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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi - need some advice for snow removal (as does probably 3/4's of the country by now).
My husband has been ill, so it is just me getting us in and out as I can. Main problem is our driveway is almost a mile long and a 16 % grade. A couple of corners get pretty bad as they don't get any sun. Last year, one of these corners was fine, but trees must have grown just enough to shade.

What is the best way to either 1) remove snow from whole driveway or 2) just doctor up these corners in some way to make them driveable. And this something would be something I could do by myself. I have a 3/4 ton Chevy 2500 4 x 4.

Going down the driveway isn't bad (a couple of slips and slides), but coming up is a real 4 wheelin' experience. I left tracks yesterday in places I know our driveway isn't - I believe one part is a big blackberry patch! But we made it and this was after 2 days of warming up and rain (finally!!). Now the snow is just a mucky mess, but about a foot deep still and icy underneath.

Planning for the future - nothing to be done this year probably but stick it out and keep driving up and down to make tracks down to the gravel base. As fast as I can do that the snow keeps refilling the tracks overnight.

Anything to put on top of snow to melt it down to gravel (some miracle stuff I don't know about yet?). Or is it best to dump some gravel on top of the snow in the bad corners? Or salt? Any handy implement I could purchase that is reasonable for my truck to make it a snow plow? We don't have a 4 wheeler yet or tractor, but it is on my future wish list.

Haven't found anyone yet to bring a cat or tractor up to get the snow off, so all this is up to me. Here in Western Oregon, snow this bad isn't something we get too often, but the last two years have been especially bad. We're at 1,000 ft and we couldn't even leave at all last week we had so much snow. I know you guys in the mid-west and upper east will laugh that a foot of snow is a problem, but when it isn't the normal weather pattern, you just are not prepared for dealing with it.

Thanks for any ideas and hope this snow passes on very soon. At least we are south of the Portland/Salem area where they are just getting hammered.

CindyOR
 

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I plow with the bucket loader of our tractor. In fact, I just got inside from doing the farm yard, driveway and road into the south field for delivering hay after which I did that, delivered hay to the animals. The tractor, which has logging chains on the fluid filled rear wheels, is a little slower than using a pickup truck with a snow plow but it will plow anything. Good thing as we had snow up to my waist, probably 36". The drifts were higher and I had to go through a lot of those.

To melt snow I scatter wood ash from our wood stove. When it is sunny this melts the driveway right dow. But, usually I don't want that. I find it is better to leave a hard base of snow for driving on.

It is much easier to plow going down hill. You might even be able to make something out of wood that goes on the bumper of your car to push the snow to the side as you drive down hill. Snow boarding... :)

For ice the best solution is sharp sand.

Cheers

-Walter
Sugar Mountain Farm
in the mountains of Vermont
http://SugarMtnFarm.com/blog/
http://HollyGraphicArt.com/
http://NoNAIS.org
 

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A simple V drag made out of wood or steel that you could drag behind your chained up Chevy. They are cheap, simple to build & work very well. They used to keep miles & miles of roads open with V drags & horses. I built one out of an old Manufactured home tongue that works real well. Some neighbors made one out of wood (copied my design) that works good.
 

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I suggest starting by placing marker sticks along the edges of the drive. You can buy them or make them. about 3-4' high. If there is enough snowfall, that where the drive surface is not obvious, the markers will keep you or whoever is plowing, out of the mud.

It may be best to hire someone with a 4x4 with plow. They can hit it quickly only when needed, so costs should be reasonable. It will really make a difference when you get a real good snowfall.

Good luck.
 

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A simple V drag made out of wood or steel that you could drag behind your chained up Chevy. They are cheap, simple to build & work very well. They used to keep miles & miles of roads open with V drags & horses. I built one out of an old Manufactured home tongue that works real well. Some neighbors made one out of wood (copied my design) that works good.
Could you pos a picture? I would love to see something like this! We need an answer for snow removal too!
 

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Sorry, I haven't figured out how to post pictures yet, when I do, I will.

They are the simplest thing in the world to build. The first one I built, I just used old 12" wide barn lumber & some scraps of 2X4's I had laying around. It took less then 2 hrs. to put together & I used it for 3 winters until I built a better one out of steel. Just build a rough 90 degree V out of 12' long X 12" wide boards. Concocked some form of hitch toward the front to hook a chain to. Might want to buildup the wings if the snows over a foot deep. With a little imagination, time, materials & something to drag it with, you,ll have a cheap snow plow that works surprizingly well. I've also heard them called a snow wedge. Note: It helps to have room to turn around at the end of each pass.
 

