A neighbor removed the snow from my driveway while I was still in bed Thursday, and I'm annoyed! I think I know who did it, and he did my next-door neighbor's too. He is across the street and he's the only person nearby I've seen using a snowblower (and this obviously wasn't shoveled).
Why am I annoyed? Well, I don't mind a kind neighborly deed. I wasn't feeling my property rights were violated. It was even nice to have a nice clean driveway even though I wasn't planning to drive anywhere. I didn't even hear him doing it. Well, I might have heard and ignored the snowblower noise, assuming it was his own driveway. I tend to ignore extraneous neighbor noises.
But I have my own snowblower. I bought it in Spring 2011 after the three 12"+ storms of the previous Winter. And I hadn't gotten a chance to use it yet. We just didn't get any snow until Thursday worth using it. It sat clutterring up my garage for 2 years until I finally moved it to the toolshed last Spring.
Wednesday, the forecast was for 4-8" of snow, so I wrestled the snowblower around to the garage, gassed it up, made sure it started, and waited with some anticipation of finally using it. I watched the snow fall and accumulate Wednesday night. So when I got up the next day and saw the cleared driveway, I was a bit taken aback! We had gotten about 6" of snow.
Then it snowed more after lunch, then rained most of the midafternoon before changing to freezing rain. Then, in early evening, it changed back to snow. By the time I went to bed Thursday night, we had another 4" of snow. Hurray! Enough to snowblow!!!
I got up early today to make sure my neighbor hadn't cleared my driveway again. I got dressed quickly and went out to use my own snowblower. It started right up, and I had a blast using it. It worked pretty well. With all the rain and freezing rain that had fallen on the lunchtime snow and more snow in the evening hours, it was heavy wet snow! Nearly slush!
Toward the end, the slushy snow froze in the discharge chute a couple of times and I had to clear the chute with a plastic plunger that came with the snowblower. And at the street where a plow had pushed up a wall of slush 2' tall, the wheels slipped a bit.
When I later shoveled a path clear on the deck (for both myself and the cats), I found it nearly impossible to lift a whole shovelful of the stuff up and over the deck rails. I think this was about the heaviest snow (by weight) I have ever encountered! No wonder the snowblower struggled a bit on the driveway.
But it did handle the heavy snow well enough to assure me that regular snow will never be a problem for it.
Next time I talk to my neighbor, I'll ask if he cleared the driveway the first time. If so, I will thank him very much for the kind act. But I'll also tell him the story of waiting 3 years to use my own and we'll have a good laugh. He's a genial person.
My snowblower is a good one. I did a lot of research before I bought it. It's a Troy-Bilt Storm 2620. The number seems to mean 26" width and 20" high intake. It it gas-powered (there are electrics), has powered wheels (because my driveway slopes up toward the house and there's no way I'm going to push a heavy non-powered piece of equipment up a slippery slope), separate controls for the blades and the wheels. It even has a headlight. But best of all, it has electric starting! Not a battery, you plug a cord into an outlet, press a button, and then disconnect it. I'm not 25 anymore; I appreciate all the powered help I can get, LOL!
I admire well-designed and user-friendly equipment...
So while I don't exactly hope for more snowstorms, it is sure nice to have something that will clear my 60' driveway in just 20 minutes. If I had had to shovel that heavy snow manually, it would have taken a couple hours and I would have had to stop for a few minutes many many times and been utterly exhausted by the end.