When I first moved to Middleton, a friend told me that the best way to handle a Wisconsin winter is to embrace it. Not to stay cooped up inside but to find an outdoor activity. Looking back, I remember epic snowball battles with my family in Big Bear and Pine Mountain when I was a child. I can also recall zooming down snow-covered hills on my saucer. As an adult I snowboarded only a few times.

My first Wisconsin snow was on December 25, 2004. It was like the sky opened up, and white snowflakes quickly blanketed the ground. I had “inherited” a snowthrower from our home’s previous owner, and it came in handy to clear our 3700 sq ft. driveway. It seemed convenient at first, but every year the machine required major maintenance as mice successfully built nests inside the engine or chewed through fuel lines. Eventually, we gave up and decided to invest in shovels and a snow scoop. Of course, a snow scoop is manually operated and depending on the amount and type of snowfall, it requires patience, strength and endurance. The best thing is that it’s easy on my back. The snowthrower, on the other hand, had a “herky-jerky” feel and would pull me around even at slow speeds. Also Heather never felt comfortable with it and couldn’t stand the gas smell.

Hope this doesn’t sound crazy, but I’ve come to enjoy clearing the driveway of snow. . . as long as it’s not at 5:00am. Ugh! It gets me outdoors and it’s a great workout. Trust me, using the snow scoop is like doing a thousand pushups and lunges. Also after almost thirty years of lifting weights, it’s a nice change of pace. Eric, why not just hire a snow removal service? Since my fitness studio is located in my home I have to make sure my driveway and front walk is clear at all hours of the day. And with appointments from 6:00am to 9:00pm it’s unlikely a snowplower could accommodate my schedule.

The boys (Kyle and Bruce) help shovel/scoop the driveway too. Roy is a little young (10 months old), but he’ll be helping soon enough. I believe it’s important that they contribute, see what it’s like and exercise too. Also they know that if they help me clear the driveway faster, that means we can get to building a snow fort or sledding down our hill that much sooner.

Heather uses a snow scoop
Heather demonstrates her snow scooping technique.

Heather uses a snow scoop 2
Phew. Half of the driveway is done.