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If you can afford a plow for the Chevvy, I would recommend it. Learning to use one isn't rocket science. Carry a shovel though, LOL.
 

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I've become quite the fan of used snowblowers. They do the work, not you, and they do a darn good job of it.

I've used plows over the years, on trucks and tractors. Doesn't do nearly as good a job as a blower. Especially if the snow is deep, or if there are turns involved.

A good used snowblower can be had for a few hundred dollars, as in the 2-400 range. And that will buy you a darn good one, with a wide auger and a powerfull throw. A mile long driveway, you can honestly do it in probably just an hour, walking up and down it twice.

As for melting ice, I've learned that my seed caster works superbly at spreading salt. I get a much more uniform coverage, and waste far less salt that way. Not so easy to do with a mile long driveway. But, if it's been cleared and you only need to so shaded spots, it becomes much more manageable.
 

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-TWO-, posting pictures is easy. All you have to do is download your photos from your computer to a web based photo hosting site. I use webshots.com but some use picturetrail or photobucket or snapfish. With webshots your photos go into albums and you click on the one you want to share. That brings it to a page for itself and also has a box with options for linking, sharing, email, etc. Takes longer to explain that to do it once you know how.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you for all the great ideas. These ideas opened up a wide assortment of possibilities and I think I can manage any of the suggestions, so between now and next winter I'll have a plan worked out and be all ready. What a great idea about using the seed spreader for salt spreading!

We actually own reindeer that we take out on display and as I was dragging our cooler up the hill with bags of feed in it, hooked up like a sled dog, I thought to myself - what the heck am I thinking!! Couldn't drive the truck up to the barn with all this snow. This summer I also am going to get a harness for them and teach them to pull. I can probably even hook up a "V" made of wood and have them pull it up and down the driveway. Our property is so hilly that I've avoided teaching them to pull because of the learning curve - it could be a wild ride if they took off during the teaching phase. But we all have to work a little harder in these rough economic times and it is time they "pulled their weight" a bit more, so to speak.

Thanks again for the ideas.
CindyOR
 

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Here an attempt to post a couple of pictures of my original V-drag. These are scanned pictures from 1993.

They are kind of small, can anyone make 'em bigger? :eek:







 

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And nobody else has said . . Well come on over to my neck of the woods here in Michigan and help me deal with over 7 (seven) feet of snow thus far . . . .and 'winter' just arrived a couple days ago.......................

Once the snow gets "mushy wet" so to speak an inexpensive snow thrower will Not work.
Its like trying to throw wet concrete............been there done that.
And believe me that 2 mile--down and back--trek with a snow thrower would take way more than an hour.

I have a plow truck and a walk behind snow thrower that have seen a lot of use since mid November.
 

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If I had that kind of a driveway , and a limited budget , I think I would try to find an older Gravely mod. L walk behind , with a Snow Blower and a Snow Plow Blade . Plus there are a lot more attachments for the small farmstead . With a little more funds , an older Ford 4x4 pick up or a Bronco with a plow and weight in the back , and chains , and just use it as a dedicated plow .
Bob
 

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hope this helps...

nope...didn't work
 

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Defending the Highground
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We built ourselves this last year. It's a little beaten up, but we're using it again this year. Sure helps to clear the 1/3 mile long driveway.

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DH finds it works better if it is weighed down with several sand snakes. He hooks it on the trailer hitch and drives up and down the driveway in 4WD. It does a better job when the snow is light and fluffy, but does a sufficient job when the snow is wet and heavy.
RVcook
 

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And nobody else has said . . Well come on over to my neck of the woods here in Michigan and help me deal with over 7 (seven) feet of snow thus far . . . .and 'winter' just arrived a couple days ago.......................
Good Lord, 7 feet. Thats bad. I might drop by in late July/early August. It might be all gone by then.:coffee: Ya might want to invest in a D8 & a grader with a snow-wing. Hang in there Jim-mi, springs acoming. :bouncy:
 

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Different type of snow conditions in different areas.....

