Monday, October 10, 2011
Recently I told our landlady, Higinia, that the walls in one of our bedrooms were damp and that I thought it might have something to do with the little lemon trees that were trying to grow up from the tile roof. Time for roof cleaning! On Sunday Augustin appeared at my door and spent most of the day cleaning and repairing the roof. It's a two-layer roof, with a layer of lamina (the tin or plastic ridged material used everywhere here for roof coverings or house sidings) on the bottom and a layer of clay tiles above. Augustin looked under the clay tiles and found lamina with holes in it, replaced that, and cleaned out all the tiles and gutters filled with dead leaves. He also cut back the lemon tree, so today there's more sun in the patio.
With all that work to do, I thought Augustin might need some good tools, and brought out our "manly" tool box - reformed from its previous status as a wussy toolbox with additions found by Mitch Costin - a regular on our eye surgery mission. But all he needed, it turned out, was a big spoon (a trowel, actually) and a broom. The tile roofs are labor intensive but technologically very simple - and in this climate, very efficient.
I was away in the afternoon and came back afraid I'd find a total mess. Instead, Augustin had carefully swept the dead leaves and soil into one heap and the pruned leaves into another. There was a third pile of many, many lemons - but the lemon tree is still full and seems to respond joyfully to pruning.
This morning I was cramming dead leaves and soil into our compost bucket for the Monday organic pickup, and realized I had far more than I could put out. And then I looked at the pile again and saw....compost. That combination of leaves and ashes and dust has been sitting in sun and rain every day, ideal conditions for composting. So right now Martha is putting this lovely compost into our garden and bundling up the pruned branches. I know that before she leaves the patio will once more shine with cleanliness.