1. Welcome to PlowSite. Notice a fresh look and new features? It’s now easier to share photos and videos, find popular topics fast, and enjoy expanded user profiles. If you have any questions, click HELP at the top or bottom of any page, or send an email to help@plowsite.com. We welcome your feedback.

    Dismiss Notice

Embarassingly green n00b with lotsa questions

Discussion in 'Residential Snow Removal' started by montyollie, Feb 12, 2011.

  1. montyollie

    montyollie Junior Member
    Messages: 1

    Please refrain from laughing at me. I come here knowing next to nothing and in dire need of advice!

    Lived in the city most of my life (Southern Ontario, Canada) so I'm used to snow, and also used to city plows coming by and making my life bearable. I also lived for a year in the Canadian Arctic, and I remember walking to work in my big white Sorel boots and sliding on my bum down the hill to go home for lunch. HA! I've never even snowblown in my life. Always shovelled the walk and relied on the kindness of others. Or paid some kids with shovels to do it.

    Flash forward to this year. I finally moved out to the country this past spring. I'm near enough to Buffalo NY, that you can imagine it's snowy out here. I rent an in-law suite in a farmhouse with a 350 foot gravel driveway and a wide open soybean field to the side. The people who live in the main part of the house also rent, and they seem to be awesome tenants... they have access to the garage (I don't) and they have a rider mower for the summer and the big snowblower (the kind you walk behind). This is their personal equipment, and they are country people, used to maintaining property. I am not.

    This winter hit with a WALLOP. The snowfall is actually the bearable part. Neighbour usually snowplows the entire gravel driveway after a big snowfall, and it's clear and passable. Occasionally a neighbour farmer will bring his big tractor by and do it for us too.

    I moved out here thinking I'd do what I always did... pay someone to plow it after a heavy snowfall. Maybe 5-8 times tops for the winter. Called around, and believe it or not, everyone I called won't even come out this way. But neighbour does do it, so I'm not too worried about the big snowfalls.

    That's not the problem.

    The soybean field to the west of us is a HUGE problem. The drifts are unreal. These past two weeks, the neighbour has snowblown the impassable driveway up to four or six times a DAY. Twice now I've gotten stuck and so did his wife one day and she drives a Silverado (I'm in a tiny Honda Fit). As I type this, I'm housebound, completely dependent on him to snowblow me in or out. It's crazy.

    I can't live like this. Next winter I need to have a solution in place for myself. Someone suggested something called a 'snow fence' which I think I can talk my landlord into buying and installing.

    But I need a plow of my own. I do not have a garage or a place to store it. I'm actually leaning towards a 4x4 SUV of some fashion that I can drive to work or use for a winter beater as well as a plow, something with higher clearance than the Fit. I have no idea. Does the plow part come off or stay on all winter? Do you drive around with it on? I'm imagining mileage sucks. I'm a 100km round trip to work.

    Would it be better to buy an ATV/plow and some kind of little canvas carport to store it in?

    Also, money is a huge consideration. I'm single, live alone and I have car payments already... I don't need another vehichle, but I'd get an old beater if I had to. I will not live like this next winter.

  2. loudcav

    loudcav Member
    from ohio
    Messages: 59

    perhaps talk to the other renters and see what they reccomend maybe they will let you store a blower or ATV in the garage the blower is really the way to go tho since it will throw the snow out where as the plow you would have to push it back which sometimes just is impossable
  3. geer hed

    geer hed Senior Member
    Messages: 275

    Have you concidered moving back to the city ?

    Your question opens up a wide range of options, not only in type and size vehicle but also type plow.

    Since you have no experience in plowing, I am going to recommend you go with another snow blower.
    Plowing snow and plowing drifts are two different animals. trying to plow a snow drift can get you into big trouble quick, if your not experienced. And a snow blower will work better in a drift anyway.

    Now you still have options, You can get a walk behind or you can get one that mounts on the front of a garden tractor, they have more power and a cut a wider path. You can get snow cabs for iether one which helps keep the snow from making a snowman out of you while your doing it.

    If you still want to go with a plow, try an ATV. you will wnt one that is 4x4. They do work great but your still gonna have to go out and plow it 3 or 4 times a day to keep it open and passable. And if you get stuck with one of these it's a lot easier and cheaper to pull them out.
  4. cotter

    cotter Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 182

    Welcome to Plow Site! Even if you spell neighbor funny :D
    If they already have a blower on scene why not simply ask to help out. Let them show you how to run it and take care of it better than if it was your own, chip in for gas etc. Snow fence works wonderfully, a bit of work to install and 350' would not cost too much. Some results of snow fence http://www.plowsite.com/showthread.php?t=111929 this is the same area w/o snow fence http://www.plowsite.com/showpost.php?p=1139240&postcount=17611 The piles are about to the road now, I'll need to snap a new pic before it all melts this week.

  5. wellnermp

    wellnermp Senior Member
    from Alaska
    Messages: 102

    See if you can get the farmer neighbor to plow a trough about 30 feet off the windward (up wind) side of the driveway. This will act a snow fence and help cut down on the amount of drifting in the driveway. Also, when the driveway does get plowed, make sure all the snow gets piled on the down-wind side.

    Blowers are a good way to go, if you can break through the drifts with it. A smaller 4x4 would be a good option, also a lot warmer than walking behind a blower in the wind.
  6. leon

    leon Senior Member
    Messages: 872

    snow a la Buffalo, Tre Magnifique

    Bonjour Monty,

    About your snow;

    The issue is Butts Ugly as the Car Talk boys would say and
    with heavy drifting the issue is always hedge rows and more
    hedge rows.

