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I never had a snow blower for years.  I was a purist — snow was meant to be shoveled.  When I was young I enjoyed this romantic connection with the elements — can you imagine Paul Bunyan using a chain saw? — but as I got older I would watch out the corner of my eye as my neighbors seem to tool around so effortlessly with their snow blowers and have their driveways done before I made a dent in my driveway.  There was the slightest twinge of envy, but then I was the man’s man I would reason.  I’m the one battling the elements with courage and grit.

Then it happened.  Last winter we got — not one, but two — snowfalls of over 10 inches of the wettest heaviest stickiest snow you can imagine.  I went out to shovel my driveway and the first scoop felt like I was shoveling concrete blocks. The snow would stick to the shovel.  It was an impossible task.  I had to call off work, because shoveling my drive was going to be an all day affair. Even then I only got it accomplished in a day because my 80-year-old neighbor brought his snow blower over and helped me finish up — which is not as much of a blessing as you think.  Once your 80-year-old neighbor shows up you can no longer go inside and take a break and leave him out there working on your driveway alone.

After the second snow event I said, “That’s it. Next year I will have a snow blower.” True to my word, I went out and bought a snow blower this summer. I was ready for winter to deal its worst.  I scoffed at old man winter all summer long. This weekend I finally got my chance to get the last laugh. It started snowing Friday night and by Saturday we had 8 inches. OK, it wasn’t the wet sticky stuff, it was the fluffy powdery stuff, but it was 8 inches of snow. I couldn’t wait.

I threw on my boots, hat, coat, gloves and all the winter accessories, topped off the gas tank and fired it up. I was gonna knock this little project out in under a half hour. Mind you, I live in the country and my driveway is double width and a couple hundred feet long, but this is a small hill for a snow blower.

Things you may not have considered if you don’t yet have a snow blower:

If the snow is dry and powdery even if there is the slightest breeze it creates a fine mist cloud of blowing snow that has a magical way of finding its way down your neck, inside your boots and gloves, sticks to your face and clothes. Within a few minutes your clothes are soaking wet from tip to toe and you can no longer feel your face — but hey, you’re not breaking your back, right?

Other things you may not have considered if you don’t yet have a snow blower:

When you finish your drive and are ready to come in and warm up, your wife will probably say, “You should do the neighbors drive because they’ve been really nice to us.”  And then when you finish that one and are kicking the snow off your boots, she will probably meet you at the door and say, “You should probably do the other neighbors because they gave us tomatoes from their garden this year.”  And when you finish that one…..  well… you get the point.

I’m considering trading my snow blower for a rototiller, that way I can just wait until summer and offer to plow my neighbor’s corn field for him.  At least I will have warm weather to work in.

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