Around 4-ish I decided that I really wanted to have beef stroganoff again, so I dug around in the freezer and found the chunks of beef I'd found the last time I dug around in the freezer. I'm not sure how much there was, but about 2/3 of it was freezer burned, so I decided I'd use it up. WTF, you cook the meat in onion soup mix; that should deal with the flavor issue.
It turned out that about 3/4 pound of the large chunk (vintage September) was still in good shape; I saved that for stir-fry later in the week and used all the rest of it. Looks like there's more meat in the crock pot for this batch than the last, which suits me fine. And I added a can of mushrooms before plugging the thing in; and I saw that I switched the crock pot on at 4 PM, which means dinner will be after 7. No problem.
Then I went outside and ran the snowblower again, blowing about 5" of snow off the driveway where I'd run it before, and then widening the slot in the plow drift so I'd have better access to the road.
The drift in the front yard didn't make it to the 1979 height, but it's waist high on me. High enough, damn it.
Then I moved the Jeep--which, I discovered, I left in 4WD yesterday after arriving home, which I usually do not. Well, it doesn't really matter, because--I needed 4WD to move the thing out of its cocoon. I didn't bother scraping the windows; I just cleaned it off, opened the hood to make sure snow wasn't packed into the engine compartment (it wasn't) then started 'er up. I opened the door to see where I was going and watched my wheels dig at the snow for a bit before she rolled out onto the cleared portion of the driveway.
Grabbed the snowblower and cleared out the parking area for the Jeep. It didn't take very long, but--again--I was trying to clear a drift that was taller than the snowblower; it was about 2" taller than the discharge chute.
I'm nominating my snowblower for a freakin' medal. It's a 3 horsepower single-stage machine, yet it dealt with deep snow rather handily. I had to work at it, and I couldn't just go along like I do when we get more reasonable snowfall--and I had to cut swaths that were 1/2 or 1/3 as wide as the augur on the thing--but it did it. The only time it quit was when it ran out of gas, and after I gassed her back up, VROOM off we went.
I moved a couple literal tons of snow with the thing today, saving me back pain and heart attacks and God knows what else.
Not frostbite. I remember when I used to get cold when I went outside to play in the snow, as a kid. Was I not wearing enough clothes, or was it just because I was skinny and lacked all the insulation of a middle-aged man? And it's not like I wasn't moving around! I was sledding and building snowmen and doing all the things kids do in the snow.
That's the most convincing argument for global warming I've seen yet, by the way: Damn, winters sure don't seem cold any more. I'm always sweating my ass off....
Getting back to the snowblower, though, I think I want to get a replacement belt for it pretty soon. I should have replaced it in September, but one doesn't think about snow when it's still routinely hitting 80° in the daytime. (Okay, October, or even November. *sigh*) I half-fried the belt in 2007, when we got about 8" of snow that blew around a bit, because I didn't know what the hell I was doing. Also, the clutch was set up wrong, so the belt would naturally slip a bit; that didn't help matters any.
I was thinking about all this earlier, when I was out there this morning; things like "Why didn't I buy a more powerful snow blower?" Well, the obvious answer to that--which came to me before I'd finished asking myself the question--is that YOU DON'T NORMALLY NEED IT AROUND HERE!
Since buying the thing in 2007, I've used it two or three times per year. In the past 24 hours I've used it more than the entire previous winter. (Quite possibly the entire previous two winters.) And this is the first time I've needed something that was more powerful than what I've got...and I was able to make do with what I have.
And it's a damn sight easier than shoveling all that shit.
A more powerful snow blower would easily have cost me twice what that one did; and it would be too much snowblower for the typical conditions around here. Why spend two (or even three) times the money for capacity you will use once in a decade?
...one week later, as he watched "Snowpocalypse 2011, Part II" coming down, Ed thought, "Fuck this. I'm moving to Thailand."
(It is, technically, an option....)