How to shovel snow!

Good grief, more snow today! Not much by Scandinavian standards but enough to bring the UK to a grinding halt. Stops me getting the car out of my driveway too…  it’s just steep enough and just slippery enough to keep me sitting there spinning the wheels and going absolutely nowhere.

This morning I decided that enough is enough, surely it’s easy enough to shovel the snow off the driveway?

Of course if you’re gonna bother clearing snow then you might just as well do it properly, and this is why:

  • It’s really good exercise.
  • It really warms you up on a cold day.
  • It’s very satisfying once finished.
  • Do it right and your drive will stay clear even if there’s more snow!

What do you need?

If you’re lucky then the snow is fresh and no-one has walked or driven over it yet. If you find it like this then just use the broom to push the snow to one side, work your way from one end to the other pushing snow across the driveway in straight lines. If you’ve got kids then brush it all into one big pile because you can make a snowman really quickly too! Before long you’ll have a mostly clear driveway ready for the next step.

If you’re not so lucky then the kids, the dog, the postman and the neighbours have all walked, driven or tobogganed on every inch of your drive and compacted the snow into a couple of inches of ice. Brilliant… NOT! This is REALLY gonna get you warm now. Grab hold of your plastic snow shovel, a wide builders shovel will do but will be  much more noisy…. It’s ok though, that incessant scraping noise is only irritating all the people sat indoors NOT helping you shovel snow. Start at one end of the drive and shovel a line of snow straight across and into a pile on the most convenient side. Repeat, over and over and over again. You end up with a mostly clear drive with a big pile of icy lumps along one side. The kids can make the sort of snowballs that knock people unconscious with this stuff :o)

You may notice I’ve said mostly clear… let’s not get too anal about this, there’s no prizes for the best driveway! Besides which it will usually start snowing again the moment you start clearing up, it’s sods law! Once the driveway is mostly clear then it’s important that you take the next step. If you just leave it with odd patches and a thin dusting of snow then the chances are this will freeze into a lethal sheet of ice which is just making things worse.

Next step. Get your working gloves on if you haven’t already, pick up or drag your bag of rock salt to one end of the driveway. Take care lifting it, even the smaller bags can weigh 25Kg so mind your back. Take a handful of rock salt at a time and spread it thinly over the driveway, try to avoid having piles of it dotted here and there because it just doesn’t work so well. Once the rock salt is down it will slowly dissolve, melting any ice that’s left on the surface and creating a thin film of salt that will melt any new snow too.

Now step back and admire your handiwork… you can feel a bit smug too because it’s claimed that snow shoveling can burn 10 calories per minute… Phew! I’d sit down and have a cup of tea if I were you…

Here’s some more stuff I looked up because I was wondering where does rock salt come from and why does salt cause ice to melt, check out the section in this article about Salinity & Freezing Point

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