January 10, 2018

Our Favorite Snow Shovels

It is January here in SOMA and winter is in full swing! The wind is blowing, the snow is falling and my thoughts have drifted to the exciting topic of snow removal. A New Englander at heart, I have done more than my fair share of shoveling. As kids, my brother and I used to roam around our neighborhood with shovels, digging out neighbors for a well earned $20. While no longer so enthusiastic about snow removal, I was fortunate/clever enough to partner up with a fellow from the Midwest. Along with some oddly pronounced words like “melk” and “waygon” and a shocking tolerance for something called “sandwich loaf,” I have been freed from shoveling.

The driveway here on Oakview is very long and our first winter here we purchased a snow blower. This is an essential tool, in my opinion, for driveways and sidewalks as it enables my Midwestern fellow to quickly clear the way before heading off to work in the morning.

Once the bulk of the work is done there are still steps, porches and walkways that need to be cleared. UPS should be able to deliver your packages without threat of slips and this is where shovels and other implements come into play.

Over the years we have gathered the tools that work best for, ahem, us in the conditions particular to the region. Our necessities are: push broom, upright broom, grain shovel, snow pusher and, the trusty ice chopper.

For light snow, the kind unfit for snowballs, all you really need is a broom or two. A push broom is great for larger areas like porches and walks and a straight broom with very stiff bristles is often all you need for steps. If you have an old broom lying around you can always cut down the bristles so that they are shorter and stiffer. The go-to straight broom in our house is a horrible old plastic thing that we found in the basement when we moved in… it’s perfect for this purpose.

The snow pusher, as advertized, pushes the snow out of your way. It’s great for fluffy, light snow that is too plentiful for a broom alone. When presented with heavier snow, perfect for building snowmen, a grain shovel does the trick. It’s a champion when you need to move snow that isn’t easily pushed – slushy steps for example. Last on the list, the ice chopper is the only tool that will break up ice after a big thaw and refreeze – we repurpose the edger from our stash of garden tools. Chop up the ice and then grab your trusty grain shovel to haul it all out of the way.

No matter who is doing the snow removal at your house, teenage children, a hired hand or your own two hands, remember that you aren’t only doing it to avoid a ticket from the town. Think of the commuters heading to the jitney, the kids walking to school and, of course, those who need to do their jobs no matter the weather like PSE&G, the USPS and various package delivery companies. Your letter carrier will thank you.

Related Post: What winter-prep home projects are on your to-do list? ; Design Essentials: Indoor/Outdoor Rugs