Sunday, December 24, 2017

“Are you dead?”

“Are you dead?”   That's what Tim, our friend and neighbor, asked me when he called last night.  What prompted that?  Well, it seems he drove by our place yesterday evening and noticed that I had not plowed the 2" or so of fresh snow that had fallen the previous night.  It seems, I discovered, that I have a reputation in the area for being the first guy to plow his driveway.  I never thought of it that way before, but it's true that usually I try to get the snow off my driveway as quickly as possible.  My main motivation for that is to prevent it from melting and turning into a sheet of ice.  Yesterday, however, I was so busy with our big meal that I decided just to let it go.

Tim was relieved to hear my voice. :)

Yesterday we had a whole lot of visitors, plus the UPS man.  I'm going to guess that 10 or 11 cars traversed our driveway, when the temperatures were around 30°F (about -1°C).  That had the effect of crushing and melting a lot of snow on our driveway.  This morning the temperature is 3°F (about -17°C), and all that crushed snow has frozen into what might as well be granite.  I just got back in from (belatedly) plowing, all bundled up and with warmers for my hands and feet, and it was a very different experience from the usual.  Mostly what I accomplished was to knock off any bits of ice that were standing up.  The sheet of ice covering my driveway was basically unaffected by the snowplow.  Furthermore, driving the tractor (which is 4WD) on the ice was an exercise in probabilistic steering: when I turned the wheel, the tractor might change direction as intended.  Or it might just keep going straight.  Or it might go sideways.  Or it might turn in circles.  Interesting, it was.

Now I'm back inside with a nice, hot cup of tea.  Shortly I venture forth again to shovel the sidewalk, then salt it, then feed the birds...

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