Houses are money sinks. Just when you get something fixed, something else needs your attention. This year, I've been lucky to find people willing to do things I can no longer do. One of those things was cleaning the gutters.
Prior to May, I don't remember when I last had them cleaned. On the north end of the house, in the front, small trees had taken root. Birds loved the gutters because bugs moved in. I would hear them digging around and would see the flying of debris as they emptied a spot and ate the insects. Squirrels had also taken to burying nuts in the gutters. I could always tell when this happened by what I'd find on the deck or front porch.
I kept telling myself that it didn't take much to get up there and clean them out. I have a ladder. I would just need to get some latex gloves to put under a pair of garden gloves I really didn't like very much and I could clean out the gutter myself. But climbing a ladder is difficult. I feel so unstable now and the need to climb to the top of the ladder made me very uneasy. I can wash windows because it's 2-3 rungs, but climbing 4-5 was a problem. Fortuitously, Pam was given a flyer from the son of one of her co-workers. He would clean gutters and do other yard work, including mowing and weeding. I took him up on the gutter cleaning.
What a mess.
It was a rainy afternoon when he showed up. I told him he could postpone the job but he said he was going to get wet anyway so rain didn't matter. This was the debris in the gutter section over the door. It was nasty; black and decaying. The smell was "ripe". He had a power washer and, after removing the debris from the gutters, cleaned the front steps and the deck. It took him a couple passes to clear everything off. In washing down the deck chair, he actually cleaned it. I was impressed.
The next day, I used power scrub for one final pass.
I didn't get the deck sealed, I just had too much to do this summer and I actually wanted to use my deck; sit on it, enjoy myself, and not spend a weekend painting. It needs to be sealed and it needs another thorough power washing.
The best part is that the heavy rains of the summer have actually gone into the gutters and down the downspouts as they are supposed to do, not slide straight off the roof. If the gutters are clear, a heavy rain helps to flush out any debris which might accumulate. The pine trees on the north side of the house sluff needles in May and that can clog gutters if there is anything in them. This year, nope. My gutters are clear at the start of fall. I probably should look them over before winter, once all the leaves have fallen, just to be sure. Clean your gutters, folks. You'll thank yourself even if the squirrels complain they have no easy place to bury food for the winter.