Push It Real Good
Snow removal was one of the top two reasons for getting Tom. Unfortunately, initial efforts at plowing the driveway with the front-end loader were problematic due to inexperienced new owner + front end loader x gravel driveway = lots of gouges.
Due to proximity of neighbours, a snow blower was out of the question. Research however pointed me toward the world of snow pushers. Think of a dozer blade with sides and a top (to help contain snow) and you have the idea. They also have side runners with an adjustable blade height which means you can have the whole thing ride ¾ of an inch above the gravel. Perfect for avoiding the strip mining that I had been doing with the front bucket.
Budgetarily though, the snow pushers were out of my price range, so I decided to fabricate a one myself. Normally this would involve some metalworking and welding but alas my background has been in carpentry. So, I decided to buck convention and make one out of wood.
Pressure treated lumber, hard rubber edging and John Deere yellow paint later, I had my Frankensteinian creation. I was able to attach it to the loader arms with Quick Attach Loader Plates sold by Artillian (www.artillian.com) so it had the same ease of install/removal as all my other front end attachments.
I used that homemade snow pusher for a couple of years. It actually didn’t do too bad for snow removal, but you quickly realized why tractors and their attachments are made out of metal. The wood started to wear down fairly quickly, and although there was a heavy rubber edging where it met the gravel, the screws holding it in place would occasionally pop out and get stuck in our tires.
Eventually I upgraded to a professionally made snow pusher from HLA Attachments (hlaattachments.com) here in Canada. It does a beautiful job at snow removal and I have even used it for other tasks such as levelling dirt and pushing leaves into piles. Its definitely a great addition to the “Swiss army knife”.
As for the old snow pusher I was able to reuse most of the bits for other projects. That’s the great thing about small farm life, you find yourself recycling as much as possible.