January 12, 2022

Snow machine proves itself on the deeper stuff

 

By Robin Jordan

 

    Like many Butte folks, I spent the better part of each day last week shoveling snow.

    I’d been looking forward to getting a real snowfall since before Christmas. My husband, Dave, had ordered a lightweight snowblower, which arrived on our doorstep shortly before the holiday. Eagerly, I put it together and hauled it outside to try it out on the inch or so of snow on the front patio and sidewalk.

    I had been looking forward to getting the snowblower. Although we hadn’t had any heavy snow yet, shoveling had become a daily chore and my back was dreading the day when we’d start to see some real accumulation.

    The little blue machine roared into life that day, throwing a cloud of fluffy snow into the air. Very quickly, however, I realized that most of the snow was blowing right back onto the swath of sidewalk I had already cleared. I also discovered that the machine’s snow spout was just tall enough to knock a fresh batch of snow off the bushes along the sidewalk onto my newly cleared path—and also onto me.

    After tromping around in a cloud of snow with the machine for about an hour, I gave up, put the snowblower on the patio and shoveled the walk with my old shovel. Needless to say, I was not impressed.

    However, I fired up the snowblower again last week after the first big snowfall, which dumped about 5 inches in our area. I was expecting another disappointment, but to my surprise, the little machine really buckled down and did its job admirably. 

    There was a bit of a learning curve to running the new machine. Aiming the snow spout only requires turning a little crank but figuring out just where to aim the snow took some practice. I also learned that the machine was more effective if I made short paths forward along the width of the sidewalk rather than trying to clear long, straight lines down the entire length of the property.

    As to the bushes, I’m resigned to knocking all the snow off first and clearing that part of the sidewalk with the old shovel. Nevertheless, the new machine takes a big load off my back. 

    Even though the snowblower has made clearing the walkways easier, dealing with the heavy snow seemed to make other regular chores harder. For instance, I had to make a major grocery store trip last week, which meant I first had to brush all the heavy snow off the car, then scrape ice off all the windows. The drive to the store wasn’t bad—Butte-Silver Bow’s road department was prompt in getting the major streets plowed. The parking lot at the store was also plowed and I found a convenient spot.

    Once I got out of the store with my heavily laden cart, however, it was a tough slog to push it to the car through the few more inches of snow that had just fallen. Grocery carts just weren’t made to go very well in the snow.

    We’d better make the best of the snowy weather, I guess. It’s only January.