Monday, January 28, 2008

Where'd all that snow come from?

We had snow yesterday. Although the local weather forecasters knew of a rather intense offshore winter storm, I don’t think any of them expected the storm that came ashore. And kept coming ashore. There were times when it was snowing rather hard and when it finally stopped, we had received about 3.5 to 4 inches.

Our driveway is nearly 400 feet long and we have a rather larger than most parking area in front of our garage. Thankfully, my neighbor Ed has a plow on his truck and so when he plows his yard, he takes care of mine, too. Especially on days like yesterday when the storm is accompanied by strong winds he is truly appreciated.

I do have a snow thrower on the front of my tractor which I use primarily for the walkway and cleanup near the steps and close to the buildings. But I hate going out in the very windy conditions we had after the storm ended yesterday. No matter in what direction I aim to chute, the wind changes to blow the stuff back in my face. So I decided yesterday to postpone the cleanup until today. Ed had the driveway down to black so it was an easy decision.

This morning, though, the winds were blowing even harder and the loose snow was blowing parallel to the ground. No way was I going out in that. I watched as the blowing snow pile up in front of my garage. The sun soon came out and our temperatures rose into the mid 30s. By about one o’clock the wind died down and the snow and garage drifts began melting. Little streams of water rolled down the driveway hill to a nearby brook and out into wherever that little stream flows.

My wife came home shortly after two and we decided that even though it wasn’t much, we should get it cleared out. So outside we went. The wind was no longer a problem. She moved the snow out a little from around the porch so I could easily move it with the tractor. Well, shucks, all that melting had made the snow very, very wet. The thrower on front wanted nothing to do with it.

There wasn’t much so I simply shut off the thrower and turned the unit into a plow. The area she was moving snow was quickly dispatched and then I “plowed” down the driveway to move the other drifts. Even the little rivulets were happy and flowed even more.

Now, about that thrower. When we first moved here, we had a Toro tractor which served as my lawn mower in the summer, among other things, as as my snow blower in the winter. It was a super machine. It was a single-stage snow remover. And wet snow through the dozen years I owned the machine didn’t faze it one bit. Shucks, it could almost be a puddle and that machine cleared it out. And it cleared it right down to the black tar. My driveway and walkways were beautiful within hours after a storm.

But the year-round use of a basically lawn tractor took its toll. A couple of years ago, the motor said, “No more, big guy.” I bought a new one, a John Deere. The tractor is super. I have one with four wheel steering and it does a great job…in the summer. But the thrower has become a blower…two-stage. It, to use the vernacular of today’s teens, sucks. If the snow has any wetness at all, which of course is a snow characteristic, all it does is clog that darned chute. And, unlike the Toro single-stage, it doesn’t get my driveway all the way to black. I need sun to get me there. I had always wanted a Deere. Now I tell everyone who would listen that it is a terrible winter machine. On more than one winter storm, I’ve wished I had my Toro back.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi-My name is Mark and I work with the product development team at John Deere. I would like to learn more about the problems you have been having with your snow blower. I can be reached at 919 804 2977 when you have a few minutes.