Saturday, November 24, 2012

It's Official - Winter has Arrived!

The night before last, as Donna and I returned late to the yurts, we were pelted with very cold, wet rain that quickly turned to snow. We were more than happy to warm the stove and snuggle into bed.

All through the night we could hear the patter on the yurt roof, and feel the wind lifting the canvas. I was rather concerned about our solar panels!

It was with some relief that I woke to discover them pointed north, but still safe.

I must say it was also exciting to see inches of snow everywhere. I retrieved our snowshoes and did a quick walkabout to see what there was to see.

The generator was in better shape than I expected. I had a large plastic lid over it to keep the rain off, and it worked equally well with the snow, although there was a little that had blown in onto some spots.

The dojo tent was in good shape, and now I know to close the door flaps on a night when snow is expected. Snow had blown in and onto the items adjacent to either side of the doors.

I walked out to the main road, and saw that only the far, northbound lane had been ploughed.

Returning to the yurts, I bumped into Grandpa, who had come over to see how we made out, and offer me a shovel in case I didn't have one. I don't have a snow shovel (yet), but I didn't see a need for one at that moment.

After he left I started up the tractor and used the bucket to pack down the snow where we park the car. The night before, we had simply left the car parked just past the dojo tent. Once a path was cleared, I tried to get the car into its assigned place, but no go. There seemed to be a bit of ice under the snow, I suppose from the rain that had started all this.

Well, when your car is stuck in the snow, what better time than to put on the snow tires? The rims were still terrifically ugly - they had been left out in the elements and showed it.

But, I was really pleased as punch when the job was finished, and the car backed right up to our parking lot. Sadly, that's when the party ended - there is a slight rise in front of the parking spot, and the car just couldn't climb that ice. I eventually shovelled it right down to our driveway, and then was able to get in.

This opened up access to the entire driveway for the tractor. I made a number of passes with the front end loader, but was really dissatisfied with the result. The bucket either floated on top of the snow, or if I adjusted it to dig in, the front wheels of the tractor floated up, and I was unable to steer.

I attached the maple board that Grandpa had donated to the cause, and it seemed to work better, but I still was just pushing the snow directly forward, and had to have the bucket and loader at an uncomfortable angle, constantly in my line of sight, and digging into the driveway if I wasn't paying 110% attention.

I then decided to try attaching the blade to the back, at the three point hitch. The maple board worked great for about three feet, then split.

I rigged up another version, this time plywood and poplar, with reinforcement from some square stock I had found in the ditch in the summer.

This worked even better for about thirty feet, before with a twang, the bolts snapped and disappeared into the distance.

A grader blade is now definitely on my shopping list. I think it will also be useful in the summer for levelling the driveway.

I did a few more passes with the tractor and bare bucket, which seems to have the snow fairly packed down. Perhaps today I will take the car and/or truck up and down the driveway a few times to see how it goes. I should also chip up some more brush and perhaps the chips can be used in places for more traction? It will also be interesting to get back to the brush trail we made two days ago and see how it held up.

 

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