Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Pushing snow

We have a fairly long driveway. Three hundred metres or so, downhill and fairly straight from the highway, taking a little dip, then leveling out and diverging into a short lane heading for the carport and a turnaround circle. Since we don't have a 4WD family vehicle, we depend on conscientious snow removal -- otherwise we don't go anywhere (and despite our conscientiousness, that does happen once or twice a winter when weather conditions conspire against us -- and we just have to stay home).

In the past Chuck has done most of the snow removal. I tended to do it when he was too busy at the hospital, but he actually enjoys the solitude and physical nature of the job, so he did most of it even when he was on call. When I did the snow removal I usually had to leave the older kids looking after the youngest one and dash out to do it as quickly as I could. But this year, Fiona's old enough to come outside without being intimidated by the snow-clearing machines. We have a nice cat-traction 2-stage snowblower and a nifty Toro tractor with a plough blade. I've been doing more of the snow-clearing, especially when Chuck is on call.

Because Fiona can come out, the other kids no longer need to stay inside to look after her. So they come out too. And suddenly they're really interested in snow removal. I'm gradually getting them trained. All three are quite good with basic ploughing on the tractor. Erin's an ace backing it up and doing three-point turns. Noah loves the snowblower with all its levers and buttons. (Trust the boy of the family to quip "Oh, so I can aim it at people like a weapon?!!!") In the past few days they've eagerly taken over almost all the snow-clearing. They can talk chokes and shear bolts and throttles and chutes. They're thrilled with this new important role they can fulfill.

I think this is one of the big differences between my parenting style and Chuck's. It never occurred to him, in all those years of snow-pushing, to work to involve the kids in the job. Haha! Well, there will be no keeping them inside now. If he's out to plough, they'll be eagerly traipsing after him asking for a turn.

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