Every clever cottager has a first aid kit handy. It’s a good idea to keep emergency supplies around for your roof too. The storm that drops a branch through the lid of your cottage won’t call ahead to remind you to stop at the hardware store on the way. Put aside a few extra shingles or an extra section of sheet metal roofing, plus a roll of flashing, a tarp, a tube or can of roof tar, some long roofing nails or screws, and washers.
For a quick, temporary repair of a small puncture in a shingled roof, slip a sheet of thin, waterproof material up under the shingles located above the hole. Use a piece of roof flashing, an unrolled section of stovepipe, or even a rubber floor mat from the car or boat. Secure the patch with roofing nails and tar.
When a large branch gores your roof, you need a stopgap—literally. Cover a gaping hole with plywood screwed into the roof deck, topped with a tarp. Unless you like a ragged sail-in-the-breeze look, roll the tarp’s vertical edges a couple of turns around 1×3 strapping. Screw or nail (with a washer on each fastener) through the wrapped strapping into the roof. The tarp should extend over the roof peak by a foot or two; secure that side the same way. Pull the tarp’s bottom edges taut; drive screws or nails through either large washers or, if you have any left, more strapping.