damaged shingles. Some worn spots that probably indicate a new roof is in order, sure. But nothing that explains all of the pieces in my yard.

And so, in walks and drives around, Iíve tried to occasionally take it slow and check out other nearby housesÖ

Nothing. Iíve got nothing.

Last year, I couldnít find a house that seemed to be missing sections of roof shingles. I didnít see brand new and perfection, mind you. I just didnít see large portions of exposed roof where shingles had been torn away.

And now, as I walked around, more pieces were found.

When I was a kid, the driveway at our house was breaking up. We eventually got it replaced, but for a year or two, every so often the kids would end up at the end of the driveway reassembling a jigsaw puzzle of sorts. I hate to admit it, but I even have foggy memories of breaking pieces apart and checking things out. (Probably contributed to it falling apart faster than it did on its own. AnywayÖ)

Over the years, at a few places where Iíve lived, Iíve seen signs around the community of wear and tear and so on. Trees falling down (or snapping in a storm). Stone walls collapsing. Chipmunks moving in. Occasionally I was out making repairs in my own yard. At times I helped out on a project for someone else. And other times things moved along without any input from me.

For the most part thoughÖ I had a bit of a feel as far as the pulse of what was going on. Not this time. Someoneís roof is in need of repair. But, outside of a magical start in Kansas and a tornado Iím unaware of sweeping past, Iíve got no clue which one it is and I really canít click my heels together any more to investigate.


If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at Bob@inmybackpack.com