Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Snow tools

This New England winter will be one for the record books. January has already exceeded its totals, February has made a good start! For those outside the area, who don't deal with snow, you might ask: What tools do you use?

My first tools of choice are the two slightly curve snow shovels to the extreme right in the photo. If the snow is light enough and less than six or so inches, these two in combination can be used to push the snow along the driveway. Usually, I'll push from the center on diagonals to the edges where I'll use the scoop shovel (center of photo) to pick up the snow and put it on the bank along the edge.

When the snow is heavy or more than 6", I'll go to the heavy equipment and bring out the Sears Craftsman snow thrower we invested in a few years ago. We maybe used it once or twice a season, so it acted more as insurance than a real snow thrower. That is, until this year. I think I have used it for each snow fall we have had this season. It has certainly earned its keep this time!

This morning we woke to about 3-4 inches of light powdery snow. I used the two shovels to move the snow diagonally from the center to the edges, then with a couple of runs up and down the driveway with the snow thrower, all was done. I only needed the shovels for minor clean up.

This afternoon was a different story. The driveway remained pretty clear but the edge along the road had been dumped upon by the passing of the plows. With the mix of freezing rain we were provided today, it was a hard and pretty solid chunk. The snow shovels above were not going to budge that mess.

The ice called for heavier tools to deal with it. I used the ice edger or the long handled shovel to break up the ice/snow into chunks and then used the scoop shovel to methodically move it to a pile. Methodically, yes, careful lift technique to avoid back problems. Careful walking on the already slick driveway surface to the snow bank. Then a heave ho to get the stuff further from the bank edge. O chose to do that now, the next storm may come before long and I don't want the snow bank to be higher than the snow thrower can throw!

The smaller shovel (above) was used to clear the bottom of the ice/snow piles. Breaking up the snow and ice into chunks for the scooper to lift and deposit elsewhere.

One thing about New England weather, each storm is different. How to handle each batch of snow requires the variety of tools above. Like any good carpenter or electrician, their tool belt has many tools. Each tool the right one for the job. It is the same with New England snow.

If you use something different, what do you use?