Gentlemen, Start Your Engines

Posted: Monday, March 17, 2008 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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In the summertime most homeowners follow a strict code of conduct as to how early in the morning you are allowed to fire-up the lawn mower or any other noisy yard-care equipment so as not to disturb those who live around you.  After 9:00 a.m. is okay, any time before that is just being..well, unneighborly.
But during the winter…all bets are off.
The green flag is always waving for those of us lucky enough to own snowblowers.
In fact, long before sunrise right after..or even during, any snowfall, large or small, the neighborhood sounds like the start of the Indianapolis 500 as Briggs & Stratton and Tecumseh motors rev-up with a huge racket.Men (plus a few women) wearing their parkas and boots steer their hungry snow-eating machines toward the enemy in a race to be first to have their sidewalk and driveway clear of any and all snowy obstructions.
But it’s not only about speed. Style points are also awarded to those who have mastered the art of cranking  the snowthrower spout at just the right time and in just the right direction to send the snow so it lands in perfect white windrows.
Some can carve a path so neat it looks like the work of a master sculptor.
 Oh, I envy those guys.
My neighborhood just before the big race 
Linda and I live on a corner lot and for years never had to worry about shoveling because we had an enthusiastic snowblower owner right next door. He and his machine would be over in a flash and by the time I awoke, my walks and driveway were already clean as a whistle.
If he didn’t show up right away, I’d go out in the cold wearing only a light jacket with my little aluminum shovel and bang away at the snow making an intentionally feeble attempt to move it.Usually my neighbor would see or hear me..take pity and holler, “hang on Doug, I’ll be right over with the blower.”
Heh, heh, heh.
But then, my friendly but gullible neighbor just up and moved away taking his magnificent orange Ariens  with him.
There was no choice. I was not about to shovel snow by hand so I had to buy one for myself.
That was about six years ago and I now must admit that I kind of understand how my former neighbor felt.
I’m not sure if it’s God’s way of bringing out the Good Samaritan in us or if it’s the sense of power one gets when that engine fires up and the auger begins to churn away at the snow..but I rather enjoy the feeling and have been known to keep rolling along clearing other people’s sidewalks up and down the block.
Of course that ticks off as many as it makes happy because I’m encroaching on the territory of others with snowblowers… robbing them of their fun.
 Yours truly experiencing the joy of snowblowing
It wasn’t so much fun this morning, though. No sooner had I fueled ‘er up and started blowing, than I ran over last week’s Shoppers News lying buried in the snow.  That caused the sheer-pin on the auger to break and it took the better part of an hour to find and install a replacement pin.
Plus this snow was wet and heavy meaning there was no joy at seeing it fly 30 feet into the air.
Instead, as the engine groaned to find enough power, the snow sort of oozed out the spout like sludge from a sewer pipe.
That’s probably it for this year anyway. Spring is just around the cor……
Hey, it’s snowin’ again and the neighborhood is roaring back to life..gotta go. 

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