12.21.2009

On Snow Blowers

The Boston area was slammed on Sunday with the snowstorm that has shut down Washington D.C. Of course, it didn't shut down much in Boston, as we're old pros at handling a foot of snow, and this storm dropped nice, light, dry snow that was pretty easy to remove.

Still, such a storm would still have caused much of my Sunday to be dedicated to clearing our rather large driveway and all the stairs and walkways at least twice. And no matter how light the snow is, when there's a foot on the ground what ensues is an all-out battle with the snow plow. Just as I get the drive cleared, here comes the plow again, piling heavy icy, slushy boulders for me to hack apart and toss into an ever-growing mountain of snow at the end of the drive.

We got a lot of snow last year -- at one point the pile at the bottom of the driveway was over 8 feet tall, which is unprecedented in our 5 years in this house -- and every year I swear that I'll get a snow blower. But I never do, and I don't really mind it when it all comes down to it. At the very least, it's good exercise.

Well, this fall I got a wholly unexpected gift. Our neighbors up the street decided that they wanted a new snow blower; one with a headlight. So they gave me their old one, out of the blue.

"Hey C!" Tom shouted over the fence. "You don't have a snow blower, do you?"

"Nope, why?"

"You want one?"

It took some convincing for me to believe him, but who am I to look a gift snow blower in the auger? 24" clearing width, 8HP engine, pull start and push-button electric start. . . it's a few years old but in fine condition.

I built a small shed for my new toy by the driveway in early November (still don't have the damn doors on it, and likely won't until the spring) and then on Saturday I did some routine maintenance on it in preparation for its big debut. On Sunday morning, I was actually looking forward to going out and tackling the large, deep expanses of white stuff.

I went out at 9:30am, and by 10:30 I was back in the house warming up. My driveway was cleared, and all the plow-caused snow boulders were gone from my driveway and that of most of my neighbors.

Here's to technology and labor-saving devices, and to extraordinarily generous friends.

2 comments:

Roger said...

Looks like you got the same model I have. I love my snowblower. Sure beats shoveling.

I second your sentiment - here's to labor-saving machines!

Gus Van Horn said...

Snow. This is pretty much WHY I don't even want to own a house in Bean Town, so far.

We have friends here, another couple who moved from Houston when we did. They have a house, and it had a huge mound of snow at the end of its driveway last year. "How many man-hours does that pile represent?" I asked him one time. "Too many, " he replied.

He owns a blower now. Bought one, as would I, had I not stopped the hemorrhaging in advance by not buying a house. Knowing his luck, we just had all our snow for the winter!