Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Snow Fun To Be Snowed In: Part 2

While Ed cleared the area where we park the car, I got the broom and began to clean the snow off the car.   I cleared the windows, but when I got to the top, I was only  able to clear the soft snow under the ice, the crust stayed put.

By the time I got to the back of the car I was becoming quite intrigued with the way the snow was just hanging there.  The defroster and heat in the car were beginning to make a difference.

I forgot how cold and tired I was and concentrated on my snow sculpture.  I thought it might fall apart at any moment!

I worked my way along the other side of the car.   I stopped for a few minutes and  sat in the car to warm my cold hands.  I didn't stay long since it was getting late and we were both ready to quit for the day.

When I finished  the hood I went in the house and got the camera.  By this time Ed had the cleared space ready for the car.   Being a tall person he had no trouble removing the ice from the top of the car.  He put the car back where it belongs, cleared up the rest of the plowed area and we went inside.  We were cold and we were tired, but now we could  go somewhere if we wanted to do it.  At this point we were happy to be back inside our warm home

Late at  night, just before bed I spent my time  downstairs with the cat.   I stepped outside the door for just a minute hoping to get a photo of the lunar eclipse.  Thin clouds obscured the view and only one star or planet shows in the picture,   I did not stay out long.  When I opened the door to go back inside Mithren came out but turned around immediately and went back inside.  He knew it was way too cold to be out there. When it is cold, snowing and blowing there is no place like home

Monday, January 21, 2019

Snow Fun To Be Snowed In: Part 1

We have been snowed in here before.  Last night when we went to bed we felt we were as ready as we would ever be and slept soundly in our warm cozy home.    We awoke to the sight  of white snow everywhere   The kitchen door would open only a few inches and then it was stuck.  The snow was a lot like a layer cake.  Fluffy white snow was the bottom layer.  Next came a hard crusty layer formed during the night when the snow changed to rain and sleet.  More light fluffy snow topped things off.  This was my place to start.

After breakfast Ed suited up and began to shovel his way out of the basement.  I took this picture with just my arm and the camera outside the kitchen door since that is all I could fit through the small opening.  I would be the first to admit that all that snow was a little daunting, but  Ed was determined to get to his snow equipment from the shed, and I was determined to get the kitchen door open.  At first I worked from inside digging at the base of the door with Mithren's kitty litter scoop. Then I could squeeze outside with a shovel. I found I had to break the crusty layer into pieces with the shovel.  I could lift the light snow, but the pieces of ice were heavy and I soon discovered it was easier and more fun to wing them over the railing like a Frisbee.

By the time Ed decided it was time to come inside to warm up I had barely cleared enough space to open the kitchen door and stand outside.  It was a start!

Our snow removal machines were never intended to be used on our terrain.  A level asphalt driveway would be perfect for our machines housed just inside of a garage door if the accumulated snowfall was limited.  The plow can push little more than one inch deep snow to the side.  More than that stays in front of the lawn tractor forming a growing ripple that extends for an amazing distance.  The blower always sends its rear wheels downhill into deep snow.  It becomes hopelessly stuck in the blink of a eye.

For this storm the first passes with the blower were made straight uphill moving out of the shed.  A careful move back into the shed was followed by another run up the hill.  In time enough snow had been cleared to begin moving across the slope towards the driveway.  Each short pass had to end with the rear wheels still on cleared ground.

Cleared ground is not an accurate description of what the blower leaves behind.  To avoid spending much of my time replacing broken shear pins because of my gravel road, high heeled skids were made to raise the scraper bar about one inch above the road surface.  The weight of the machine packs this snow left behind into a firm mass.  Spinning wheels quickly grind this snow into a wheel blocking raised mass.

The plow was needed to scrape the ground clean after the blower had done its work.  A good deal of shoveling was needed to free the plow for its short run onto the semi-cleared ground.

By making several short applications of each machines capabilities, a sizable patch of ground was cleared.  An obvious question of why presents itself.  Our propane truck driver is accustomed to finding enough clear ground to turn his truck around.  It is possible to back that truck up a nearly one quarter of a mile long driveway with an S curve and another curve but that is not the way we do it.  Besides it is an amazing sight to see that blower toss clear the piles that the plow leaves.

Ed had determined prior to the storm that his machines would be strictly limited to working the nearly level ground at the top of the hill.  Late in the afternoon the plow truck appeared and quickly finished the job that kept Ed busy for hours.

By this time I had finally cleared the deck.  Now the job of clearing the car and the truck needed attention.  I shoveled far enough to get the driver's side door on the Subaru open.  Ed backed the car out with his visibility limited to the driver's side window.  It had been steadily getting colder and so were we.  To be continued...