Sunday, March 4, 2018
March snowstorms here in upstate New York are frequently fierce. As the storm moves eastward we get frigid winds from the northeast and extra snowfall from moisture picked up over the ocean. What made this storm serious trouble for us was the mild weather that preceded it. Exposed ground like our driveway lost its frost. Moist goo characterized its consistency just before the storm hit. Rain was the first event when the storm system found us. Followed by snow, the resulting mess was too deep and too heavy for my machines to handle. The blower outfitted with high heeled skids would have left behind firmly packed snow about one inch thick. Wheel spin on that surface would trap and hold the tractor. We knew before the storm arrived that we would be forced to call a full sized truck with a large plow to open our path to the outside world.
We also knew that a great deal of the driveway surface would be plowed to the side with the snow. Traditionally, a roadway is built higher than the adjacent ground. Since our handmade lane cuts across a slope, in many places the shoulder is higher than the driving surface. That situation caused major problems for the truck driver. Given the nature of the complex curved surface he was plowing, the amount of gravel plowed is amazingly small.
We will see if I still feel that way when the displaced gravel is cleaned up. Today my toy plow was called in to clear the moisture filled snow that was left behind because of the adjacent high ground.
Here is the serious potential problem. All of this snow will soon turn into melt water and it will run downhill. Under the plowed snow and gravel is my totally inadequate drainage ditch. Ditch is far too generous of a word to describe the small depression that must direct this water downhill and away from the driveway. Here is another place where my lawn tractor was used to try and push back the huge pile of snow that was left directly over the ditch.
Here again the ground next to the lane is higher. Here again the ditch is filled with snow and plowed gravel. Today's effort improved the situation but it is certain that work done in the rain will be needed for me to direct the runoff toward where it must flow. These realities may explain why it is common practice to place a home near the road and to install an asphalt driveway.