In my sometimes strange view of the world, I often divide people into two groups. The first would be those of us who believe that a driveway is to be kept clean of snow and ice at all costs. The second group would be those who choose to laugh at mother nature and drive over the snow until they turn it into ice.
Those of us of the clean driveway persuasion believe that when the precipitation starts out as ice, there is even more reason to quickly start the process of getting it out of the way.
While we might have vehicles that could drive over the snow, it doesn't take a lot of experience to prove that doing so is trading short term convenience for some long term pain.
Obviously the first group, those who keep clean driveways, has the advantage of the moral high ground while the second group is often slipping on the ice and viewing the world while sitting on their backside, having slipped and fallen on the ice.
When we first moved to true snowbelt country, north of Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, we were welcomed that first winter with twenty three feet of snow. There were times when over six feet of snow covered the fields. It was only natural that after clearing our sidewalk we would walk through a near tunnel to get into our house.
That first winter we only had a handful of cattle and kept them in a barn. After that first winter we had many more cattle, and they all wintered in the woods much to the amazement of Harvey and Thelma Tait. We had bought our farm from Harvey and Thelma, and they had carved out a piece of land in the front of the farm and had become our neighbors and in some respects our mentors. Harvey had farmed with horses much of his life, but I used big diesel tractors. However, we agreed on many things and I learned much from Harvey over the years.
One thing we did agree on was the necessity of moving snow as soon as it was practical. In fact Harvey was often more fanatical than even me. Of course I had an excuse. There were times when I was a little tired of blowing snow since having the cattle in the woods necessitated blowing a road that was over one mile long. Big farm tractor snow blowers are almost always rear mounted which means you blow snow backing up. A few hours of backing up in the dark in a blizzard goes a long way.
I eventually got to the point of having a 105 PTO horsepower International Harvester tractor with heated cab and hydrostatic transmission. This a picture of our first tractor and snow blower combination, and it was similar to the bigger tractor that I mostly used. Putting on ring chains on a tractor is an art in itself, if you are doing it by yourself. The chains for one wheel weigh 175 lbs. Of course the worst nightmare is changing tires in the winter on a tractor with ring chains in temperatures near minus thirty degrees Fahrenheit. The tires are also loaded with a solution that adds over a thousand lbs per tire.
When all is working well, adding a double auger snow blower that is eight feet wide to one of these large tractors gives you a real beast that can handle almost anything. With all that horsepower, the plume of snow coming out of the blower can easily go over one hundred feet. You can go through drifts three feet high like a hot knife slicing butter.
After taking care of the road to the cows, I would always blow my way out of my driveway and go down and clear Harvey's driveway before I even finished my own. If I didn't he would be out there with his snow scoop and his seventy plus years of experience trying to do it manually. We cleaned snow away fanatically because it you didn't, you could be easily overwhelmed. Or if the rains came, you could end up with a skating rink in your driveway. There were times that I would go through the driveway spinning one ring chain at a time just to break up the ice. Living in Tay Creek was like living in a winter wonderland that could become a winter grave if you weren't careful. Our sidewalk to the front door often had drifts over your head.
I have to laugh now that I am reduced to using one of the snow scoops that Harvey favored. While I don't miss the giant tractors., there are times when I wish I had kept that small 60 PTO HP four wheel drive John Deere with front end loader. It was the last tractor to go from the farm. I had moved the snow blower to it since the cows left long before the last tractor.
Even now that I am reduced to a snow scoop, I'm always out clearing the driveway as soon as the magic time arrives that the snow or ice is easiest to move. There's nothing worse than driving over snow and then trying to remove it. Packing snow down to ice and then waiting a few days to get it up is a recipe for seriously hard work.
Where we lived in Roanoke after the snow stopped falling, if you could have made it up our hill, you would likely have seen me out there apparently working hard to achieve that Canadian dream of a clean driveway. I know Harvey would be pleased, because he would know that I was not working very hard, but I was working smart. He would look at the folks who are out chipping ice a few days after a storm and shake his head.
Before we moved from Roanoke, there were a few snow storms like the one that started on December 19, 2009 where the snow had to be cut out almost block by block and moved with the snow scoop.
Life on the Crystal Coast of North Carolina rarely gets interrupted by snow and I am thankful for that.