So Where Are All These Unemployed People?

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Have you ever run a snowblower? It certainly is NOT a matter of "just walk behind it."
Yeah, your method works great for the first pass, but what about when you reach the end of the driveway?
To turn one around, you need to be able to man-handle 250lbs of dead weight. Your typical consumer-grade snowblower like any of the MTD and Airens products have live axles. Both wheels drive equally. They don't turn for beans.
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wrote:

Have you ever run a snowblower? It certainly is NOT a matter of "just walk behind it."
Yeah, your method works great for the first pass, but what about when you reach the end of the driveway?
To turn one around, you need to be able to man-handle 250lbs of dead weight. Your typical consumer-grade snowblower like any of the MTD and Airens products have live axles. Both wheels drive equally. They don't turn for beans.
reply: Sounds like the typical intellectual. They can watch and tell you what you are doing wrong, and what you SHOULD be doing, but they don't have the oomph to get out there and do it themselves.
All the "labor saving devices" take work to operate. Mowers, tillers, snow blowers, you name it. They just don't work on a tether or on a radio control system. Then there's the cleanup and maintenance.
The purpose of all these "labor saving devices" is not so one can finish mowing the yard and then spend the rest of the day fishing. It is so that we can have larger lawns.
Steve
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Steve B wrote:

Hell, I've probably saved the $500 I spent on my may-as-well-have-been-new snowblower already, just in painkillers I didn't have to buy. My back ain't what it used to be, being the wrong side of 50, and the wrong side of (mumble) pounds. Once you get the hang of it, this 24" MTD isn't hard to steer at all- just power through the turn and lean sideways. Or just let off both handles, pick up on the back end, and walk it sideways to line up on the next row to plow. I got it cheap from a dude about 5 feet tall and 90 pounds soaking wet, who bought it, used it twice, and was apparently scared of it. $100 less than new, and still had the plastic bag with the manual zip-tied to the handle.
Mind you, there is stuff I would rather do than drive this thing up and down the driveway. And I still have to do the front stoop and back deck by hand, not to mention rake that one troublesome spot on the roof that loves to form an ice cornice. But even with the 8" we got today, it all took less than an hour, where doing it all by hand would have taken 2-3 hours, and I would be flat exhausted after. And my back doesn't hurt!
Still gotta set the alarm for 0500 in case I have to do it again in the morning, just in case my office doesn't declare a delayed opening. (call the special phone number and listen to the recording before I get dressed or turn a light on- once a light has been on, I can't get back to sleep.)
Another 5-7 inches predicted tonight...:^(
-- aem sends....
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Steve B wrote:

Having run a snowblower regularly from about 12-34, it is damn close to "just walk behind it" as far as the regular driveway is concerned. Turns are simply lean to the side while the snowblower is moving. Granted I was also known to be rather aggressive with the snowblower in cutting down snow banks and other funkiness, which does require wrestling the machine, but that's not required for basic driveway clearing.

Every Ariens snowblower I have owned has had a differential and a selectable differential lock. I typically leave it locked, but it's certainly available to unlock if you want easier / tighter turns.
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-snip-

Was that you that mentioned leaning yesterday? I've been blowing snow with all manner of blowers- electric, single & double-stage, 1960s vintage to 2000-ish. I'm not understanding what you mean by 'leaning'.

I love the cleanup when you've got 6foot snowbanks on either side that the blower barely clears. If it hasn't frozen into glaciers I'll get the electric out and cut them down with that. Otherwise I shave of edges with the drift cutters and let the overhangs collapse.

Smack myself in the head. I'm with you in the 'it ain't hard work' camp- and I had completely forgotten that even my 30-something year old Bolens [essentially a Red Ariens] had locking hubs. I keep them locked because I have a steep driveway- but if I had one of those flat little postage stamps I'd unlock them and make the turns easier.
As it is I do very few sharp turns. I do the 'blow forward, then back up' thing in my turnaround-- and after the first couple trips down the center of the driveway, I've got a pretty good radius to sweep around. One hand on the machine is all it takes.
The hard work for me is walking back up the hill, but at least the snowblower can pull me a little.
Jim
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Jim Elbrecht wrote:

Nope, that was someone else. Snowblowers have long handles, when you stand further forward behind them you are between the handles, and to turn you just lean into the handle opposite the direction you want to turn and it will happily turn while moving, without requiring much if any arm strength. Learn this technique and you'll find the whole process less tiring.

I used to simply take the snowblower up on top of the banks to cut them down and blow the snow further back when they got too tall to blow over, but I also always blew the snow as far back as I could so the banks didn't develop much at the edge of the driveway.

Yep, they're easy to forget when the wheel is caked in snow so you can't see the lock.

Yep, you don't often need to make tight turns if you think about what you're doing. Also, even with the differential locked, tight turns aren't very difficult as long as you push down on the handles to lift the front end of the snowblower up off the ground so you aren't trying to drag the skids through stuff.

