two thousand twenty
Subscribe to Wayne County Life RSS post feed
Subscribe to Wayne County Life RSS comment feed
Subscribe to Wayne County Life by email
Wayne County Life on Facebook
By John Addyman
   I am learning that running a snow thrower is a contact sport.
   Our house in Newark faces northeast. What that means, in this weather, is that the wind blowing off Lake Ontario sweeps right down my front sidewalk and right across the driveway.
   And when you operate a snow thrower that’s pushing a stream of snow ahead of you in that wind, you get little ice crystals in your eyes and nose and beard and ears when the wind blows it right back at you.
   My neighbor Mary caught sight of me Tuesday afternoon after I’d spent some time battling Glacius, the god of snow.
   “You look like the abominable snowman,” she told me. And she walked off, thinking whatever museum directors do. The front of me was all white, head to toe.

   My neighbor across the street, Paul, has a snow blower. He’s an engineer. I think he has to be, because his snow blower looks like it was built in 1932 and he’s kept it repaired and oiled and happy ever since. I’ve never seen a snow blower with such a simple design and such a big intake. It looks like something you use to drive over and detonate land mines.
   And his snow blower appears to be self-propelled, so Paul fires the monster up and it gobbles snow at its own leisurely pace. Paul stays busy twisting and turning all manner of levers and switches and knobs and things – he looks like a fireman keeping a locomotive running at top speed.
   For awhile, I had snow blower envy.
   When we moved in and got greeted with our first lake-effect snowstorm, I went right out to look at snow blowers. They looked big, complicated and expensive. I could picture myself trying to start a recalcitrant snow blower at 5 a.m. some morning and the snow blower having none of it.
   So I went with the snow thrower. Electric. Half the cost of the snow blower, and hundreds of pounds lighter. Plug it in and go.
   Problem was, the first time I used it, I ran out of extension cord real fast and had to charge out in mid-snowstorm to get another long cord.
   And where Paul’s monster can chew up a depth of about 20 inches of snow, clearing a path almost a yard wide. My little snow thrower clears an area about 18 inches wide and is great for depths of seven or eight inches. After that, I’m in trouble. So Paul goes out in the elements about half as much as I do. But my little snow thrower can go as fast as I can push it in the snow, where Paul’s monster chugs along at its own sweet pace, thank you.
   Still, I look at Paul working that thing in a very professional manner and I kind of wish I had one. At least I did until Tuesday after Mary laid that “abominable snowman” crack on me.
   I got in the house, peeled off my hat, scarf, gloves, turtleneck and jacket – all of them caked with snow. I grabbed some hot chocolate and went into my office, from where I have a good view of the street…and there was Paul, out there battling the snow on his driveway and sidewalk.
   And my envy grew deeper…
   Paul has a LIGHT on his snow blower.  A LIGHT! Now I know I’m really second-class.
   I watched him do his driveway. Slow, wide swaths with the monster scarfing up the snow and blowing it out the chute. Then he started on the sidewalk.
   All of a sudden, there was a big cloud on Paul’s sidewalk, and it was moving slowly from my right to my left – into the wind – with a little light in the middle of it. Paul was somewhere inside that cloud!
   Then it struck me: Paul’s big old monster was eating up big piles of snow, happily propelling it out the chute, and the wind was blowing the snow right back in Paul’s face. And because he has this big old powerful snow blower, he was moving a lot more snow – and getting a lot more blown right back in his face. Like I said, snow blowing is a contact sport.
   At the end of his neighbor’s sidewalk, Paul turned around…at least I think it was Paul. It was someone with a whole lot of snow all over the front of him.
   I almost called Mary…


You can make a comment, or trackback from your own site.

5 Comments to "OUT OF MY HEAD for Dec 15 2010"

  1. Anonymous Said,

    Hi John,
    I have had my electric Toro, which I believe is what you have, since '05 when I lived in Camden, NY which is the heart of the snow belt and it took on everything the lake could throw at it.
    It has a handle on the main body so if the snow is say, 2 1/2 feet, you can start a hole so to speak, by lifting the machine and skimming a layer or two. From there just work forward in bites til you get your first pass done. After that, make your passes using half of the intake. The snow being so deep you need to do this so that the deep snow that can't go in, falls to the clear half of the path and you're all set.
    My machine is a little rusty by now. When I see spots starting, I coat the spots with a thin coat of roofing tar.
    These machines sure beat dealing with expensive gas, not to mention oil changes, dealing with bad carbs or sparkplugs, and all else that go with the gas ones.

    Posted on Wed Dec 15, 02:34:00 AM EST

  2. Gil Burgess Said,

    It does take practice, but, overall I think the snowblower saves a lot of time. Although, I'll admit that their are moments when I think back to my father's frequent comment: "It's almost easier than shoveling!"

    Posted on Wed Dec 15, 10:41:00 AM EST

  3. Anonymous Said,

    Gil shoveling is not part of your household chore work out idea?

    Posted on Fri Dec 17, 10:10:00 PM EST

  4. Gil Burgess Said,

    Yes, but, it depends on the depth and stickiness of the snow! And, even when I do use the snowblower, there's always some shoveling to be done.

    Posted on Fri Dec 17, 11:02:00 PM EST

  5. Anonymous Said,

    Nice thing about living in the country. I hardly ever shovel or snow blow because most stuff you can drive over or walk over. No social pressure here! I have not done either yet, have a 4 wheel drive truck!!! Last year I used the snow blower only one time. Febuary there was no snow.

    Posted on Sat Dec 18, 12:56:00 AM EST


Post a Comment

Most Viewed - Last 30 days

Going Green

Church Life