Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Ummm ... It's Been Tested Already!

Mother Nature continues to satisfy my wish to try out my new "toy."

Last time, I only included a stand-in picture for my driveway. Here is the real thing:

And here is the end of the driveway, with a snow shovel for scale, where the plows had thrown up a drift four feet high and five feet wide.

And here is the walk to my front door.

I know that my friends from climes farther north (Canada, Minnesota, etc.) will sneer at my discomfiture at this kind of snowfall.

But, hey! I, unlike others, chose to live in what was supposed to be a temperate climate!
Pretty much the same here in Fargo. My father-in-law told of a similar problem in Jamestown. He dug out his driveway only to have the plows throw a four-foot deep drift back in because they had nowhere else to put the snow.
Yeah, on my street (being a kind of major route) they usually do "curb to curb." This time they stopped at least five feet away from the curb. I have a bad feeling that sometime in the middle of the night they'll come and push all that snow right back into my driveway.
I'm actually from Canada, and I'm impressed by those drifts.
That's strangely comforting somehow.
I don't think the north-east of the US is considered to have a temperate climate. I believe it has a humid continental climate.

I guess you'll have to move to any of the available mid-latitude continental south/west coasts! (Vancouver, Tasmania, Western Europe).

After the last 20cm and 50cm snowfalls, I'm about to break down and get a snow blower...not for the whole driveway/apron, but to move the piles the plowman makes at the edges (I'm getting to old to do it by shovel). What make/model did you get and what are its pros and cons?
Hey, even by Ottawa standards that's an impressive amount of snow. At the moment we have hardly any (our big dumps frequently don't start until, well, about now). A few years ago we sold the snow-blower and hired a service.
What make/model did you get and what are its pros and cons?

I bought the Toro 38381 18-Inch 15 Amp Electric 1800 Power Curve Snow Thrower. It was $300 US at Amazon. It weighs 25 lbs and is easy to manuver. I like electrics because of the ease of maintenence (no fooling with gas/oil, no draining the gas/oil at the end of the season, no cranking it to get 'em to start). Downsides are dragging around the cord and, if your power gets knocked out, you can't use it. The one I bought is about the most powerful electric and it is just barely strong enough to do the kind of snowfalls we've gotten this year but should easily be enough for what you describe. At worst, you might have to use a shovel to "chop up" the piles a bit to get them to fit in 18" X 12" opening.
I also got an electric snow blower, after several seasons of fussing with a gasoline powered one, and I have no complaints. One additional thing to mention about the power cord is to be careful not to run over it! As far as not having a snow blower if your power is knocked out, I would rate that as a minor inconvenience compared with the lack of heat and lights.
One other downside of the electrics is that they don't move under their own power, so you exert a fair amount of muscle pushing them into the snow.
I'm from Canada as well (but you knew that), and I haven't seem drifts like that around here in a long time. But those brick walls on either side in the first picture just seem perverse...
those brick walls on either side in the first picture just seem perverse...

The reason is that my garage was built at the level of my cellar by the previous owner. The tract houses just had a car port at the level of the first floor and, my house being on a bit of a hill, the driveway had to go up about 10-15 feet. I gather he didn't like that and, so, had the driveway excavated and built what is now a two-story high garage. It has its advantages and disadvantages.
I'm sitting up here in Ottawa just chuckling. We've got hardly any snow and last time it snowed on and off for a couple days, the wind had blown the snow away from my door and walk way (and my landlord plows the driveway) so I haven't had to lift a shovel for weeks.

Thank you, La Nina!
You're a cruel, cruel man!
John how come when you post about something important like somebody abusing the education system you get hardly any comments but when you post on the fact that you had to shovel a bit of snow your comments column fills? ;)
Education abuse! It snowed and they called off school!
... but when you post on the fact that you had to shovel a bit of snow your comments column fills? ;)

C. Northcote Parkinson, discoverer of (strangely enough) "Parkinson's Law," also descibed a formuls for determining how long a corporate board would take to decide some issue. Roughly ... deciding to spend millions of dollars on a new plant took almost no time at all, since no one can grasp millions or can understand what make a good factory. Deciding to spend $20 on a coffee machine also took little time, because most board members would donate that to charity without a thought. But a new bike rack for $1,500 would generate great debate because every one can grasp $1,500 and everyone has an idea of what makes a good bike rack.

Snow, I gather, is like a bike rack.
Heh. I remember these days. I remember snowplow piles so huge we dug caves in them. And I wondered why my parents hated snow - until the day I had to dig my car out and drive.

Anyway. Apropos of nothing, I've just put you forward as a non-scientist doing science blogging. Fame! Fortune! Or perhaps just folks from the Sci11 conference saying, "See, you don't HAVE to be a scientist to communicate science!" I dunno. But your work bashing the IDiots deserves recognition!
Or they can just say "who's that loudmouth?"

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