The winter storm plodded through these parts Tuesday and Wednesday. The first round dropped about three inches of very fine snow, or powdered ice. Shoveling that stuff was much like pushing sand. Very loose, very heavy and uncooperative.
We’ve got a 400 foot driveway. On of my wise-cracking co-workers calculated that this meant I had about ten tons of snow to clear. I told him to never tell me this sort of thing again.
Tuesday night, about the time I had cleared the day’s collection from the driveway, the snow turned fluffy and heavy, dropping another four or so inches by Wednesday morning.
I ached just looking at it. It had taken four hours to clear the first round, now it looked like I’d be starting all over again. This new stuff was wet and clumpy, which is better if you are pushing it aside rather than tossing it. The fine stuff fell back in on itself, like sand. This stuff reached out and clung to its brethren clearing a wider swath with each back wrenching shove.
A bitter irony, I had to take rare and precious vacation time to do this. I cold not justify charging for ‘working from home’ since I needed daylight primetime to shovel, and I’m not a clever enough liar to get away with being away from my laptop for an hour or so at a time and calling it ‘working’.
There are tips and tricks that make this task less excruciating.
1. Gravity is your friend. Our driveway climbs about thirty feet from our house to the road. Pushing snow uphill, even only a little at a time is. . . well its stupid. Start at the top.
2. Let mother nature help. Even on a bitter cold day, sunlight hitting black asphalt will melt ice and snow, as long as the sunlight can get to the asphalt. You don’t have to scrape all the way down. As long as there is as much asphalt exposed as not, the sun will be your friend as well.
3. Let you car thaw itself. While you’re out grunting and groaning, start the car, let it idle. Sure it ‘wastes’ gas (actually not, since you aren’t able to go anywhere you are only using gas that you would have used anyhow) and pollutes the ozone, or whatever, but that’s your grandkids’ problem. Maybe with more global warming there will be fewer snowfalls in the future.
4. Enlist the dogs’ help. Actually this does no good whatsoever. Dogs either love or hate snow, but none of them seem the least bit motivated to push it out of the way. They do like to change the color of it though.
5. Enlist the family’s eager and willing assistance, by force if necessary.
6. Work smart, not hard. A smart person can significantly reduce the urgency for shoveling ten tons of snow by parking at least one vehicle at the top of the driveway before the snowfall accumulates out of control. (Duh!)
7. Have common pain relievers on hand. Your choice. Feel free to combine them liberally, if they were unsafe they wouldn’t sell them over the counter would they?
After all.. It really is beautiful out here in the woods.