Having recently returned to the tundra from sunny and drenched Florida, As usual I fell into my usual questioning… Why did I come back? Granted, my end of Florida is a poorly disguised swamp, with just a few days heavy rain leaving water lapping at the industrial strength air conditioner my mom laid out the big bucks for. The place smelled of swamped sewer system for a bit, and thought the bought and paid for by the developers Naples News won’t fess up to it, there was flooding.
So I drove home on dry roads to this:
Actually, that’s an improvement! Thanks to the 500 feet of snow fence I’d scattered about the periphery of my acre or so, the snowdrift tall as me had assembled itself a hundred feet upwind rather than across my driveway. This picture was taken during monday’s blizzard, and the barely visible trees are 200 feet away… That’s a mild blizzard, I’ve got pictures where you can barely make out the mailbox 50 feet away! And to deal with what the snow fence couldn’t, a bit of redneck snow control:
Noting that snowdrifts tend to give parked vehicles a bit of space, I simply hooked up the pickup and 6 by 12 trailer and parked them where the drift was usually deepest. So I start up the pickup and almost pull right out and leave 35 feet of clear driveway in a minute. But the trailer wheels stick out a foot or so on each side thus adding a lot of snow drag, so had to unhook from the trailer, make some ruts with the 4 by 4 Ranger, then hook back up and drag the whole mess with a couple feet of snow atop over to the drainfield mound, where it’s insulating qualities may be needed.
Now the Ranger’s underside neatly trims the snow depth down to a foot or so, and a bit of back and forth rut making neatly breaks up the compacted snow. This still leaves me the work of shoveling a Golf wide swath that foot deep and a hundred feet long to the street. Now I left Florida with a sore knee from getting out of bed wrong or something, I don’t know, I did my business and fell back to sleep. After shoveling out that driveway a time and a half (had a couple inches more snow and blizzard winds), damn near every joint I own aches.
This brings me to my annual reckoning… Should I stay in Florida all winter? I look at the FEMA flood maps again, remember that the “campground” I abode in uses a series of “kited” equity loans for operating capital and to pay for the late owners wife’s condo on the beach, and then the Naples News runs an article on how the county wants to “encourage” development in the surrounding swamp. “Development” means hauling in several feet of fill to get the new town homes and strip malls and attendant parking lots and roads above the FEMA hundred year flood plain, which means deeper water in my little trailer park that sits a couple feet lower.
But you can ride all year… With the exception of summer days when heat stroke is a real threat. And where to… Florida now having passed New York in population, it’s like one big long suburb from Key West north. There’s some beautiful places and great cultures like the Everglades and Caribbean food and music… But the road into the Everglades is lightly traveled and the locals warn me to stay out of Miami, probably because they listen to Faux News instead of slowly tuning the dial for music from the Caribbean.
So having again decided to “brave” a few more Minnesnowtah winters, my aching body told me it was time to acquire some snow moving power tools. Adding a plow to the Ranger sounded easy, but it won’t handle deep compacted drifts, and do I want to bet $3000 that a 19 year old pickup in the rustbelt has many years of structural integrity left? It won’t mow either, and neither will a “throwaway” snowblower. So I decided it was time to call the Kubota dealer and a tell them I’m ready for that tractor we talked about last fall.
That was two days and another inch of snow ago, and I still haven’t called the Kubota dealer. Got the Ranger insured so I can go drift busting on the streets again, this snow is too much fun! Even had visions of snowmobiling for a minute, but ATVs are more versatile, and don’t Arctic Cat sell a three point hitch for theirs? Supposed to warm up next week, maybe I should move the hack’d Super Tenere up by the door?
But if I see a marked down snow blower at Costco tomorrow, I’ll probably bring it home…