Two weekends ago was our first big storm with 1-2” of freezing rain followed by 10” of snow. Along with that we had 35 mph winds which resulted in blizzard warnings and weatherman encouraging people to stay inside all weekend. On the bright side it did leave a pretty coating on the trees and shrubs.
It may have been a crummy weekend but Flannel Man was excited to try out his new toy, an ATV with a plow. For the past two years he’s used our riding lawn mower with a small fixed plow. He got the plow for free from a co-worker who had it lying around in his barn. It was full of rust but Flannel Man sandblasted it, painted it, and modified it to fit the lawn mower. It worked OK but we were often stuck inside after a big storm because it didn’t have enough power to push the heavy snow. Luckily, we have a very nice neighbor who has two sheds full of snow clearing toys of his own and he would come clear off our driveway if he was home. Our neighbor is a truck driver though so he is often gone for a week at a time so he wasn’t always around in the winter.
We even inherited a small snow blower from Flannel Man’s grandmother last year but it could barely handle the heavy snow so you had to move very slow. It took forever to clear off both of our driveways. It didn’t help that we have three locations where our driveways meet the street (our main driveway is a semi-circle) and the town plows make a big pile of snow as they pass by. So this year Flannel Man began looking for a used ATV he could use to plow the snow. He found it very difficult in our area to find one that would work. Every time he thought he found “the one” the seller had just sold it or they wanted too much for it and wouldn’t negotiate. When November came it really hit home that he better buy one fast or get ready to shovel (we had given Papa Flannel the snow blower since his broke)! On his drive to work he saw an ATV plow for sale out on someone’s front yard and bought it for only $100. So now we had a plow but nothing to attach it to.
Then one Saturday I woke up to “Do you want to go on an eight hour road trip to Indiana?” Apparently he was searching through Craigslist in nearby cities to see if they had a better selection of ATVs and found someone in Indiana that was posting on the Chicago board. So we hoped in the truck and headed off taking the dog with us. It ended up being well worth the trip because he got a bigger, nicer ATV than he’d planned for a great price. There were a few minor fixes he had to make (the electric start switch was broken for one) but with the help of some friends he got it up and working. Finally, he installed plates to hold a winch and the plow and he was ready to go.
This new snow removal rig is slick! It takes fraction of the time to clear both of the driveways and has so much more power he can really pile up the snow. Plus it helps that it’s actually fun to drive. I’m pretty sure I saw a smile under that face mask. Now I just need to learn how to drive a manual ATV…maybe I’ll wait until spring.