'Here' if you can drive through the snow pulling that wooden vee deal - why bother plowing it? You can already drive through it.... ;)

We are on the plains here, winds get to 30 mph and the snow never does melt away once it comes - it will be March before any signifigant amount goes away.

So, the problem here is blowing winds. They will drift shut any ridges you make, building the snow higher & higher on the road if you were to set up ridges on the sides like that vee thing does. As well, the wind blows those drifts hard - at times the drifts will almost carry the wieght of a vehicle they are so hard.

I see some of you are in the woods, where there is no wind to speak of. I suspect the snow melts away at times during the winter in your more mild temperatures. In those situations, I'm sure these things wwork.

'Here' the best thing is a 2-stage snow blower on the back of a tractor, 6-8 foot wide model, and a cab on the tractor is sure nice.

I need to clean out the yard again - we had less than an inch of snow, but a 15 mph SE wind yesterday filled in the snow to about 12 inches deep in the yard. I'm letting it warm up a little, it's 3 degrees now, lot better than this morning.

Making hay, moving snow, are not universal things that work all across the country. You need to do what works for your area. I kinda have to snicker at some of the solutions here, but obviously they work & are useful & what works for your conditions. Just for those reading from other parts of the country & thinking of moving out to the country - it isn't always that simple to deal with snow......

--->Paul
 

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Cindy,

I think you might want to save your salt for the iced-over and packed down parts in your driveway. Especially those areas that don't get much sun.

I think adding salt to the 1 foot of snow would be a waste of time and money, but will work well on the packed ice.

I have seen folks spread salt frugally in just one narrow path for one side of the wheels, so at least one side of the vehicle is getting traction....does that make sense??? It takes some trial and error to see what works best for you.

If you use a seed spreader for salt, I am betting that a broadcast seeder will be needed versus a drop seeder.

The V-drag that has been suggested is a great idea. I have seen those work wonders.

BTW, glad to see you posting. Are you hanging in there okay?

Clove
 

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Different type of snow conditions in different areas.....

'Here' if you can drive through the snow pulling that wooden vee deal - why bother plowing it? You can already drive through it.... ;)

We are on the plains here, winds get to 30 mph and the snow never does melt away once it comes - it will be March before any signifigant amount goes away.

So, the problem here is blowing winds. They will drift shut any ridges you make, building the snow higher & higher on the road if you were to set up ridges on the sides like that vee thing does. As well, the wind blows those drifts hard - at times the drifts will almost carry the wieght of a vehicle they are so hard.

I see some of you are in the woods, where there is no wind to speak of. I suspect the snow melts away at times during the winter in your more mild temperatures. In those situations, I'm sure these things wwork.

'Here' the best thing is a 2-stage snow blower on the back of a tractor, 6-8 foot wide model, and a cab on the tractor is sure nice.

I need to clean out the yard again - we had less than an inch of snow, but a 15 mph SE wind yesterday filled in the snow to about 12 inches deep in the yard. I'm letting it warm up a little, it's 3 degrees now, lot better than this morning.

Making hay, moving snow, are not universal things that work all across the country. You need to do what works for your area. I kinda have to snicker at some of the solutions here, but obviously they work & are useful & what works for your conditions. Just for those reading from other parts of the country & thinking of moving out to the country - it isn't always that simple to deal with snow......

--->Paul
You are correct about the different "types" of winter weather around the country. Although we are surrounded by lots of trees, our home is located in a small clearing at the top of a hill with a 1/3 mile long driveway. Drifting up here is definitely a problem as well since the wind comes from the side of the house and swirls up against the front where the garage door is. It is not uncommon to get a 2" snowfall and still have a 9" drift outside the front door.

We use the homemade v-plow to clear a wide enough path (3 passes) and then take the 2-stage snowblower and clean up along the sides. Last year, we only had the v-plow and when the propane delivery truck couldn't make the turn in the driveway because it was too narrow, we ended up shaving it by hand. The snow was piled so high, I couldn't "fling" it up and over! Not long afterward, we purchased a used snowblower to deal with this situation. This summer, we picked up a used 4-wheeler with a small plow blade and winch. Now at least we have some options for moving the snow...much more than we had last year.

If we get another couple inches, we'll break the December snowfall record for Wisconsin so who knows what next year will bring. Maybe next year we'll be able to afford a REAL plowing truck! :bouncy: Now that would be great!

RVcook
 
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