Clearing today’s snowfall took a little longer than it should have, so I don’t think I’ll finish that Christmas post I’ve been working on. Then again, you might enjoy a little humor at my expense, so I’ll share the reason for the delay. A few weeks ago I wrote a post about being ready for winter. Well, just to keep things honest and perhaps to help keep me humble, I guess I wasn’t totally prepared.
I’ve been using a snow blower for over 15 years, so the thought of getting used to a new one didn’t bother me. Besides, as I was putting the various attachments on the machine, I got to run it between the shed and the garage a few times. Today though, was the first real test, the first snow, the first chance to do some work and the first chance to do some damage.
One of the adjustments you can make on this machine controls the angle of attack. In the lowest position, the blower floats on the tracks and rides a little bit off the ground. This is sweet for doing the paths for the dog and to the firewood piles. The old machine used to get stuck on the various tufts of grass and bounce back at me. Of course, that setting is useless in the driveway because it leaves about an inch of snow on the pavement. I hadn’t really figured out how to make that adjustment. I had watched the guy at the store do it, and he made it look oh so easy. Then again, I also own a Little Giant ladder, so I should know how easy a dealer can make things look. I finally figured that out, but it took some time to get the hang of it.
I wasn’t worried about the time. After all, it’s a Sunday, I wasn’t trying to set a record, didn’t have to go to work so I had time to play and learn how this little guy works. Once of the things I didn’t appreciate is the fact that the top of the auger housing is set a little bit behind the outward edge of the auger. I think this is a design feature to help the drift slicers (which I don’t have) work better. They cut through high snow and drop the material into the auger. The downside of this arrangement is that it’s hard to tell where the auger really is. So, in theory, you could hit something with the auger before hitting it with the machine. In theory, that something could be the chain link fence / gate that separates the yard from the driveway. The fence that keeps the puppy in the yard. The fence we have to have. Wow, did this machine do a job on that fence!
While we’re exploring the theoretical use of this snow blower, there is the fact that the auger sections are connected to the shaft by “shear pins.” These are tiny bolts which are designed to break if the auger gets stuck on something like a chain link fence. Why didn’t they break? They did, they just didn’t break until they had cut a dog-sized hole in the fence. So, in addition to having to repair the fence, I had to learn how to replace the shear pins.
Now I know how to adjust the machine, how to gauge where the business end actually is and how to replace the shear pins. Maybe that means I’m actually ready for winter.