This blog is meant to be a chronicle of the (mis-) adventures of my family and I as we adjust to country life. I'm a hands-on kinda guy, so many of the posts will take the form of illustrated How-Tos.


Clearing Snow with a Front-End Loader

February 27th, 2010 by Blogging Farmer

This is How Real Men (and Women) Do It!A.k.a How Real Men (and Women) Move Snow

Clearing the driveway next morning is my least favorite part of any snowstorm. On the farm, we have a very convenient driveway that loops all the way around the house, making it really easy for multiple cars to get in and out. Easy, that is, unless it’s packed with about 20 tons of sticky, wet snow. This was the situation we awoke with this morning.

In the past, we’d moved snow the hard way with either a good old-fashioned shovel or a cheap, bad snow-blower (which actually saved no time or effort, as the thing is underpowered and clogs ALL THE TIME). Inspired by something I’d read on the TractorByNet forums, I decided to put our Kubota L4630 to good use.

In the morning, we found ourselves snowed in. In this photo you can see a part of our driveway that we actually cleaned out the previous afternoon. Compare the amount of snow you can see on the truck in this picture with one from yesterday. Tuna the Bull Terrier does not appreciate it.
Snowed In

I rev up the Kubota. That rear wheel? It’s at least 3 ft in diameter, so there’s probably 18-20″ of snow on the ground.
Revving Up the Kubota
The problem with using a front-end loader rather than an actual snow blade is that you can’t just plow straight through. Occasionally, especially in wet snow, you have to back up and dump some to the side.

Snow Digging Action Sequence
Since our driveway curves around the house, for plowing purposes, I divided it into 4 roughly equal segments which I cleared one at a time. The reason for this is the above-mentioned: snow accumulates in front of the tractor, and you want to push it off to the side of the driveway before the tractor gets stuck. In this photo I’m plowing around the cars.

Beginning to Plow Around the Cars

The finer work does have to be done by hand with a shovel. A tractor is not a precision instrument! Though as this next photo shows, you can get in pretty close.
Plowing Around the Cars

A little trick maneuvering is involved when you get to the end of the driveway. Passing motorists do not appreciate when a huge mountain of snow is pushed into the road in front of them. Instead, I drove out around the snowpile and pushed it off to the side.

Clearing the Roadway

This is what the driveway looks like after plowing (we moved the cars to get to all of the snow). So much better!

The Plowed Driveway

Special thanks goes to my brother, Serge, for taking these photos. He seems to have a great knack for catching the dramatic action shots…

Kubota Tractor Dumping That Snow

… and the inspiring stills…

Ah, the colors!

… and neat sequences.

Snow Digging Action Sequence

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