Off the Grid  Retirement at our remote log cabin in Colorado

Monday, November 21, 2016

Snow Management 101

Posted by: Rick

As Lynne mentioned in her previous post, we need to learn "snow management" for the winter. While we've been up here many times in the winter, it was either snowed in or blown dry. We have not had the opportunity to experience the full life-cycle of a snow storm. So, we were not sure where the snow would melt, would drift, would turn to ice, etc. After this last storm with about 5" of snow, and the fact we did nothing to manage it, we now have a better idea. 

One snow management task is to brush the snow off the solar panels. One set is on the ground and easy to reach. The other set is on the roof and requires a ladder. In both cases a 15' extension broom is essential. Lynne is not happy about the idea of leaving the ladder set up all winter, but I don't necessarilly want to be putting it up and down for every storm.

I was once counseled by a wise man who had lived up here many years. His counsel was to "leave the snow alone until you absolutely have to move it". He had the same philosophy on dead trees. That is what I decided to do this time. That might have worked for him in his location where he got lots of sun and wind. But, our driveway is sheltered from wind and sun by trees. So, I am probably not going to follow that advice next time.

Instead, I think we will have a list of snow chores to do at the end of each storm:

  • Verify generator airflow is not blocked
  • Verify propane system vent is not covered at the regulator
  • Clear off decks
  • Clear off solar panels
  • Run snow blower on driveway
  • Use snowshoes to pack down trail for dog duties
  • Take a drive in the Ranger

It is supposed to snow again today and tomorrow, and again several times over the coming weeks. We'll see how that goes.

Of course, this is only snow management at the cabin site. We'll also need to learn to manage getting in and out of Sand Creek Park, which will mean managing the snow on the roads. Chains, jacks, tow ropes, shovels...can't wait.

Comments:

Really enjoy your continuing saga.  Regarding the ladder, it looks like you can get to your PV panels from the top of it with your long broom.  Can you fix it in place with bolts, brackets, etc. for the winter, and buy a second ladder to have around for ad hoc use? If it’s snowing, blowing, drifting, and/or freakin’ cold, not having to set up the ladder to clear the panels would seem to be a feature.

Just an observation,

Cheers & stay warm!
Glen

Glen, I think I’ll build a ladder that I can securely mount to the cabin for winter—removing it in the summer. I’ve got some 2x4s around here somewhere wink

Add “Brush snow off vehicles” to the list.

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