The fortuitous winter precipitation has increased the sky-snow and plow-snow fauna that has visited my yard this season. I have coined the -snow terms because it seems every day I have to lay a killing on some kind of snow on my front walk.
Sky-snow is the fluffy white snow that lands on the walkway or is carried on the wind to fill the path from a residence to the road. Plow-snow is usually the hard flat chunky snow mixed with sand substrate that fills the curb in front of a walkway when streets ever get plowed.
A classification of tools called shovels are used by a resident to drop and dress these two snow creatures. There are a number of models — spade, scoop, square; in a variety of materials — steel, steel, aluminum and plastic. The selection of a shovel is unique to each individual user. Cost, weight, length, durability and availability are all factors in a purchase.
For sky-snow a scoop shovel is best, and for plow-snow an aluminum grain shovel does the job. Health officials have suggested parka clad individuals preparing for shoveling should do exercises so they warm-up to prevent injury. I find a few good swear words while I stand at the front window watching the beasts appear, or my spouse asking me when I am going to shovel the walk, is all the pre-game warms I need to start the job.
For sky-snow I like to push the snow until it accumulates in a sufficient pile at the front of the shovel to make throwing it sideways most efficient. Throwing it too early increases back rotation, throwing too late increases the load on the back. Getting the correct load is optimal, but will still result in back pain just the same.
Plow-snow requires a shovel with a strong blade. The hard pack snow from man made road ruts is broken into scree and shale components by the plow, and can be difficult to move with a scoop shovel. The grain scoop, with a proper pitch technique cleans this one neatly. This beast needs to be tackled when it is fresh. Optimum point is just after the plow moves down the road.
If you come upon this kill after some time with a prolonged drop in temperature, the effort required to deal with it goes up exponentially. If the hunter decides to wait, the snow compacts and bonds to form a solid mount, that will require a more substantial spade to break up. Tackling this one fresh has the advantage of a warm-up included. The beeping blue light grader-special gliding by, causes an increase in blood pressure and swearing.
Finding plow-snow animals on residential street this year has been rare. The city policy of not plowing residential streets has cut the herd dramatically. Plow-snow‘s can be be found six to eight feet high on main thoroughfares. I have heard these same beasts have been found in back lanes. I have no experience in dealing with this kill. My thought would be an axe, a pick and maybe help from someone forced to do community service.
The prognosticating groundhog Wiarton Willie, saw his shadow in February. This means we still have six more weeks of killing snow. I hear a beeping on my residential street. I do hope St. Peter has invested in technology. This winter my ability to swear will far exceed his ability to keep track by making notes in his book.