Thinking ahead about inevitable snow

Pardon me while I ramble a bit. If you want a short read, just skip to another topic.

For years I used my dad’s snowblower to clear all the neighbors’ driveways and sidewalks, as had my dad. After a combined thirty-two years use it died due to lack of replacement parts. So eleven years ago I bought a new snowblower. It will chomp through packed sleet as well as deep snow. I call it The Beast because it weighs 99 lbs.

The past few years I’ve had to quit clearing everyone else’s driveways as pushing that weight very much has gotten too hard for me. I’m not old but I’m not young anymore. At age 67, with two forms of severe arthritis, a bum knee and hip, asthma, and lifelong heart murmmer I found that reverting to shoveling by hand a little at a time easier, especially for moderate snow. Minor snow I just let melt and evaporate on its own. Major snow I just can’t safely handle anymore darn it, beast or no beast.

Well, I tried firing up The Beast a few days ago in preparation for winter. Nope, wouldn’t start. Assumed it was stale gas despite having stabilizer in it. I asked a young neighbor who is a car mechanic for help, offering to pay for his time. He wouldn’t take any money, bless him.

Even after changing out the gas for fresh fuel it wouldn’t start. Turns out a piece controlling the choke is broken. But he managed a temporary work around and got it running. Parts for it are available so it can be fixed.

Just pushing The Beast from my garage across the street to my neighbor’s driveway reminded me how heavy and cumbersome it is. So after a bit of thought I offered the young man a deal. I’ve given him and his wife the snowblower in return for promised future help clearing snow for me and for the elderly couple who live next door to them.

Yes, I could probably have sold the machine on FB Marketplace or through an ad in the weekly community newspaper for almost what I paid for it a decade ago, given what much higher current prices now are for similar new snowblowers, and I definitely could use the money but I’m wary of having strangers come to my home given that I live alone. The young couple I gave it to both work and both are also in the National Guard. Plus they have a young baby to raise. So letting them have the machine which he can use to make a bit of money clearing snow makes sense. I’ve traded the machine for future services. Besides, there is more than one way of paying forward helping other people.

I’ve also finally spent $20 for a new very light weight snow shovel/pusher for moderate snow. My dad’s old flat shaped steel snow shovel is older than I am, has a very worn jagged edge I’m tired of filing a bit smoother, is cumbersome and heavy, and has the handle coming loose after seventy years. The new one is curved for rolling up pushed snow, made of plastic with a steel edge, and made in the U.S.A. It won’t last like the old shovel has but should be so much easier to use.

All this so I can get the car in and out of the garage to drive to work on snow days. I’m slow and limited in what I can physically manage but I’m stubborn and refuse to lose. :slightly_smiling_face:

Okay, done rambling for now. :grin:


Sounds like the perfect solution to your snow issues!


Hopefully. Of course, I know that the neighbor may not always be available to clear snow for me but I’m still content with our bargain.

What’s mildly amusing is that last winter I made it to work in a moderate snow when all but one of the young workers at the store stayed home. Only employees above age fifty came to work. (A grocery store so no way to work remotely from home.) It continued to snow heavily all day and was fairly deep by evening. I had to help the one youngster who had come to work clear snow and ice off his car and dig it out because he had no clue how to effectively do so. My one real challenge that evening was getting up the hill into my subdivision since the street wasn’t yet plowed. But whenever I started losing traction I simply backed up a bit and then pulled forward again, similar to rocking the car out of being stuck, only I didn’t wait to get stuck. It helps that I was taught to drive by my mom who was from Detroit and was used to driving in snow. :grin:


I bought a 2 stage a few years ago to compliment my 89 single stage. 2 stage was $75, sure some issues, tire loses air, can’t get the bolt off, and speed control does not work when it snows. Slime for the tire doing good, and just leave it on speed 2 as I have tried every lubricant known to man to have it work in cold mode. It is a wheel that is supposed to slide along a shaft, but will not slide when there is snow, works well anytime else. Hope you make it through. Got rid of the 89 single stage last year as it will run all day unless there is snow, then 15 minutes, puke and die. Electrical something or other going bad. waiting for the nasty buildup of white flakes, hope all goes well for you!

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I dunno, no way I could shovel. I only got the 24 inch one and it is not hard to use. The free blower might wear off pretty quick though. If we are gone for the month I give the kid that does his dads next door $300 at least and he uses utility vehicle with a blade. Still he works pretty hard.

I bought my first blower for $50 and was ten years old. I used it for about 20 years before the engine froze. Because I would take a snow day, I’d end up doing 3-4 other driveways with that old machine. So I wore it out and spent my vacation day clearing snow for some cookies. We were all the same age. I paid about $500 for my next one and decided just to get a new toro while the other one was still good. That one was $800 and I’m older than you and the only thing I shovel is a short sidewalk. So just saying at $50-75 per driveway, even if you had a super duper blower, it may not take long for the guy to be on the loosing end. Minnesota anyway. Might want to slip him a couple hundred now and then to keep him motivated. Yeah I’ve been there work all week ten plus hours a day, then have the weekend shot with the army, and then gotta do these driveways.

