Do you remember how, when we were kids, we couldn’t wait to see snow falling? Snow Days! No school! Go out and get cold then come in and get warm. Sledding and snowmen and snowball fights. What were we thinking?
Snow can be so pretty in the dawn, even prettier when the shadows fall across it in the evenings. During the day sunlight sparkles on the snow, gorgeous to watch, even though it can hurt our eyes.
Snow can also be deadly when it packs into ice under our tires, or piles up where we need to walk. Those of us with helpful people around, either in the house or in the neighborhood, can have that snow cleared away before it becomes too difficult. I’m very fortunate to have a neighbor who keeps the lane plowed, and does what he can for my driveway.
For the rest, I’m pretty much on my own. Since I refuse to let something like fluffy frozen water hold me hostage, I’ve learned where and how to keep myself as safe as possible. And how much I can do at one time. A few minutes every hour not only gets me up and moving but it’s also not so exhausting.
Before the snows start, I collect my equipment: a good flat faced shovel (as opposed to a pointy shovel which I’ve always called a spade; several show shovels, with varying length handles; a good push broom, and a regular broom. The shorter snow shovels make me bend over too much and hurt my back. I like the longer ones to work on sidewalks though the short ones help with big piles of snow. The regular shovel is great to get under ice, or to clear heavy, wet snow. The brooms help with fresh, lighter snow on my back (concrete) porch slab; once one of the dogs have walked on it, I need the shovel. Keep all of this close to hand, inside near a door. It does no good to have your equipment outside in a shed when the snow is knee high in between.
Driving. If you have to drive on nasty roads: Slow down. Then slow down some more. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking your four wheel drive vehicle means you can go zooming down the highway. That extra feature just means you can get yourself out of nasty situations more easily. If you’re lucky.
Sadly the parking lots in my area are not well tended. Early plowing mounds up the snow into impressive barriers but there is still up to three inches of slush or ice, depending on the temperature. I have to remember I’m going to be pushing my cart back through that slush. Just nasty sometimes!
When it’s slushy, either on the roads or in a parking lot, I use the lower gear on my old truck and…yep, I slow down. Mostly I let the truck move without touching the gas pedal much. When you do start to skid, the best thing is not panic (yeah, easier said than done!)
Using all this knowledge, I was feeling pretty darned proud of myself. Until I eased up my lane, backed into the cleared area, then thought I’d want to move over just a little.
I got stuck in my own freaking driveway. Sigh. Too embarrassing to let my neighbor see it! What to do, what to do.
Mulch works very well to give your tires a grip on icy driveways. Isn’t it lucky I bought two big bags to winterize my garden, and there’s some left? All it took was stopping to think.