    What is usually done is to set the snow fence in two or three
    parallel rows to slow the snow down and stop it cold before it
    becomes a nuisance.

    The final row of fence has to be a long distance away from the
    road or drive to slow it down and to stop it from blowing further.

    Using 350 feet as a factor and .3048 as the conversion for meters

    you have 107 meters as a reference.

    the wooden snow fence is the best type in my opinion

    for one 350 section

    It will require 7 50-foot rolls

    Using the heavy 6 foot T posts will assure
    you a good post depth for the snow fence

    You will need to set a post every 4 feet to
    be on the safe side to deal with the winds.

    89 posts rounded off
    one roll of mechanics wire
    fence pliers
    The posts come in bundles of 10 per bundle so....

    It takes a long time to drive fence posts by hand driving them
    with post pounder and its noisy and takes even longer to remove
    them if you do not have a post puller.

    The only way to make any time installing snow
    fence you would need to consider using a propane hammer post driver.


    you can buy a post puller just about anywhere

    The farmer may not want to deal with snow fence either

    The wind is the big thing in your case as it can fill
    the gaps of the snow fence barriers completely
    and still bury the driveway

    You may be money and aggravation ahead by
    buying a John Deere garden tractor, snow
    blower, chains and a soft cab for it as you will
    be out less money than buying a snow fence
    or even suggesting it.

    Investing in the John deere garden tractor, tire chains,
    soft cab and snow blower will be less money than
    321 meters of snow fence
    270 6 foot fence posts
    a propane hammer or a post pounder
    a T post puller
    fence pliers
    one roll of mechanics wire
    a weeks labor

    The propane hammer would let you and another person
    set the posts for the three rows of 350 foot of snow fence
    in one day.

    The propane hammers alone are more costly than the
    John Deere garden tractor ready to work
    in winter.

    And as the area is crop land I doubt they would
    want it anyway as it will interefere with plowing in the spring.

    The 20 horse John Deere with the snow blower and soft cab is looking better all the time
    and the hydrostatic transmission allows you to handle the snow drifts easily.

    You would be out about $3,000.00 U.S.D. plus gas cans and the John Deere folks will service
    the tractor at your place in most cases as most of them have a shop on wheels.

    A box of earplugs is about $40.00 for the Purafit ear plugs which are the best ones.

    The small hoop sheds from www.farmtek.com are under $800.00 U.S.D., dollars on sale
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2011
  7. loudcav

    loudcav Member
    from ohio
    Messages: 59

    I think you need to ask yourself how long you plan on living in the country if the answer is a few years or the rest of your life you may just want to buy an older tractor like a John Deere or a Simplicity with a blower you wont be reliant on others to be able to get out and about and you might even decide that you want to grow your own vegtables which if you bought a tractor that you can also put a tiller on you could do you will be in it for some serious money but in the end it would be forever yours so if you did move you could take it with you or sell
  8. seville009

    seville009 Senior Member
    from CNY
    Messages: 877

    Like someone mentioned previously, the easiest thing to do might just be to move since you're only renting.

    How come the landlord doesn't keep the driveway clear?
  9. YardMedic

    YardMedic PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,266

    We haven't explored using his wife's Silverado. Seems a 7.5' Fisher would be a great addition to that.... even used since he's not plowing commercially.
  10. loudcav

    loudcav Member
    from ohio
    Messages: 59

    why would she do that her husband is the one with the blower
  11. YardMedic

    YardMedic PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,266

    Oh my bad... I read it incorrectly, thinking that HE was married and his wife had a Silverado.
  12. leon

    leon Senior Member
    Messages: 872

    snow blower et.al..

    Addding a bit more to my earlier posting:

    Wooden snow fence is $44.00 a roll locally and 21 rolls would be $924.00+73.92 in tax


    The fence posts should be the heavy T posts.

    263 posts would be needed but the come 5 to a pack 56 bundles and you have a couple of spares I think I paid 6 dollars a post the last time I bought them 265 @ $6.00=$1590.00

    A roll of mechanics wire $6.00+-
    1 pair of fence pliers 8.00 +-
    T post puller 12.00+-

    snow fence $ 997.92
    T posts 1,590.00
    fence pliers 8.00
    mechanics wire 6.00
    T post puller 12.00
    4 small bottles of propane 32.00
    sub total 2645.92
    propane hammer 1995.00
    without a post adapter

    Keep in mind tthe sniw drifts will wiegh 21 pounds per cubic
    foot and you have to be able move the snow continuosly
    and have room to move it when you need to.

    If you have deep snows you will never be able to continuosly
    plow snow unless you have a small dozer or wheel loader other wise

    The snow blower gets rid of it the first time for you and the last time keeping
    everything open as long as you have fuel to feed the garden tractor.

    The soft cab will allow you to dress warm and not over heat as well.

    You will be money ahead buying the
    largest 20 horse John deere garden tractor,
    soft cab, chains and snow blower
    for the money invested in a snow fence-

    IF and only IF they let you put up fence
    to block the snow properly with three
    rows of snow fence.
  13. BenB

    BenB Member
    Messages: 39

    Just my 2 cents. I have a steep 800 foot drive. Tried the atv, it can be cold, especially if you have enough wind to create drifts that big, also it may not be able to push through drifts after you've been at work all day during a bad storm.

    Ideal thing would be a small tractor with a blower, plow would be okay if you can push snow far off the driveway so you don't get berms blocking you in, a v-plow would be great for drifts, but are expensive unless you can find a good used one.

    Maybe you and the other tenant could convince the owner to pay for a piece of equipment to leave at the property or try to help find someone to plow. Being able to plow your self out priceless when you have somewhere to be. But most equipment does take a bit of work to keep up and running.