Friday, February 04, 2011

Gimme the snow any day.

During last year's great big snow event, which dumped 12.5" of fluffy white death on Roseholme Cottage, it took me about 45 minutes of sweating effort to shovel out the front walks, which left me with a warm glow of satisfaction.

Yesterday it took the same amount of time to use a square shovel to hack and pry two inches of solid ice off of a roughly 2'x3' oblong by the front steps, which left me with a knot on my head from where a fist-sized chunk of ice broke off under the leverage of the shovel with a ringing clang, came just short of attaining low-earth orbit, and landed on the back of my noggin.

Today will probably find me on my hands and knees with an Estwing attempting to break the ice up a little more thoroughly before I start levering and prying...

31 comments:

LC Scotty said...

Your flamethrower out of gas?

Tam said...

Life would be better with a flamethrower...

It'd melt ice pretty good, too.

Phssthpok said...

Use the right tool for the job:

http://www.coldsteel.com/warhammer.html

No bendingonve, and an angled pick onthe back side for levering up the stuborn pieces! >=)

John Peddie (Toronto) said...

Actually, a propane torch, like one a roomie might have for big soldering jobs, might prove useful...as do ladies' hair dryers (especially for frozen locks).

If you go the Estwing route, remember those handy shooting glasses in your range bag.

Blackwing1 said...

Howzabout a bucket full o' salt?

If the temperature gets up into double-digits, it'll start the melting of leeetle teeny holes, and pretty soon the ice is all rotten.

Downside is that it's hard on any plants near the walk, but it's better than a slip onto the tail-bone.

We're supposed to get into the low 30's in Minnesnowta this weekend, so that toasty-warm air will be hitting your area a day later. Hang in there...

Tam said...

"Howzabout a bucket full o' salt?"

There's already about a bucket's worth out there. The ice is just way too thick and dense without giving the salt a little help.

As an added bonus, we'll be lucky if we're above freezing for more than a few hours total in the next week...

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

There was an advantage to working at a brewery. Industrial pumps, 1.5" hoses, and the ability to boil thousands of gallons of water had its charms.

You'd be surprised how much hot water you need to get through all that ice.

Tango Juliet said...

I haven't been able to find the Youtube video. :(

:)

Anonymous said...

Might I suggest a ballpeen hammer?
Use the rounded end and a pair of shooting specs and beat the snot out of it.

If you pretend you're breaking kneecaps it's even more fun.

Mad Saint Jack said...

I like my war hammer but Cold Steels Spetznaz shovel would work better for hacking thru ice. (It's cheap on amazon.)

http://www.coldsteel.com/spshovel.html

Anonymous said...

Why bother, some sand , some salt, and patience until things warm up in a week.

Unless you like the exercise.

JHardin said...

Primacord?

aczarnowski said...

The other guy from MN seconds Blackwing's salt suggestion. There really isn't a lot that you can do with the glare ice freezing rain puts down. Killing yourself swinging a hammer and mini-cracking the sidewalk underneath isn't worth it.

Put the salt layer down first and cover with a layer of sand or kitty litter to keep people from suing. Apply time (harder than it appears).

This will get you by until the temps crest 15 F and the salt really gets going.

Joshkie said...

If you want get a presher bottle fill with windshield washer fluid spray liberally it will dissolve the ice like it wasn't there.
Most of the windshield and radiator fluids are nontoxic now days but make sure dont want to harm the pets.

Josh

Leaddog said...

Sand mixed with your favorite fertilizer, perferably one starting with 0. The middle number - phosphate is a salt, as is the last number potash. Both will lower the reezing point of the ice and will give you added fertility at the same time. The first number is nitrogen and should be kept as low as possible. So a little 0-46-0 or 0-0-60 will melt the ice and help the lawn or flowers too without giving them a Nitrogen OD when it warms up. Also the ash and clinker from your wood stove is great too. That is the raw material for pot ash.

wv: pubson - his old man owns the tavern

Anonymous said...

Five gallons of kerosene and a road flare.

Gerry

Standard Mischief said...

I took rock salt, chipped off from one of those water softer salt licks, and scattered that on the ice.

Round two was a hammer. This crushed the matchbox sized salt chip into the ice.

