We finally got some snow around here this winter. Well, it has snowed a bit but less than the average winter. It’s been pretty cold out but it has warmed up just enough for rain to fall most times when we’ve had precipitation. We got about eight inches of snow which is a pretty good February storm. I’d call one to four inches a small storm, five to eight inches a good size snowfall, and nine to twelve a whole lot of snow. Anything bigger than that and we probably have a blizzard going on.

The supermarkets the night before a predicted snow storm are a sight to behold. Everybody goes shopping and you’d think it was the end of the world. A snow storm rarely lasts more than a day here in downstate NY but by the people shopping for food you’d think everyone was going to be housebound for a month. I try to avoid shopping on those days but I happened to be at the store the night before. I’ve seen it crazier but it was still a bit of a madhouse. There was a guy with his mother in front of me buying a million cans of soda. He was trying to get his mom to hurry along a little because he was parked in a no parking area. I had no idea why he was parked there. I had just come from the lot and there were spots fairly close. His wanting to rush did add to the crazy atmosphere. Maybe he parked there for the ambiance.

Cleaning up after a snow storm is always a chore. My John Deere riding mower has a plow for pushing snow but the walks need to be shoveled. I got out there shoveling in the middle of the storm because I’d rather clear four inches of snow off of the path twice than eight inches once. I probably cleared five inches than three but who knew when the storm would end? Luckily it was light fluffy snow and shoveling was fairly easy. The second time I cleared the walks the snow was starting to get less fluffy so I’m glad I got to it right away.

Starting the John Deere in the winter can be tricky. The cold drains the battery so I have a charger that plugs in to an outlet and charges the thing. Still I find it tricky to start. It usually takes me three tries with ten minutes of charging in between. I’m mechanically inclined, know how to build things, can take things apart and put them back together, am good with gadgets, but I have no feel for starting up engines. I don’t apply enough choke, apply too much, pump one too many times, and I don’t know what else. For some reason that part of machinery escapes me.

When I went to start up the tractor to plow the battery wouldn’t give me more than one crank. That’s unusual. I put the charger on and left it for an hour. Then it again gave me one crank. I put the charger back on for a couple more hours and it again only gave me one crank. Really odd. I put the charger back on and began to test it every ten minutes. It gave me two cranks, then three, and the battery began to hold a charge after another few times. Finally the thing started. Once the battery began to hold a charge I knew it would start but I have no idea why the thing wouldn’t hold a charge to begin with.

The snow was the most perfect snow for plowing I’ve ever seen. It wasn’t as powdery as it was a few hours earlier but it was still light yet held together well. Plowing powdery snow gets messy as it flies everywhere and you can only push so much of it as it doesn’t stick to itself. It spills around the plow blade. Pushing heavy wet snow is also tough. It sticks together but can quickly build up more weight than the plow can push. Wheels start spinning. But this snow was light and held together well. I could clear it in two passes rather than four. Nice.

The plowing was especially good on the top of my driveway. That’s the part where it’s steepest and the snow from the road is heaviest. I’ve gotten stuck up there before in heavy snow less deep than this so it was nice to be able to easily push it aside. All in all the driveway and walks were cleared more quickly with less effort than usual. Not bad I say. I’m still not going out to play in the snow though. I wonder what the Eskimos call that type of snow?