Because Snow is Water and Time is Money

I don’t like long titles, but if I did, I would continue this one with “and we need access to firewood, and the snow at the fence can’t be so tall that the dog can walk into the neighbor’s yard and people our age should never lift snow over their heads and the dog needs a place to…” I hinted at this post when I wrote “Notes from a Snow Day” but I thought that a little explanation might help and I have some pictures to share.

If you look at our yard right now, you might wonder “what was he thinking?” Yes, it’s a small lot and yet a significant portion of it has been snow-blown down to a bit above the grass. What’s up with that? Do I enjoy running my snow blower that much? No. Well, to be honest, I might. It is kinda-fun and with the storm cab and the cup holder, it’s not a bad gig. Still, I’d rather be sitting inside near the fire, near the computer, near the box of Star Trek Next Generation DVDs, near the coffee/tea/beer (depending on time of day) and near the wife/cats/dog (depending on collective moods).

Most of the places that I run the snow blower make sense, especially if you’ve lived in New England long enough to have experienced winters where the snow keeps piling up (like the one we’re having this year). Of course, I clear the driveway, the sidewalk at the street and the sidewalk from the shed where the snow blower sits and the gate to the driveway. That just makes sense. However, not every storm requires the machine. Sometime, we only get ½” to 2” and I can just push it around with a shovel. If – there’s – some –place – to – push – it. That’s why I clear a bit of the grass (either in strips or in “pockets” at the edge of the driveway. Otherwise, the snow that gets pushed around has to be lifted over the snow bank which is something a friend reminded me that “people of a certain ageshouldn’t do.

The second group of places that I clear that makes sense are the paths to the firewood.

I got into some trouble in the comments the last time when I mentioned that I do this “so my wife can get to the firewood.” It’s true, she handles everything related to the fire. That’s because she knows how she wants the wood stacked, which logs she wants brought in and she enjoys the exercise. Also, she doesn’t trust me with fire. Period.

Alongside those paths are a few extra for the dog. These fall into two types. A) The paths where we want Maddie to take care of business and B) the snow we remove so she can’t escape the yard.

The areas that I clear that make no apparent sense are the ones alongside the foundation. I do this in the back yard because the yard slopes slightly toward the house. Our first winter in this house saw me digging a small sump pit in frozen ground and running a submersible pump to keep the water from pouring into the basement windows. The following summer, I added a bunch of drain tile and drywells, but I’m still not taking any chances that a mid-winter thaw will flood the basement. I also clear snow away from the side windows because a channel forms between the drifting snow and the foundation windows. A warm winter rain, and we would be testing the waterproof nature of those windows.

The path that makes no sense at all, is hinted to by the second half of the title. We don’t have a sidewalk from the street to our front porch. Still, I clear a path because the paper guy, the UPS guy, the FedEx guy and one of the mailmen walk up to our door that way. They will trudge through the snow in order to avoid the time it takes to get to the ramp at the top of the driveway. They are on the clock, and time may actually be money.

When I was in college, I was lucky enough to complete several stints as an 89-day wonder with the Post Office. The pay was great, but I worked lousy shifts and was treated a little like dirt. One thing that the supervisor could do to me that he couldn’t do to a union employee was “clock me out” at the end of my shift whether I was done working or not. I’m sure I could have complained, but I’m sure I would have never worked there again if I did. So, I did my best to finish my route on time.

I remember trudging through snow during several Christmas holiday breaks at the P.O., and I remember how much I appreciated the people who cleared a path connecting the best place to park with the mailbox.

I’m sure that the UPS guy and the regular mailmen are in no danger of losing wages, but the guy that delivers the paper and the people driving the FedEx Home trucks are self-employed. Time is money for them. It’s not that much extra work, and it makes a few people happy. People may not appreciate the computer programs I write, but those folks like that path, my wife likes being able to get “her” firewood and Maddie loves the paths and the resulting mountains of snow.

