This is, I have to admit, a first for me since moving from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to Alaska over twenty five years ago.
We are officially completely snowed in.
My husband has always plowed out our farm driveway himself, with our mid-size 1/2 ton pickup truck and equally mid-size Western plow. It’s not a lot of horsepower, but it’s usually enough.
Snowfalls here in this part of Alaska have seldom (in the 25+ years I’ve lived here) been even close to what I used to see in MI, and Jer’s truck has been up for the challenge without any problems. So has Jerry, who is a capable plow driver.
Until this past week, when we were hit by one storm after another after another in quick succession, each of them heavy snowfalls in their own right.
The first big snow fall Jerry was able to clear (after help from that very nice man, Scott. You all remember Scott, right?).
It was a lot of snow, but nothing we hadn’t dealt with before. Jerry is 70, diabetic and has COPD, so he takes more breaks than he used to. What used to take him several hours is now apt to take most of the day, between rest breaks. We are neither of us as young as we once were.
Given adequate time, he would generally go out the following day to clean the driveway and yard up nicely and all would be well. But this time, it just kept dumping on us.
During and after the second storm, Jer managed to keep the driveway passible, but our truck and plow combo aren’t really made for this sort of snow depth and he was finding it more difficult to push snow far enough down or off the driveway to be effective. It didn’t help that it was snowing almost as fast as he was plowing and he was getting tired.
When Jerry looked at the driveway yesterday afternoon, there was about 4-6” of new snow. He was exhausted and reasoned that plowing again at that point would be doubling up his work load, since it was just going to snow again overnight. He planned to hit it early the next day.
In hindsight, this was probably not the best decision he could have made.
With the driveway only sloppily cleared (and by this I just mean the last passes he made the night before were what he referred to as fast and dirty).
Being tired, and knowing more snow was coming, he had been more concerned about keeping a driving lane passible and not about cleaning edges, pushing snow evenly or clearing areas for turning around. He was TIRED.
So when another 12+ inches fell overnight last night, it was difficult to see where the center of the driveway even was, and harder still to know where to stop pushing the snow.
A couple of spots on our driveway drop off towards a ravine and he has gotten the plow stuck there more than once over the years, just plowing over-enthusiastically. It can suck you in if you aren’t paying attention.
He started clearing off the truck and plow at 7:30 am, which is two hours before sunrise. Drifted snow completely covered the front of both the truck and the SUV.
We have a lot of area to clear, between the front parking area, the road to the shop, up to the barn, and then over 300 yards of additional driveway out to the road.
By 9:00 am, he had gotten the plow stuck and shoveled it out twice already, but had made progress.
Where things fell apart was the turn in the driveway down by the ravine.
In case you’re wondering, that’s not the direction the driveway turns. He was just trying to push some snow off that way before tackling the last 50 yds of drifted snow between the truck and the road.
I suggested calling in a bigger snowplow. 🤷🏼♀️ We aren’t going to starve. We have water, electricity and plenty of wood. I’m trying to convince him not to physically over-do trying to get the darn truck out, but as you already know … he’s stubborn.