Living in the greater Chicagoland area, we were hit by Snowpocalypse 2011 on Tuesday night/Wednesday. The official total for O'Hare airport, which is only a few miles away, was 20.2 inches. Due to all of the strong winds, accumulation on our driveway alone ranged from a couple inches to about chest high.
That's my car there, the drift next to it completely covered our garbage cans. The shallowest snow bank was directly in front of the car. The tallest was just past that. Between the garage in the far back and the tall drift in front of the car everything was 2-3 feet deep. All the stuff the plows pushed up on our driveway made the snow about 2.5-3 feet deep at the end of the driveway.
I managed to cut a single path from the garage to the street, clear a single path on the sidewalks, and start to clean out behind my car when the snowblower broke. From that point, it was shovel or be stranded. It took about 3 hours after the snowblower broke for us to clear just enough room to get the cars out onto the street.
While I was throwing shovelful after shovelful of snow over increasingly large piles, I had some thoughts about other methods of snow removal. Let me share them with you.
1. Pour out the rest of the gas for the broken snowblower, light a match and walk away. Possibly effective in the short term, but it wouldn't cover much area.
2. Take my father-in-laws space heater out of his room, plug it in, and set it on one of the drifts. His space heater isn't one of the ones that rattles and blows hot air and will cause a fire if you look at it wrong. His is one that's more like a radiator and creates ambient heat. While this might be somewhat effective, I didn't want to short out the heater, and wouldn't have had enough time for it to melt all the snow.
3. Dig out our little fire pit thingie, start a fire next to a snow drift, and move it around as the drift melted. The two big problems with this right off the bat would be digging out the fire pit and then digging out dry wood (if we have any at this point).
4. Body heat. When I got tired, I just sat down in the snow. While this was kind of comfortable, I was too bundled up for my heat to get through, and I was just compacting the snow instead of melting it.
Anybody have any good, or even not so good, ideas for snow removal?