53 thoughts on “Because Snow is Water and Time is Money

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  1. Your snow paths make perfect sense to me. This year, we’ve been doing pretty much the same at our house. But the funny thing is that, despite the special paths to the fence line, Cody still manages to find a drift between the path and the fence to do her business. For some reason, she must like the snow being right up to her butt. Silly dog.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s so funny! Maddie does the same thing. The paths end up being for us to have a place to be near her if we take her out on a leash. In the spring, Maddie will still seek out remnants of the piles to do her stuff.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. We’ve actually only had to clear snow twice this season, and both times,the snow was small and light. *knock wood* Our mail carriers vary, so one drives and the other walks through the yards. It never occurred to me to shovel a path through our yard. It’s a bit bumpy, I don’t think I would, but were it flat, I might would.
    The only issue we have is keeping ice and snow from the path of our main gate. When it’s not cleared all the time, the gate won’t open/close and I end up walking here there and everywhere to figure out which gate can be opened! Ice melt is my friend, Dan.
    And I know it sounds strange, but when we have a fire (outside) I am the fire person. It’s an art. I’m glad your wife is a fire artisan, too :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Old man Winter seems to be picking on New England this year. I love ice melt too, but we don’t use it on the walk in the back where the dog runs. We actually bought some “pet safe” stuff but I’m not sure I know where that is. I’m going to start referring to “fire women” – it must be some tribal rite :)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. When we see snow in Madrid it is usually a day a year, and it is never more than an inch. But this year we are having what to us is a cold winter (tomorrow we will be a t 28ºF, and I will probably have to travel to somewhere in the 21ºF region this week). Enjoy your chimney…!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. We are not used to extreme cold, but we can cope with the values I said. Madrid is a city on the plain, but from it we can see the snow pack on the Sierra de Guadarrama, some 20 miles north. So travel in winter is often under cold weather, and, sometimes, snow ( but due to the gulfstream, even if we are at about the latitude of CT, we have a warmer climate). Thanks, anyway.

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  4. fire women…I had to chuckle about that–I like it! When we had dogs, they didn’t like going out during a downpour; I wonder what they would have thought about snow. Maddie looks like she is having so much fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. She loves the snow. We’ve had four Irish Setters. One loved the rain, one hated it but they all loved the snow. Maddie doesn’t seem to mind the rain but she just can’t get enough time in the snow. Unfortunately, she doesn’t seem to know or care that she doesn’t have a winter coat. Setters don’t have an undercoat. Do I have to add you to the fire women list?

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  5. Like your machine. When I lived in South Bend Indiana I had a blower but no cab. I also worked at the Post Office for the holidays when in college. What a nasty job that was. I like your path plan. I had forgotten what it is like to have to manage snow melt and a basement.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks John. The first snow blower I bought came with a cab. I didn’t put it on at first but I wouldn’t be without one now. The first time we realized that we needed to get a path to the side windows, we had over 4′ of snow to dig through. That’s why I keep after it now, that took a long time.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Phew, I’m tired just reading about it! I think I’ll rethink complaining about raking up leaves in the fall!
    Diva Dog won’t go out back when it’s raining, she prefers the side yard that is completely paved. We’ve been having rain the last few days and she’s not too happy about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We had a male setter who would not go out in the rain or walk through puddles. He stood under the overhang of the roof and aimed at the corner post of our porch. Maddie doesn’t mind the rain and simply loves the snow. Thanks for the comment.

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  7. Very thoughtful of you to clear the extra paths. Also, whenever there is a chore, like firewood, that one partner clearly claims, it’s best for all to respect that fact and do all to support it. You are a smart man for recognizing that and supporting your wife.

    Fondly,
    Elizabeth

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Elizabeth. She has her reasons for “owning the firewood.” I am a foot taller than her, so I tend to stack the wood too high. Also, since she tends the fire, she knows which logs are too long or too heavy for her to easily get in the stove. She sets those aside for me to cut / split further. It’s a good system and I do my best to support it.

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    1. CJ, I could do that, but I can save you the time of waiting. I just use one of the Gallery options in the WP Editor. Start with Add Media – Add Gallery. Either upload or choose pictures you’ve already uploaded and put them in the style you like. I usually upload them first, along with their titles and descriptions. This style is “Tiled Mosaic” but you can do a “slide show” or a box like grid. Once it’s set, insert the gallery. You have to play around with the order, and you have to use the “Preview” option to see what it will look like. If you click on the group in the editor, you can edit the gallery and rearrange them.

