Thursday, November 27, 2014
Our geographic location in New York State limits the severity of many winter storms here. The great distance separating us from the Great Lakes usually spares us from heavy lake effect snow. Those storms drop most of their snow load before they reach us. Similarly, the coastal storms do not usually hammer us with large accumulations of fresh snow. A possible 10 inches of snow was forecast from a storm that started yesterday. That amount of new snow mandates that I plow twice or my machines will become mired with no easy way out.
Previous cold had frozen the surface of the lane solid making it perfect for plowing. Warm air and rain preceded the storm and the driveway thawed. Plowing was not a workable option so the snow blower was pressed into action. Wider than stock skids kept the bottom bar of the blower above the soft wet gravel. Wet snow does not make the high arching plume that looks so impressive and it did clog the auger but the lane was passable at the end of the day.
Plowing where the grass grows does no damage to the unfrozen surface. Snow covered cars are blindly backed from the parking spots to open ground. There the snow is simply brushed to the ground. When the car is cleared of snow, it is returned to its now clear parking space and the snow that was on the car is plowed to the side. In all things we try to work smart.
A wide combination of factors must remain in play if a person is to reach 70 years of age. I have long recognized the degree to which pure luck has kept me in the game. It was dark last night when the blower tractor was backed into the shed. The tractor barely fits inside of the shed and the doors latch from the interior. I was standing in the narrow gap with my back to the tractor while trying to latch the door in the dark. Suddenly I was falling backwards over the blower into the small space between the mower deck and the tractor. There was no skill or grace in play that sent the back of my head into the smooth green metal forming the foot rest rather than the various rods or brackets on the mower deck. It was once again pure luck. Did you ever have one of those moments when you can't decide if you are glad you fell when you were alone or wish someone was there in case you needed help? The thought of Becky trudging through the snow to fine me draped over the tractor like a deer on the hood of a pick up truck was enough to help me get up and into the house. In the daylight this morning the picture made it crystal clear just how tight a spot I was in.
We all recognize the degree to which I was lucky to have come out of this event largely unhurt. A new law has been enacted that requires me to stand between the blower and the tractor while closing the doors. It would have been better if I had seen that solution before I fell. In this case my sometimes miraculous good luck kicked in and we enjoyed a festive family Thanksgiving dinner in our home. It's interesting the things that make us realize how thankful we should be!