Thursday, February 4, 2021

Big Job Small Tools

To date 2021 has featured nearly nightly snowfall, no January thaw and Covid induced isolation.  Three times the snowfall was sufficient to exceed our ability to remove it leaving us trapped on site.  The recent storm required hiring the plow truck again to give us access to the highways.  That was followed by overnight small snowfalls that were well suited to our machines.  Bright sunshine followed their use revealing some of the gravel surface of the lane for the first time in weeks.

A snow blower may likely have a problem with this gravel surface.  Wishing to avoid replacing shear pins, high heeled skids were fabricated to raise the blower one inch above the ground.  Broken pins are rare but a strip of firmly packed snow is always left behind when this machine is used.  Our system is to plow the snow to the center of the lane.  Then the blower throws it well beyond the plowed snow bank that closes in on the lane.  Additional trips with the plow scrapes remaining snow away.  Today the sunlight is exposing the gravel.  A freeze will follow overnight creating strips of smooth slippery ice.  Having previously lost my footing landing on the back of my skull, I will not walk here until the ice is gone or covered with new snow.  The tractor provided safe passage to the mail box.

Our land is on the eastern side of a south flowing river.  To gain land that sloped to the south for our home, we had to cross nearly one quarter mile of messy glacial till.  When we were younger and felt that we were invincible, that long driveway did not seem like a problem.  Indeed, I frequently hand cleared the entire distance using a people powered hand pusher.  This reverse curve at the top of the long hill gives some the chance to power slide around the curves.  The child within lives on.

This third curve curve moves us to the top of the hill where the house and gardens were placed.  The huge piles of snow are the work of the plow truck driver.  He plows the lane wider than usual so that my garden tractor has a place to deposit the snow that it moves.

Our vehicles and the house are next to an area that is kept clear for no logical reason.  Winter hungry deer and birds feed here while the distant snow pile leaves room for the next snowfall.

 This is our plow tractor.  I am certain that the target market for this machine is suburban homes with short flat asphalt driveways and small lawns.  Moving straight ahead, this machine can move quite a mountain of snow but pushing it to the side is where it falls short.  The tan wooden handle behind the center of the plow is not original equipment.  As sold it was possible to change the angle of the blade while seated.  That feature failed soon after we bought the plow.  This replacement requires leaving the seat of the tractor but has otherwise worked well.  The continuous snow cover has admirably protected our plants but we would welcome enough of a thaw to clear the lane making it safe for foot traffic. 

1 comment:

Beth at PlantPostings said...

We're having a snowy season down here, too, although I'm glad with the subzero weather forecast in the week ahead. Your tractor looks like a good tool for some situations. We have a suburban driveway, so our midrange snowblower works well. Stay warm and safe during the cold snap!