I let that sit for about twenty minutes, The salt melted through the ice and started working on the underside. I took a square-point shovel like you did and was able to get it between the ice and the driveway. I broke mine and my neighbors' driveway up in about a half hour.

Tam said...

The salt is not melting through the ice. We have a good solid 2+ inches of glaciation on the walks. Cars do not leave tire tracks on the street as they go by...

mopar said...

We got hit with the same thing here. 1-2 inches of ice coating everything. I'm responsible for keeping 1/4 mile of sidewalk safe, and like have 1 guy to help. Like the other northerners have said, lots of salt, sand, salt,time and salt (a little sun helps) is the only think that works. It was in the mid teens yesterday. Salted the crap out of everything at dawn. Did it again at 8am. Did it a 3rd time around 9:30 or so. By 11am 75% of it could be scraped up with square shovel or spade. Hit the rest with a 4th application of salt and took the rest up after lunch. Yea, it took 8hrs to do it, but there was less then 2hrs of labor. Yes, the salt damages the lawn and the sidewalk. Yes, that's acceptable instead of someone falling and knocking their noggin.

Brigid said...

I'm still not allowed to do anything strenuous. I'm thinking Driveway, C4, bucket.

Stretch said...

If you've any sunshine let mother nature work for you. Unroll dark lawn bags the length of your sidewalk and let the plastic absorb the sun's energy.
Last Feb. we had a 7+ foot pile of snow at the corner impeding vision. A neighbor draped a dark blue sail from his Hobie-cat over it at it was gone days sooner than other, smaller piles.

Standard Mischief said...

Tam,

We had only an one inch or so. The hammer was key to establishing a toehold. I actually used a sledge. I welded it butter-churn style on the scattered salt chips.

This broke up the chips and made a crack in the sheet of ice. Then the salty water wicked itself between the ice and the walkway. It worked incredibly well;. YMMV

Loki1776 said...

Ice Chopper

Every store in Indy is probably sold out. With the right type of ice and the proper technique they're surprisingly effective. It's still a lot of hard work.

Lergnom said...

I got one of these after a similar icemageddon.
-----------------------------

The MUTT(Multi-Use Tough Tool)
One of the most versatile tools available, the MUTT has a 4"-wide tempered steel blade with 54" kiln-dried ash handle for added durability. Use for cutting, chopping, scraping, digging, pruning, ice removal, sod cutting, shingle removal, tile removal, or trenching. Used by professionals, city, state and county agencies, contractors, farmers and gardeners, and anybody with a tough job to tackle.

perlhaqr said...

loki1776: And I thought the nylon (or whatever it is) handle on my axe was cold, when wielding it outside in the chill. I'm amused at the thought of putting a steel handle on something specifically designed to be used in freezing weather. :)

Loki1776 said...

I didn't notice the steel handle on that one. The ones I've seen locally (and the one in my garage) all have wooden handles. You're right, steel is the wrong material for this purpose. Actually, it's probably the wrong material for the handle of any long handled yard tool.

SYC said...

I like the black trash bag idea....might have to try that on my front porch....

For jobs like Tams....liberal aplication of ice melt and sand repeatedly (every couple hrs for a day) and then attacked with an ice chopper or appropriate shovel or hammer before the sun goes down. And possibly repeat for day 2. the only method I've found that works.

Loki1776 said...

I've had the best luck with cold, crisp, relatively thick ice. Give a sharp vertical blow with the ice chopper about 3 inches back from the cleared area. It will shatter straight down, and break a good sized piece loose. Sometimes it's necessary to turn the chopper almost horizontal at pavement level and give a jab to physically move it afterwards.

This method doesn't work well with spongy or soggy ice.

Kristopher said...

You need to have one of these stores local to you ... west coast thing.

They will ship, however.

Hat Trick said...

Get some of this

http://www.amazon.com/DRIVEWAY-HEAT-ICE-MELTER-9-5/dp/B001DKJWL4

You should be able to find it locally. My folks had a hard time selling it at their hardware store until Dad demonstrated it on some particularly tough ice. The pellets practically bore a hole down through the ice. A little bit goes a long way too.

TheSev said...

The key to salt is that it should be put down Before the ice comes.