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    1. I have had those DVDs for a while Wendy, actually longer than I’ve had the Twilight Zone set. The problem was that my wife and I watch other things on DVD and I was always losing track of what episode should be next and the stupid things would show the ads again. So, I purchased an inexpensive 2nd DVD player. I watched the Zone from beginning to end and now I’m into the 3rd season of STNG. When I finish that, I’ll probably restart TZ but if I go through it again, I’m skipping Talky Tina and Anthony turning the guy into a jack-in-the-box (unless my wife watches with me).

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      1. Ha! That’s cute! Boy, can you imagine if there had been a team-up episode with Tina and Anthony together? O_o I’ve got to get myself ST:TNG on DVD. I was wild about it when I was young (it was still airing!). Just yesterday I was showing Paul one of my prize possessions — a tiny Commander Riker trading card! In 1993, the cards came in snack-size bags of Hostess Frito Lay chips. Riker was always my favourite.

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            1. Yeah, older and male, so Picard for me. I’m looking for wisdom. Actually, I used the action figure picture in a presentation because I love his quote to Cmd Data “things are only impossible until they’re not!”

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  8. I think it was a great strategy getting your wife to want to take care of the firewood . How did you manage that ? ……Act incompetent— pile it in a sloppy manner , etc. Brilliant ! You’d better hope she doesn’t wise up to your tricks , at least until Spring , eh ?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. You are such a great guy Dan. That snow looks like nothing but brutal trouble to a Southern girl like me. :)) For the record, I’d let you be in charge of anything that was over the threshold-wood, snow, dogs, mail……:))

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Cheryl. It’s not the snow as much as it’s the fact that we have gotten over three feet in successive big storms in just about two weeks. I’m used to a periodic big storm followed by smaller amounts. That pattern lets you get ahead of the snow. The pattern we’re in right now is leaving us (and the towns) no place to put all this white stuff. Maddie is liking her mountain, but it’s taller than I am at this point and I’m working on a sister range to the south :)

      Right now, I’m good with the fact that the Mrs is handling the fire. It feels good to come in after a couple of hours of working in the snow.

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        1. It’s funny. I worked from home yesterday because is snowed all day and night. I got up this morning to clear the last bit that fell overnight, and while I was getting dressed, Maddie just assumed that we were going out to play (at 5:00 am) – she’s like a little kid “it snowed, it snowed, it snowed.”

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  10. Oosh I heard you got more after making all these Maddie-maze paths!! Funny how perspective changes from the snowsuit kid sliding down the mound next to the shoveled-out driveway to the adult who has to shovel the driveway.

    I don’t know how we keep lucking out, but it’s 70 degrees and sunshine here. My kind of winter 😋

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s always about water damage, isn’t it? Even forest fires result in years of damaging storm runoff afterwards. All those drainage and window well issues you mentioned – I thought “I’ve been there!”

        At least Maddie is happy!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. She does enjoy the snow. Actually, she is like our first Setter in that she also likes the rain and the mud. At least we have gotten the process to a point where it’s somewhat routine. the first time we discovered water near the side windows, we had over 4′ of snow to move. Now we keep after it with each major storm.

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  11. Some of days you touch me so deeply with your kindness. This post is one of them that reveal the depths of your personality. I like the consideration you put into the dog and those people. The story of that supervisor who used to mistreat you touched me too. I’ve been in situations like that. Several.
    I must also add that as you battle with the snow, Nairobi is as dry as wood ash. I don’t know what’s going on but 10AM burns like 1PM. It is intense. The exact opposite of what you’re experiencing. If I could, I’d teleport some of that bothersome snow and pile it around here. I know it’d melt in seconds but it’d be worth trying.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I could easily spare a few feet Peter. I appreciate your kind words. I don’t think of it as kindness, rather a little consideration. If everyone would take a little time, it would be such a better world. I think that if you are mistrested, you either become like that person or fight agsinst it.

      Liked by 2 people

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