The Evolution of a Maine Driveway in Winter

A lot of non-Mainers will ask me from time to time just what winter’s really like up here in Vacationland. The answer is probably what most people would expect: it’s cold (-10F on the way to work this morning), and it’s quite snowy. (I haven’t seen my yard since November. It’s got 1.5 feet of snow and ice in it, and I don’t expect it’ll surface until . . . May? Maybe April? You never know.)

For the most part, I really don’t mind the winter at all. I have a pellet stove, wood stove, and oil heat to keep warm, and I don’t do too many things that take me outside. The cold gets old now and then (especially when your pipes freeze, as mine did this morning), but you get over it.

However, my personal pet peeve in winter has to be the state of my driveway. I always start out with the best of intentions. If you can keep the driveway clear, life is good. Simple snow is easy enough, especially if it warms up right after. But in Maine, you rarely just get simple snow, and it often doesn’t warm up right after.

My driveway is about 100-150 feet long, I’d guess. I have a snowblower that churns through pretty much anything Mother Nature will throw down, but it leaves around a half inch to an inch of snow on the driveway after it passes by. And sometimes Mother Nature decides to send slush and rain, and then freeze solid right after. You can’t really shovel rain. The water goes where it wants to go, and then it freezes wherever it was.

This is just to say that inevitably, my driveway turns into an ice skating rink over the course of the winter. Very smooth, very slippery ice, often covered by a thin layer of snow. (Which then melts in the sun and freezes at night, keeping the Circle of Ice going.) The kids think it’s great fun to slide around on while they wait for the bus, but I dislike walking on it, and getting the mail is a chore to do.

However, when that’s my big complaint (“I have to walk carefully so I don’t slip while getting the mail”), then maybe it’s a sign I don’t have too much to complain about . . .


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