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Fall, such a beautiful season. For us it means lots of cottonwood leaves falling. Along with providing great material for mulching, they also fill up our gutters quite nicely. I paid a big price this past spring for not cleaning out my gutters.
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We have had a VERY wet year. “Very” even seems like an understatement. We have had to reroute our roads on the ranch around water that should have just been small puddles, but turned into giant ponds. We had a wet fall last year, and then a wet spring this year, and that went on to a wet summer, wet fall…you get the picture. Lots of rain.
In late spring we knew it was going to be a bad mosquito year already. I was trying to figure out why they seemingly swarmed around our front door, besides the fact that they were just waiting for us to come out.
I realized in the evenings when I would see the mosquitoes swarming around our eaves, that this might be where they are coming from. And why not? It was the perfect environment. It’s packed with leaves, damp, and nobody bothers them up there!
Save Your Plants!
The other negative aspect of having filled gutters is that when we get torrential downpours, my poor gardens along the house suffer. I have a row of bleeding hearts that run right along the gutter line, and if I don’t get my gutters cleaned out early enough in the spring, they get beat up pretty bad when the gutters overflow!
Some Things To Consider
While the method of cleaning gutters is pretty easy, there are a few things you want to take into consideration to make it safe and quick.
Safety is so huge. If you don’t feel safe doing it, then don’t go up the ladder! There are too many cases of people falling off of ladders and getting injured. It would be super helpful to have someone watch you or even hold the ladder, i.e. your husband, neighbor, etc.
Being a rancher, my husband is rarely around the house long enough to watch me clean the gutters. So my 2 year old kept an eye on me and kept saying, “Be careful Mommy!”
First, make sure you have a safe ladder! Nobody wants to fall off of their ladder or have their ladder malfunction on them!
The second thing you want to consider is where you will place your ladder. If you have a folding ladder that is tall enough for you to get to your gutters safely, then bravo. If not, make sure your gutters can withstand the weight of the ladder+your weight against them without denting.
Third, where will you put the leaves/debris once you pull it out? When I cleaned my gutters out this spring it was pretty well composted (Who knew! Compost in your gutters!). I set a 5 gal bucket on a shorter ladder and dropped the debris into it. I didn’t really want that yucky stuff on top of my gardens’ wood mulch.
This fall when I cleaned them out, I just dropped the leaves into the garden beds below. The leaves were still fairly dry and the gardens were already mulched with leaves from the yard so it made no difference to me.
The Gutter Cleaning Method
1.) Okay, step one. Put on some gloves that you don’t mind getting yucky.
2.) Climb up the ladder and start scooping.
3.) Watch out for spiders! This is a big one! You certainly don’t want a spider crawling up your sleeve!
4.) You can scoop into a bucket or just drop on the ground (just make sure you want it there!). You can use a short broom handle run through one of the rungs on your ladder to hold your bucket. They even sell a little handle just for this on Amazon!
5.) If my husband or my dad were cleaning out my gutters, they might pull a hose up and wash out the gutters to get any dirt out. I knew that we were getting a thunderstorm the night I cleaned mine out so I figured I’d let the rain do its job.
That’s all there is to it!
Simple simple. Do it yourself and keep the mosquitoes away!
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