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I think you made a good deal. I am 81 and my ailment is terminal laziness. I do anything to get out of work. Some years back, I had a friend and colleague who lived in my neighborhood. I was replacing the water pump on my 1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass and was turning the air blue with my language. This colleague was on the faculty in the industrial arts department and I had known him since elementary school. When he saw what I was doing, he said, “Triedaq, why are you doing that? You obviously don’t like doing that kind of work. Do what I do. If a job looks like it is going to take more than 20 minutes, I hire someone to do the job”. I decided my friend was right. I gave away my ramps and creeper and don’t even do my own oil changes
I made friends with the workers on the service staff at the university where I was on the faculty. I got along better with them than I did with many of my faculty colleagues. However, one of the service employees, old Joe, cost me over $4000. I was up on a ladder cleaning my eaves troughs when he drove past my house to help the widow who lived across the street. He saw me up on the ladder and yelled “Get down off that ladder. You have no business at your age doing that job”. It was so inconvenient to clean the gutters because I had to have Mrs. Triedaq stand as lookout and if she sae old Joe coming down the street, she would yell “Old Joe”. I would then scramble down the ladder and hide the ladder behind the bushes. I had new gutters and leaf guards installed so I don’t have to clean the gutters.
I don’t know how big a snowblower you need. I bought a small, lightweight Toro for my Dad back in 1977. He was able to clear his driveway when we had a big blizzard back in 1978 with that snowblower. When my parents moved into assisted care, I inherited that snowblower. After a couple of winter seasons, it wouldn’t start–it wasn’t getting spark. I took it to a repair shop for a new ignition module and was informed that the compression was so low it wasn’t worth fixing. The repairman asked, “Was this snowblower used commercially? Nobody wears out a snowblower in East Central Indiana”. It dawned on me that my Dad was using the snowblower to not only clear his driveway, but many of his neighbours as well. I replaced the Toro with an inexpensive single stage MTD that I bought at Walmart that I purchased in 1991 and it handles the snow we get.
My parents lived through the depression and it was a sin not to do as much as you can for yourself. I have finally realized that I don’t have to do everything. I had to play a couple of concerts with a lot of rehearsals this fall. I hired a company to take up the leaves. I had a doctor’s appointment this morning. Except for terminal laziness, I am healthy.

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I hear the terminal laziness, I am always thinking, how can I do one action that would save me from doing 2. Got to take this to the basement, what can I bring up to save me another trip down!

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I think youve consruct a perfect solution to the problem! As far as the new shovel lasting as long as the old one, it only needs to last as long as you :wink:

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I pay a snow contractor to do this since I have a health problem. I pay $250 for a double garage and it saves my back.I sold my snow blower years ago.

When I could still walk, I found a child’s snow shovel and I put a long wooden dowel on it. Then I put the handle on the end. I could throw snow a long way with it. I tell kids that I got it when I was little, and it kept growing.


Shoveling snow makes for good winter exercise (if doctor approves), but take it easy, working 15 minutes, taking a 15 minute break, etc is safer than working continuously until job is done. Cold weather and vigorous exercise not a safe mix for older folks.


Adjusted impeller pulley on my 2 stage. Made a huge difference.
No start. I have elec start. Checked spark. Put plug wire back. Started on first pull. Odd.

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My Bolt sits lower to the ground than my old CX-7 did, so I’ve had to shovel the last couple years. Last year, though, we got around dd 8 inches of snow and I knew I wasn’t going to be able to shovel that without having a heart attack(even using the 15/15 advice George gave above).
Looked online for local plow drivers and, of course, they were booked pretty much the whole day, or they were wanting $300+ to come do my small driveway. I saw one of my work friends posting on FB about how they were out making money so I messaged them to come over with their snowblower, but it broke just before they got to me. A neighbor had his son clearing his driveway so I got ahold of him before his son left and he came over and go me squared away for $30.
After that I vowed not to wait any longer to get a snowblower for myself, only I didn’t want to mess around with all of the gas and oil changes and pull starts and such so I got a battery powered 2 stage one that should be able to do my driveway pretty easily and still have some charge left to do my neighbor’s drive as well. Can’t find a replacement battery for it so I’m stuck with just one for the time being. I’m also looking into buying a single stage one for my parent’s to use on their driveway so they aren’t out shoveling snow either.

Every spring I change oil, spark plug, touch up, and any needed maintenance like belt replacement. Last winter wouldn’t start. Finally took the covers off and checked the plug. I hadn’t plugged it in again. Silly me.

I learned my lesson though trying to find a new blower in January in a bad winter. I only found a couple in Minneapolis.
One the guy paid down and on hold, another waiting for parts and two at an equipment dealer. One small one and a 24 inch one. I took the 24 incher. Fit in my trunk kinda halfway.

The other week when the Buffalo NY area received over four feet of snow people were advised to avoid physical stress. Though I’m in Florida, I followed their advice.

On a more serious note, shoveling snow was how I made money in my preteen years in Minneapolis.

Yeah but you’ve got sand. I remember one year when dad and I were shoveling the driveway after maybe 18 inches, he would cut the snow into blocks first. Only two guys had snow equipment in the whole area. One worked for the implement dealer, and
the other had a lawn tractor with the blower mounted. It was 1976 until I got a blower, then got one for dad. Can’t believe we all used to do it all by hand. But four feet would be a killer.

Dang ipad substitutes fandango for and. I didn’t even know that was a word.

My dad worked his way up. Shovel, then a v-plow we pushed by hand, then a single stage, self propelled snow blower.

Is the 99 pound snow blower not self propelled?

Careful Dr George, doctors urge caution:

Just curious off topic of cars. I have used 18" of snow for time to shovel the roof at the cabins. Now I think it could handle 24", just wondering your thoughts. I hire it out as I do not want to do 16 hours of driving and stay at a hotel.