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Snow and snow and snow

I haven't really been outside since the last snow storm, which allegedly dropped just 4 inches.  This morning, I was woken up by my roommate who needed my help opening the gate because someone was here with a snow blower-equipped tractor.

I had no idea the snow drifts had gotten this bad.  The massive drift across the driveway has evolved into a glacier, about 4 feet deep at it's worst, extending completely across the driveway from the house to the barn, and from beyond the gate to the garage.  Fortunately the area around the gate was a mere 1-1/2 to 2 feet deep.

The gate was stuck closed tight as a drum, so I started digging out the side I could reach and digging out the path where the sliding gate slides.  The biggest problem is that the guide wheels were set at ground level; the holes underneath had become packed solid with ice.  Without the guide wheels turning, you have to shove the entire weight of the gate across the metal wheels.  We cleaned up under the wheels as best we could, then it took myself, my SO and our roommate all throwing our weight into the gate to get it open.

That was the first half of the gate, which is enough to get most cars or pickups through, but a big tractor like that needs both halves of the gate opened.  Because the ground slopes upwards on that side, the other half of the gate is a swinging gate.  That meant clearing everything in front of it.  The top foot or so was snow, easy enough to move, but underneath were thick layers of very hard ice which took a lot of work to break up.

Unfortunately, it took so long for us to get the gate open that the guy with the tractor left.  Hopefully he'll be back tomorrow.

The forecast last night called for temperatures as low as -23°F (-30.6°C), but it only got down to -5°F (-20.6°C).  Starting tomorrow the temperatures should return to a more normal winter level, with highs in the 20's instead of below zero.  There's a very slight chance of snow Monday morning, but it shouldn't amount to anything at all.  Hopefully this will be the last of the snow for the year.