Observations Made while Moving Snow

So, Dec 26-27 we got  five inches of snow chased by 65 mph winds. This left a respectable covering across the driveway at Redquarters, including two decent drifts*, one about 18″ deep and the big one that took up just under a third of the driveway and that was 3′ 6″ deep at the core. We practice artisanal, traditional, small-batch snow removal, meaning Dad and I spent a goodly amount of the late morning and early afternoon shoveling, with a 45 min pause in the middle. A few thoughts on the experience, which will no doubt be repeated frequently between now and late April.

  1. Snow is heavy. It gets heavier the longer you spend moving it, and the more it melts.
  2. 3X1hr at the gym =/= 2X1.5 hr shoveling snow. Not at all.
  3. You just think you are in good shape. Then you start clearing a driveway and walks.
  4. Pavement expands when snow is applied to it. It also contracts when you try to park extra vehicles on it, but that’s for another day.
  5. All drifts grow a foot deeper once you start shoveling at them.
  6. On the other hand, shoveling snow for three hours is a good way to get your mind off the mysterious aches and twinges your mind keeps trying to blow out of proportion.

6a. That is, unless you keel over from a heart attack while moving snow, in which case you probably should not have ignored the crushing chest pain, shortness of breath, and ache in your arm and shoulder.

7. What the drift looked like when I started:

Like this, but with pave. Small, harmless . . . From:http://wiki.fis-ski.com/images/Snow_drift.jpg

Like this, but with pave. Small, harmless . . . From: http://wiki.fis-ski.com/images/Snow_drift.jpg

8. What the drift looked like after 5 min of shoveling:

9. What it looked like after 90 minutes of work:

10 What I felt like when I finished:

The Mistress of the Shovel surveys her domain. From: https://pp.vk.me/c308726/v308726898/b794/KivADaZBQ18.jpg

The Mistress of the Shovel surveys her domain. From: https://pp.vk.me/c308726/v308726898/b794/KivADaZBQ18.jpg

11. What I did when I heard the forecast for snow that night:

*I know, my readers from snowier and more northerly climes are giggling like mad. For Dad and I, those were decent drifts to dispose of.


7 thoughts on “Observations Made while Moving Snow

  1. Winter before last, we had our first -40 degree wind chills in decades here in SE lower Michigan. I did manage to keep the driveway open enough to get in and out. (I had to get to work, after all!) Sunshine and re-freezing caused the pile at the end of one side of the drive to slump toward the other side, but we could still get in and out of the drive. My husband grumbled one time about the egress no longer being straight. He is physically not able to shovel snow, and so had not been out there doing it along with me. I told him that he was welcome to go buy a pickaxe and chisel away at that rock-hard ice and put it where ever he could find room (while I was at work), if he REALLY wanted the end of the driveway to be straight, but that after all the effort I had put in to just keeping it open enough to get in and out, I wasn’t going to do any more. He quit griping. 😉

    • I knew winter had lasted too long one year in Flatter-than-Flat State when I had to carry the shovel loads of snow around the side of the building because I couldn’t toss it any higher. That and the blizzard, ice storm, blizzard episode when I ended up chasing down a fuel hose by digging out from under the ice, jumping up and down to break the crust, tossing the chunks out of the way, digging out from under the crust . . . for 250 feet of hose the Chief of Maint had left laying out on Friday. Only after the hose was found and moved could the snowplow come in.

  2. I have a plow for my driveway, but I did more than my fair share of shoveling today. See I managed to roll a truck over the hill yesterday (with trailer and snowmobile attached, which came off the ball and miraculously didn’t roll). Today was spent in a recovery effort. Rather than winching it fifty feet back up the not quite vertical embankment it went down, I found a ATV trail a couple hundred feet below the truck, so I sawed and shoveled (about 2 1/2 feet of snow) a path down to it, chained up all four tires on the truck and after cutting a couple of trees and doing a little shovel work managed to drive it up the ATV trail to where the ATV trail intersected the plowed road. Which is where the work began, since the berm pushed up by the road grader was not only rock hard, but about five feet high, I had to dig through that in order to get back on the road.
    Overall I came out pretty lucky, the truck did a complete barrel roll, ended up back on its wheels, but the snowmobile and trailer, which remained attached by the safety chains, didn’t roll and were undamaged. No one was injured (I had three dogs inside an enclosed box in the back of the truck, which ended up underneath the snowmobile trailer, but protected the dogs) and while the truck is definetly dinged around the edges now, all the glass and lights are intact, the doors and everything work fine, and the truck is driveable, I drove it fifty miles home, today. And it was my old truck with over 350K on it, not the newer one I just bought a few months ago.
    I was contemplating retiring that Tacoma from regular use and putting a snowplow on it and keeping it as a plowtruck to upgrade from my ATV plow. That is looking like an even better option, now.

    • I think you just won the “got the year’s worst cr-p out of the way soonest” award. 🙂 Glad everyone came out intact, truck included! This ice berms are a bugger to get through.

      Maybe you should get one of the labels the local off-road club has for their members’ vehicles. They are printed upside-down and read “If you can read this, roll me over.”

      • I hope you’re right, because I would rather not have “worse cr-p” happen any time soon.

  3. Re: #6 – Because now you durn well what all those ached and pains are from.

    And 6a. I recall a doctor relating, roughly, “If I told someone to move a ton of bricks in half an hour, he’d rightly tell me to go to Hell. But that same person will try to move a ton of snow in half an hour.” Breaks and pauses are a Good Idea. But save the Snoe Shoe for AFTER everything is done and you are inside for the duration.

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