Dateline: 6 February 2015
Central New York state is known for getting quite a bit of snow, and this winter is shaping up to be a particularly snowy one. When I was growing up, my parents never had a snowblower or plow to clear snow out of the driveway, and they never had the money to hire someone to plow their driveway, and I was the only boy in the family, so I got plenty of experience at shoveling snow by hand. It was good work.
My three sons grew up with the same shoveling experience because I didn’t have a snowblower or plow, or an excess of money to hire someone else to do the work. Besides that, I felt that it was good for boys to be outdoors, shoveling snow by hand, just like I did when I was their age.
But three years ago, after hearing from so many of my co-workers who had snowblowers, and after coming to the realization that my body is not the physical specimen it once was (and with my boys not living here any more), I spent the money for a good-quality snowblower.
Since I don’t have a garage or barn, I keep my snowblower on the back patio, covered with a tarp (weighted down around the edges with blocks of firewood). I have a power cord there for the electric starter, which works like a dream.
I’ve discovered that my snowblower is a simple, efficient, and economical machine to use. And, with the perspective of hand-shoveling snow for so many years, snow-blowing is a real joy.
A snowblower is a great example of how incredibly efficient an internal combustion engine is at getting work done. Or, more specifically, how efficient fossil fuels (i.e., gasoline) are at getting work done.
I did some searching on the internet and found that one gallon of gasoline has an energy potential equivalent to 300 man-hours of work (another source said 500 hours). That sounds kind of high to me when I consider my snowblower.
I think I get around six “shoveled” driveways out of a gallon of non-ethanol gasoline. Six into 300 man-hours per gallon of fuel would be 50 man-hours of work. It certainly wouldn’t take me 50 hours to hand-shovel the driveway.
Nevertheless, small engines are capable of doing a lot of work, and I’m thankful for my snowblower.
|Yours truly, February 2015|