I've seen more than my fair share of snow living in upstate New York, and year after year, I use the same strategies to manage my property. These tried-and-true, time-tested methods have worked for me in the past — if you're expecting a blizzard, you should take notes. There's a lot to do after a storm passes through, and it's best to work smart, not hard, as they say.
While heavy lifting is inevitable, you can alleviate some of the burden if you plan ahead and stockpile the right supplies. With a little preparation, you don't have to spend half your day clearing your paths and driveway. No forecast will intimidate you, as long as you employ your leaf blower, cover your car with canvas and follow some of the other eight suggestions below.
1. Check Your Pantry for De-Icers
You don't need store-bought chemicals to melt ice on your car windshields. A lot of items you'll find around your homestead will work just as well, like table salt, pickle juice and vodka. If you fill a sock with table salt and rub it against your windows, you'll prevent frost from forming, and pickle juice and vodka work as a spray.
2. Shovel Decks With Caution
If your homestead has a deck, you'll likely want to shovel it of snow to avoid moisture from seeping into the boards. Without waterproofing, this is a possibility, but most modern builds account for winter weather. Regardless, as you're clearing a path, use a plastic shovel to remove snow without damaging your decking materials.
3. Shelter Your Plants
When temperatures drop and the weather takes a turn, you can preserve your plants with the proper precautions. Among other techniques for protecting your homestead, these are relatively simple, and you can handle the task in an hour. Just bring in container plants, add mulch and cover any saplings susceptible to fros
4. Cover Your Car With Canvas
There's a quick and easy way to deal with snow and ice on your car — don't let it pile up on your car in the first place. Drape a canvas drop cloth or plastic tarp across your vehicle overnight when you're expecting a storm to pass through. In the morning, pull it off and deposit the snow in your yard — simple as that.
5. Keep Roof Care in Mind
Protecting your roof is a top priority during the colder months, as snow accumulation can cause damage to your roofing materials and compromise the structural integrity of your homestead. My family has always used snow guards on our own property, which catch sheets of snow and ice when they slide down my roof.
6. Remove Weak Branches
You likely have no shortage of trees on the extensive acreage of your property, and maintaining their health is essential. A snowstorm could burden their branches with heavy snow and ice, and breakage has the potential to harm you if you're in the wrong spot at the wrong time. Always take care to remove weak limbs.
7. Employ Your Leaf Blower
Your leaf blower can double as a useful tool for removing light snow. While it isn't effective for clearing away wet, heavy accumulation, you'll find it's a quick way to manage your steps, walkways and cars after powdery precipitation. Other equipment you might own like a wet/dry vac will work for snow removal, as well.
8. Use Safe Shoveling Techniques
For some, shoveling your property might pose a risk to your health. I hear horror stories every winter about someone in my area hurting themselves when out shoveling, whether its a slipped disk or a different injury. Remember the following points before you begin your work:
- Warm up by stretching your lower back and hamstrings
- Bend with your hips and knees, not your lower back
- Never twist your back, but pivot your entire body instead
I can't stress these points enough. You should review other articles on the subject and make sure you're watching your motions while you're clearing your paths or driveway. While it's important to take care of your property, taking care of yourself should be your priority.
Start Preparing Today
When a blizzard is in the forecast, you can feel confident your property is safe from the dangers of snow and ice. As long as you take my advice and follow some of the suggestions above, you'll manage winter weather without trouble. Just remember a proactive approach is best, and gather supplies in advance of a storm.
While snow is often inevitable, you don't have to wait for it to harm your homestead. Start preparing today.