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Winter Was Coming.. Now It’s Here. Winter In Wisconsin

Larry Hurley with Snow Wolf In Wisc 2022
Larry Hurley with Snow Wolf In Wisc 2022

Snow Removal, Wisconsin Style

After 40 years away from the Badger State, my wife and I moved back to Wisconsin this fall, and we are now in snow season. I like snow: seeing the first snow falling, I had the urge to drop down and make a snow angel, but I was afraid someone would call 911 (“Elderly man flailing on the ground? Either slipped on the ice or had a heart attack shoveling snow. Ambulance on the way!”)

 

Several snowfalls beyond the first, I’m remembering what a drag snow removal is. When we were in Bethesda, I loved the very occasional snowfalls, especially the nor’easters that dumped a couple of feet of snow at once, shutting down the neighborhoods until the plows came through. Home for days, hoping we wouldn’t run out of toilet paper, teleworking…sort of practice for Covid.

Snow Removal Implements

Being the handy fellow, I am, I have an array of snow removal implements, each mightier than the last. I long ago mastered the snow shovel, from the back breaker type to the ergonomic (yet back-breaking) one with the bendy handle. Another non-power tool that I used a lot in Bethesda as well as here is a wheeled snow shovel called a Snow Wolf (at this writing unavailable from Amazon). It has this very large wheel, and you push the snow and flip it up at the end of the row; it really saves your back and it’s handy for the part of my drive that isn’t paved. Use may be limited by depth of snow and as the snow piles get higher.

 

We have a second-floor deck with stairs and the railings make it difficult to use the shovel. I discovered that my battery-powered Ego leaf blower is great for the raised deck and stairs. As mentioned, the snow has been powdery-light and dry, and I can completely clear the deck in about two minutes. If I blow the snow into the corner, I can create a sparkly whirlwind and instantly turn myself into Frosty the Snowman.

What Larry Has Learned

A couple of weeks ago I broke down (knock on wood) and bought a snow blower. (Or a snow thrower in modern parlance.) This is particularly useful to me in deeper snow, especially at the end of the drive where the plow comes through. I had considered getting a battery-powered one but there were supply issues and I gave up and went bought a Toro gas model. I’m learning to work with it, ironing out the kinks, some of which are my fault (e.g., it starts better after you put gas in the tank) and some related to the minimal instructions in the box covering assembly and putting in the oil. All small sketches, no words. It’s like we’ve stepped back 5,000 years to Egyptian hieroglyphs.

(Actual conversation with wife: Me: does that picture mean that mean I’m not supposed to store a snake in the carton? She: no, I think it means the snowblower doesn’t come with an extension cord in the box. Ah.)

Other things I have learned: don’t blow light powdery snow into the wind. Stay away from the graveled portion of the drive as it picks up and throws the gravel (that is covered extensively in the safety sections of the manual, so not a surprise there).

Don’t bury the mailbox. Don’t try to start it without the key. Watch out for the brightly-wrapped newspaper hiding in the snow.

Ready For Spring Planting

I expect I’ll get another month or two of use out of all my snow tools before Spring arrives. I’m eager to start planting. The prior owners of the house we bought here in Wisconsin weren’t gardeners, so there is lots and lots of turf that can be turned into plantings. I’ll be able to use a shovel for the purpose it was REALLY intended—for turning the soil instead of throwing snow from one spot to another.
I’ll be reporting on my garden successes and failures as the year unfolds

Larry Hurley Blowing Snow off deck with leaf blower in Wisconsin
Larry Hurley Blowing Snow off deck with leaf blower in Wisconsin
Larry with shovel, Milwaukee, March 1964
Larry with shovel, Milwaukee, March 1964

Larry Hurley, perennials specialist for Behnke Nurseries (now retired), started with Behnke’s in1984. Larry enjoys travel, food and photography. He and his wife Carolyn have visited Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Brazil, South Korea and much of Europe. Their home is on a shady lot where a lot of perennials have met their Maker over the years.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Larry I used to see the Snow Wolf a few years ago as I live in Gaithersburg . It was a hard sell because of the cost but is better then any other non power snow tool. I can do my driveway faster with the Snow Wolf if it’s 8inches or less if dry snow . Glad to see a pic in use again.

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