If you have a sufficiently large snowblower, you might get away with attaching one of those one wheel "boogies" that a lot of landscapers use behind big mowers.
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snipped-for-privacy@rochester.rr.com wrote:

Mine's 84 & on a windy hill with a 200' long steep drive. He broke his hip a couple winters ago & when the PT asked if he had any hobbies he answered 'Gardening'. Then she asked what he did in the winter. 'Blow snow' was his answer. When he can't do his driveway any more he'll be a very sad man. Some folks might not enjoy it so much.

There is a bit of work & science to it. Dad can't use a cab because there is always too much wind-- so he goes with proper headgear and goggles. He's also got a newer blower [8-10HP] that freewheels one side when you turn. That makes a huge difference. My 8hp, 1980's Bolens is a bear to turn. [but sure beats shoveling.] OTOH- my little Toro electric is lighter than a shovel full of wet snow-- and it will empty a mud puddle full of water in a couple seconds.

We used to go the dog park every day in the winter. It used to be 4 tennis courts. If we got a big snowfall I'd go over with the blower & clear some paths. It was fun to just walk around without having to turn around at all. Except for it being a *slow* walk-- it was indeed, just 'walking behind it'.

Dad's 4-5? year old blower isn't anything fancy- but it has the freewheeling so turning is easy. If you didn't have to keep the lever depressed it would be a 1 finger operation.
Jim
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Jim Elbrecht wrote:

If you have an older snowblower, or modify the stupid controls on a new one, it goes to hands off operation which is great for the first few passes where you can let the snowblower do it's thing in low gear while you walk around and collect fallen branches. Just have to walk over to it occasionally and adjust the direction to keep it on track.
I do the same with my riding mower w/ vac bagger in the fall, letting it continue sucking up leaves while I walk ahead and get fallen branches out of the way.
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benick wrote:

My grandmother mowed her own lawn (front *and* back) until she was in her upper eighties. Anytime someone would offer to do it for her, she would say she needed the exercise.
Jon
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Jon Danniken wrote:

That is why I haven't broken down and bought a riding mower, as much as I would love one, and can easily afford it. I really do need the exercise of pushing that thing around. Unlike shoveling snow, mowing doesn't trash my back for a day or two.
-- aem sends...
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As do I ...I love mowing the lawn with a push mower and need the exercise..About 2 acres worth..LOL.....It also does a MUCH better job IMHO...We also have a lot of trees , gardens , hills ect. so it's not ALL lawn..My dad's snowblower is a newer Craftsman 18HP with dual wheels that turns really easy with power steering..Boy don't it really throw the snow...LOL...
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On Feb 8, 12:54�pm, stayin@home. (Stranded) wrote:

Try Craigslist.org. People on there begging to plow your drive.
I have a flat 225 ft double wide drive. We got over 15" of snow the day before yesterday. It was a wet snow it boot. I have a 24" snow blower. Was done in an hour and no strain, no shoveling.
Hank
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On 2/8/2010 12:54 PM, Stranded wrote:

He did it. Not sure how big his snow thrower is but when I looked out, his wife was using it and he was shoveling. He's a doctor and probably had to get to work. His drive is over 700 ft.
My snow thrower is 24 inches and drive is about 90 ft which with walkway took 45 minutes and tank of gas. Fresh snow was easy to move and I think I could have done neighbors with my thrower in a few hours.
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Stranded wrote:

Ask around to learn if there's a day-labor center near you. Most towns have one, and you might be able to put a little crew together to shovel you out, assuming you can find shovels. Your driveway sounds like mine, except shorter. I own a Bobcat, but it only has a bucket, not a plow. Of course, I'm in the north where plows are everywhere. I've had the same guy do my basic driveway for years now, and then I go out and clean up with the Bobcat. If the plow guy is away, he always has someone to cover for him.
Everything seems upside-down this year. We've had snow, but not a lot of it, and normally-warmer places have been colder than here.
Your problem is that you need food. Can you get a store to deliver where you are? Around here, the Stop&Shop chain does, and maybe you could get it to the bottom of your driveway. Rig up a sled of some sort and go get it.
good luck.
Keith
--- ---
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.

Yup. Netgrocer.com. Fedex next day. Or...if you're like normal people, call a local food store and ask for delivery. If you really can't manage to clear a shovel's width to the road you absolutely MUST have a main plan and a backup for clearing snow. Failing that, move into an apt or other place that does the upkeep for you. How did you manage to live this long?
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wrote:

There's no way FedEx or anyone else will climb this hill with 24+ inches on the ground and another 20 in. on the way tomorrow and Wed. If they leave it down below, might be tough to retrieve it walking down and then up a hill with 4 ft. of snow cover.

Might be time to get into one of those retirement communities where you start out independent and then move to higher levels of care as you deteriorate.
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wrote:

BWAHAHAHA
A platoon sgt. in basic training asked me the same thing, 44 years ago.
The exact same words.
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Stranded wrote:

How much longer did he live?
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Staying home collecting Obama checks.
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Phisherman wrote:

Where my check be at?
TDD
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