sn…OMG

Posted: 18 December 2009 in observations
Tags: ,

Apparently we’ll be heading into the snopocalypse this weekend in Virginia.  In fact, we’ve preemptively declared a State of Emergency around here.  Since I’ll be the shoveling one, I’m wondering what the etiquette is on shoveling as a homeowner.

As a renter, I waited blissfully for some guy wrapped head to toe in grey all-weather gear to drive his snowplow around, slamming into hidden speedbumps and creating an excellent sheet of snow to form into ice.  When he was done plowing, he heaved himself into some snowy bank, unearthed his blower or shovel and trudged through the neighborhood, salt minion trailing behind him.  At some point later, I find my own shovel and haphazardly clear out the car.  The most snow etiquette I’ve ever had to consider is whether or not to put my shoveled snow into the empty parking space next to me.

Now, I’ve got a house, driveway, sidewalk and neighborhood to think of.  Sure, at some point one hopes the city will drive up the giant hill plowing and salting.  So let’s not worry about that.  And, given our excess of cars, we’ve actually covered the driveway quite nicely.  No parking spots to shovel into.  The sidewalk though, that’s my problem – front and back stoops, steps, path to car, front walk.

At what point do I need to be out there, clearing the way for my neighbors to maneuver?  Can I dump the sidewalk snow into the street or does it have to be on the grass?  Is there a rule about salting?  If I use the non-dog friendly salt that is the only salt in this town, will they torch my yard?  Will my own dog die after perilously licking his toes?

The city says I have 12 hours from snow cessation to shovel.  But what is the neighbor ordinance?  You know, the Tsk Tsk Tsk ordinance?  I guess I’ll find out.

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Comments
  1. See, this is a benefit to living somewhere the snow avoids. I have never had to worry about city snow ordinances. Because if it snows here the city is too busy having panic attacks to worry about my sidewalk.

    Sorry I can’t be of help here! I hope your snow falls solely on the grassy areas so you don’t have to worry about it!

  2. linaria says:

    As someone raised and living where it snows often and heavy, I think I may be qualified to answer some of your questions here:

    Q: At what point do I need to be out there, clearing the way for my neighbors to maneuver?

    A: I’m of the “early and often” point of view. This is not out of etiquette, it is out of regard for your own health. The greater the quantity of snow, the heavier it is–remember it’s just very pretty ice. Shoveling 3 inches of new accumulation since the last time you did it is far better than doing a foot because you didn’t think it was worth going out earlier. If it’s going to snow for a day or so and it’s coming down fast, go out every three hours and save yourself some work the next day.

    Q: Can I dump the sidewalk snow into the street or does it have to be on the grass?
    A: Well…grass, technically. Street makes your local DPW hate you, and in some places they actually fine for that. But we do it all the time;)

    Q: Is there a rule about salting? If I use the non-dog friendly salt that is the only salt in this town, will they torch my yard? Will my own dog die after perilously licking his toes?

    A: Your dog will not die. But salt doesn’t melt anything under 20F, and lots of salt will make your grass and other types of green living things die (salting the fields much?), and is seriously wicked bad for drinking water. Around here you can tell which towns use salt because the grass doesn’t grow by the edge of the road…there are better alternatives. We use some stuff that’s made from molasses and smells like it and is four times as expensive as salt but at least I know I’m not helping to destroy biodiversity. Also, sand provides better traction for walking anyways.

    That’s my .02 anyways, hope you have an angled shovel. And may your power stay on and may you not have to drive anywheres:)

  3. BabyMamaToo says:

    I agree with the previous comment in regards to shoveling more often during the type of storm we saw this weekend. I would rather shovel the “lazy” way. That is to say, push it as far as you can to the edge of the drive way and then lift and toss. In deep snow this means you can only clear inches at a time, but it saves your back! Trust me, I shoveled a 250 ft long drive FOUR times in the last 48 hours! My arms are extremely sore, but my back is good to go!

    As for dumping snow in the road, hey what goes around comes around, they push it up in my driveway when they plow (I live in a court, the mounds of snow they managed to push in front of by clear driveway yesterday were astounding!), so why should I be worried if I get a few shovels full back in the road?

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