Monday, December 21, 2009

Snow Preps

(The view from our yard after the 2009 Blizzard.)

Well, we were plastered with 22 inches of snow this past weekend. It was gorgeous and amazing to behold, and fun to go play in. My play consisted in shoveling out my walkway, deck, and top of the driveway. Below are my wintry thoughts and reflections on being prepared for serious snow.

1.) Shovel. I purchased a new industrial grade shovel at Lowes before the storm hit. It's not a snow shovel at all, but a fiberglass square shovel made for shoveling loose debris. This makes a whole lot more sense to me for my situation and is a lot more functional year round for tasks other than snow shoveling. Because of it's smaller size, it's also much more versatile, as in handling the 3 foot snow drifts in front of my driveway.

2.) Tractor. Wish I had one. My neighbor came over with his Kubota with front-end loader, to push the drifts back from the corners of my driveway so the snow plows wouldn't plow me in. What took him 10 minutes would have taken me 10 hours. It's on the list of nice to haves down the road, along with that diesel Ford truck.

3.) Snow vehicle. I have a Jeep Wrangler 4x4 equiped with new 31 inch mud tires. This thing kicks astroids in all kinds of inclement weather. Storms, snow, whatever. Though it's not very spacious inside, it gives us an edge if we need to bug out. God-willing, after tax time, she'll be paid for and be my permenant BOV.

4.) Heat Source. That is, other than electric based. Even my propane furnace has electric controls, so we'd be screwed if we lost power and didn't have a wood stove. It happened last year for a couple of hours, during an ice storm and temps in the single digits. Luckily, I was able to get a fire started.

5.) Wood, that is, if you heat with it. It is critical to protect your wood and make it accessible before a big snow. I spent the first hour of the blizzard hauling 3-4 days of wood into our enclosed porch. Walking for 80 ft. through 2ft snow drifts to gather wood sucks and should be avoided at all possible.

6.) Generator with fuel. Damn, I wish I had one. Had we lost power, having a generator would allow me to run my furnace (that is, if it was a hardwired genny back up). I am considering investing in a propane back-up for that very reason. It would also give the ability to run the well (for which I would like a bison hand pump).

7.) Chainsaw with treated fuel, bar oil, and extra chain. Again, I wish I had one. I use the one at work for all my wood cutting, but in an emergency, a chainsaw is an unbeatable tool to have to deal with fallen trees or emergency demolition. And, of course, cut your woodstove wood.

8.) Food and water. This should probably be at the top of the list, but this applies for all emergencies, not just snow.

9.) Ice pellets. I bought a bag of this stuff for the walkway to our vehicles. Hopefully it will work well and last for the duration of the snow melt.

10.) Plenty of coffee, tea, and hot chocolate. There's nothing like a warm beverage to boost morale and warm up your spirits after time out in the cold. Before and after shoveling, a hot beverage makes your labors seem less cumbersome than they were and helps you relax and warm up quickly. When you are warm you are able to work better and less prone to injury.

In closing, I would like to say that the ability to keep up with a storm as it's falling is critical to making it a fun event instead of a crisis event.

Peace Out. Merry Christmas.



Bridget said...

Dude, I can totally picture you on a tractor. All good advice, amigo!

Martin Schap said...

Yes, you definitely need a tactical assault tractor. With a gunrack.
Excellent posting! My snow preps need work, but apparently we are getting a wood stove for Christmas, so that is an excellent beginning. Soon I will become a wood scavenger. I've got to keep my eye on Craigslist for an inexpensive but serviceable chain saw. Do you have a good axe? I have an excellent Fiskars axe for chopping, but need to pick up a splitting maul.
I have something I need to send you soon. Hopefully I will get it there before you burn your tree.

Nick-dog said...

Thanks all! A tractor with a gunrack would be the envy of the neighborhood!

Yes, I landed sweet axe from Lowe's last season. It's a True Temper with a fiberglass handle and flanged head. It's lighter than a traditional maul/splitting axe, but that's actually my preference--thin, light and precise, like a samurai blade.

I wasn't sure how it'd work, but it's been excellent and well-worth the extra change.

I sense a long woodstove-post coming on...


Martin Schap said...

Happy Christmas Sucka!

Nick-dog said...

A merry shout out to my homie in the Lafayette hood!