Survival can be quite the challenge if you aren’t ready for it and have a plan.
Be it you live in town or out in the country here are several ideas that you are going to want to have worked out ahead of time.
Where is it easy to pile up and what do you want wet for an extended time when the spring thaw shows up? Most importantly where is it going to drain to? Make sure you’re not putting it in the high spot in the yard where the easy path for the drainage is your basement door.
If you live in town, your driveway and all the sidewalks are what is on your list of must do’s. If you live in the country your going to have to ask yourself: What space do you need to get to and what can you live with if you can’t get to it for a few months? If its something you want to access then you’re probably are going to want to keep up on it unless you have a big piece of machinery that can really move some snow. In that case emergency routes and necessitates will probably cut it.
Are you going to be able to shovel everything that you need to move or are you going to need some equipment to get the job done? You really want to think about that as some days you might get hit with a pretty big snow and if its a warm wet snow, it will be heavy. So make sure you’re up to the job, and expect to have an occasional backache if your going to do a lot of shoveling.
Maybe two if your shovel isn’t in good condition or you’re an aggressive shovel-er. They usually are no longer stocked in store’s by late winter, so if you break it, you may have to use a regular shovel. And I tell you from experience that is not the way to go. So pay attention to the condition of your shovel, as in the winter it is a necessity.
We could go on forever on what the best snow blower is. First question: electric or gas? It’s going to depend on how far away from the electrical source you need to blow snow; and probably the amount of snow you are expecting. I think either one can usually handle what shows up in town for snow. When you hit the country most people are using gas blowers as they have longer driveways; but once again that is a judgement call of what’s going to work for you. I can tell you from experience, if you have a lot of snow to remove: don’t skimp on the snow blower. It does you no good if it sits with a continual broken shear pin or better yet, if it’s built so flimsy that it actually bends its metal from the weight of the snow. Most of the local snow blower dealer’s in the area can help you choose the right one for your situation.
Once again we could go on and on about different brands and sizes. I suggest that you take into consideration (if you live in the country) of all the uses you will have for a tractor, and shop accordingly. One big thing I have learned over the years (to really take into consideration): is the size of the tractor, and it’s turning ratio in the winter while in 4 wheel drive once you start stacking snow up. Make sure you don’t have to hit the barn to get out of a spot. So if you think you need a big one, make sure that it will be able to navigate between building’s and fence’s when you have snow stacked. And if you’re thinking about a little one, make sure that what you’re asking it to do, it’s capable of. A break down in the winter can be a huge disaster. A set of chains for it is also a really good investment, and if you have a lot to do they are a must once the ground gets icy.
A big bucket and a snow blower are probably the best set up. I have a long driveway and I use a snow blade on the front of my 43hp tractor. My driveway is long and the bucket is small, but you will definitely want to take into consideration how you want to get the job done. Once again: it’s all in the planning. In our area, it seems like tractor snow blower’s sell out early in the season, so if you change your mind mid-season it may be too late. I have found when I have gone down to the tractor store for implements (especially for anything to move snow) that most times you are several months out before it arrives. If you think you’re going to want a snow blower next winter, I highly recommend that you be thinking about it in May and June and get your order in.
I hope this gives you some good ideas. Dealing with the winters in North Idaho can be a source of fun if the preparation is done before hand and you have a good plan of attack.