Or why snowstorms in New England can be a challenge.

Also known as where do you put the snow?

For a variety of reasons this year, we have been clearing our driveway with a snowplow and front-end loader, rather than a snow-blower. This works quite well actually. However, I am also rather glad that we haven’t planted anything of the shrub variety too close to the drive.* The problem with plowing snow is that you have to put it somewhere. You need at least a few feet on either side of a driveway. You need quite a bit more around a parking lot. This is simple math. Our barnyard has six foot high ramparts of snow right now.

A ten foot wide, 100 foot long driveway filled with snow a foot deep is 1,000 cubic feet of snow that you have to put somewhere! Older bits of New England tend towards narrow roads lined with trees or walls or houses, roads that are only a nominal twenty feet wide are common. Until nearly World War II, snow removal didn’t happen in many small towns.* Instead the snow was simply packed down by rollers. Consequently, narrow streets weren’t too much of a problem. I have a friend whose road, every winter, goes from a two lane road to a narrow one lane road. Good thing it is a short street. Now consider an entire city, as it might be Boston or Manhattan trying to remove all that snow. In Montreal, where large snow storms are a regular and almost weekly occurrence, a whole fleet of specially adapted trucks with mega snow blowers exist (and a whole culture of parking bans). The snow is loaded into trucks and dumped. But where does one dump it? Parking lots, convenient rivers (not terribly good for the environment), playing fields, hither and yon.

Or, you simply get smaller and smaller parking lots with more and more people hunting that elusive parking spot. This would the routine at my workplace, where they are not actually removing the snow. And yes, the employee parking spots have been filled first!

But, does one landscape for a storm that only occurs once every few years? Probably not. I would say that in this area, landscaping for three back to back storms of a foot each is probably adequate, just. So we still have another foot plus to spare…maybe?

*There are several that are too close if our very helpful neighbour with his very large backhoe was doing the clearing. A compact tractor however is small enough so that it works.

*The debate over whether a town ought to be responsible for road clearing or whether it was the landowner’s responsibility raged in some towns well into the 1930’s. There was also a sizable segment that felt that if you were sufficiently idiotic that you had to go out in the snow, it was your problem not the town’s.