Get Your Roof Rakes Out
We have been having a pretty good winter this year and a blog that I read yesterday by Sheila Anderson reminded me of a winter event from over 35 years ago when I was still in high school.
It was a good winter similar to the one that we are enjoying this year, though we were having a challenge finding places to pile the snow we never considered shoveling off any roofs, on many buildings it was considered to be useful as a layer of insulation and we trusted that our buildings were well built and designed to handle heavy loads of snow.
One day as I was preparing for the evening milking of our cows, I was filling the mangers with sileage so that the cows would have plenty to eat when they came into the barn in an hour.
The silo unloader generally worked a little slower than I did so as it built up a pile of sileage at the base of the silo, I waited until enough piled up for a few wheelbarrow loads and took a break to step outside and enjoy the cool air and practice throwing snowballs.
As I was turning to go back into the barn, I heard a loud snap behind me, this caused me to quickly turn around toward our smaller machine shed just in time to hear another “Snap, Snap, Snap” as another couple dozen rafters snapped just seconds before the roof whooshed in, and the walls exploded outwards with a gust of dust, snow, and wood splinters.
Its not often that you get to be there for a dramatic 30 seconds that move in slow motion. It left me counting my blessings that nobody happened to be working in that shed as it happened. At the speed of this collapse, it would have been impossible to get out in time.
We did have a few calves in one end of the shed, fortunately some of the equipment kept that part of the roof up a bit and the calves were laying down so none were injured or killed.
We did not have many valuable machines in this shed because it was old and the doors were to short for our best tractors and machinery, we did have one tractor, a corn planter and a grain drill in here along with a lot of small tools.
The tractor came out with only a bent steering wheel that would serve as a reminder of this day for decades, and the other tools and equipment sustained only minor injuries.
The next summer the shed was burned and buried and late that fall after the corn was harvested the neighbors all came over to help us build a new shed with a stronger roof.