Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Digging out during a Minnesota blizzard December 11, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 9:11 PM
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“IT DOESN’T EVEN look like I blew the snow,” he assesses.

And it doesn’t. After a full day of falling snow and wind-whipped snow, our driveway appears untouched by a snowblower. But my husband was out once already, around mid-morning, clearing ours and the neighbor’s driveways.

Now he’s struggling to even get out the back door. Snow has drifted into the backyard and onto the back stoop and blocked the door. He leans against the storm door and pushes his way outside, into a world of swirling flakes and strong, bitter wind.

Minutes later Randy returns to the house asking for the hair dryer. Ice has formed in the recoil mechanism of the snowblower, he says, and he needs to melt the ice.

I follow him into the garage with my camera, realizing that this use of a blow dryer might appear rather amusing to someone who doesn’t live in Minnesota. I’ll note here that a hair dryer also comes in handy for thawing frozen car doors.

I snap a few pictures until my husband tells me he needs to start the snowblower before the recoil mechanism freezes again. I get the hint.

Randy uses a hair dryer to thaw the frozen recoil mechanism on the snowblower. Melted snow from earlier today dripped into the mechanism causing the problem.

A close-up of Randy thawing the recoil mechanism with a hair dryer.

I step back into the house, grab a yard stick and measure the snow depth off the back stoop. It measures 16 inches.

So far this is turning out to be one heckuva blizzard.

Snow drifts piled around our van as snow piled onto our driveway.

Randy makes his first pass, for the second time today, down the driveway around 7 p.m.

Randy begins his second pass down the driveway. He blew snow for an hour and then stopped because he's running low on gas. He needs enough gas to blow out the driveway in the morning so he can buy more gas to blow more snow and more snow and more snow.

© Copyright 2010 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


4 Responses to “Digging out during a Minnesota blizzard”

  1. virgil Says:

    Your snow piled up a lot more than ours did. With the wind howling across the lake 2/3 of my driveway was snow free and what I did attack blew across the road. We have some beautiful snow sculptured drifts. We still cannot get out because the road in front has 3’+ drifts in at least 10 places that I checked out. I heard our township snowplow was stuck over on Independence Ave.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Thanks for that report from Cedar Lake west of Faribault, Virgil. We are still trying to dig out here in town. Or maybe I should say once we get the snowblower running we’ll be digging out. I’ll get some images posted shortly.

  2. Donna Lyon Says:

    That’s what I really miss about Minnesota! That cold snow blows and whirls around to make big snowdrifts. Our snow in Washington state comes down in wet clumps, and continues in clumps until it warms up enough to rain, then rain some more.
    All in all, our rain is probably easier to deal with than all that snow. I can drive in the rain…and it doesn’t have to be shoveled.
    I’ll continue to watch in amazement as your snow keeps falling, for sure you’ll have a white Christmas. Merry Christmas to all!

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