Saturday, March 1, 2008

At last...Beautiful Black!

Yesterday I was patiently waiting for the arrival of what local weather forecasters called a massive winter storm expected to dump from 6 to 10 inches of snow on our area. Today I’m still waiting. Oh, my little section of Maine did get some winter weather, but in my yard the depth was closer to two and a half inches than six. That’s being kind. The weather folk did say there was a chance the snow might turn to rain along the coast, and they were right about that part. By 10 o’clock this morning, it was raining.

Before the rain came and before the snow had a chance to get too wet for my snow blower to handle, I went out about nine. I mentioned yesterday I have a very friendly neighbor who takes good care of me with his plow. His very long driveway joins mine to make one about 250 feet from our houses. But this morning with so little snow on the ground, I didn’t wait for him and headed outside myself.

If you’ve read any past posts, you know I haven’t had too many good words to say for my lawn tractor equipped with a snow blower for the winter. I once told you of a friend of mine who lives in Florida and talked me through adjusting the machine. Well, today I got the full happiness of that work. I can’t tell you why, but I treasure a black driveway in the winter. By the same token I treasure a fairly well manicured lawn in the summer. That’s a different story.

I first shoveled the two porches and moved the snow away from them and from in front of our garage doors so the snow blower could get it all cleared. Doing that work showed me that the snow, although not deep, already had begun to get saturated and was getting heavier and heavier. That didn’t stop my, though, and I drove slowly to the garage door when I dropped the blower. My tractor and I headed across the parking area and, much to my surprise, the path was wiped absolutely clean. Naturally it was wet, but there wasn’t a bit of snow on it.

Another pass. Same results. I had my hopes up as I slowly cleared all the snow from our black top. I drove down the walkway to the front door. I haven’t gotten it that black on one pass for a couple of years, actually since I bought this new tractor. But the snow was now just sort of dribbling out the chute. And it was raining rather hard. My time was about to expire, and it did. For one last pass, I had to use the machine as a plow to get the last remaining white out of the way.

My goal had been achieved for the first time in three winters. There was one small difference this day than from the last storm when I achieved limited success. I did get some black then, but places where my wife’s car and the neighbor’s plow truck had driven had packed the snow and the machine didn’t like to scrape. Today I got out before any other vehicle had violated my driveway. During previous cleanups for the past three years, the blower simply rode up over the snow always leaving a pile of shoveling and scraping behind. Not today. I had a black driveway. And the wait for this storm is officially over. As I looked out my window a moment ago, patches of blue sky and the sun was attempting to show as it began to set in the west.

I guess my friend taught me a couple of things this winter. One shouldn’t give up on a what should have been (and now I know is) a quality machine. But more importantly, with a little patience an old dog can be taught new tricks.

By the way, if you’d like to read some funny winter snow adventures, you should visit Sheepish Annie and scroll through stories of her adventures with her truck and the parking lot notices.


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