January 9th began as any other winter January day in western
Maine. We had a snow storm that morning
dropping about four inches of snow. I
went out about noon to clear the driveway with my 19-year-old Craftsman snow
kicked up again in the afternoon and the forecast was for a mixture of rain and
snow overnight, so just before nightfall I went out again and removed another
three inches of snow from the drive and cleared the roof over the front door
where snow tends to build up.
after dark we lost power. This is not a
big thing for us as we have a wood stove for heat and gas lamps for lighting – our cabin was originally built as a camp and
so is self-sufficient. Since we are
on a well we also lose water when the power is out, but we keep a number of
gallon jugs stored to allow us to flush the toilet in such an outage.
The main inconvenience
is that I have to get up a number of times during the night and feed the
all night: a worst-case scenario with temperatures at 33 degrees and a six-inch
heavy wet snow that clung to trees and power lines, and is difficult to move
with the snow blower.
Wednesday morning I drank a glass of Ovaltine and headed out to move snow. It took me well over an hour, slow going, and
just as I was about to finish it began raining. One last pass with the snow blower and when
I hit the berm at the mouth of the drive the snow blower began shaking and
banging. The right auger blade had snapped
into at the shaft.
The power is
still off at in the house, our road hasn’t been plowed, the snow blower is
broken with another snow forecast for next week and I’m soaking wet.
I take a few
deep breaths and focus: Shit Happens.
can do until the light’s come back on; which happened about 3:30 that
I called Sears
to see about a replacement for the right-hand auger for the snow blower and their price was $200
plus shipping, “I don’t want a gold one: it is just a piece of spiral steel.”
I bring up
U-tube (now my go to for any maintenance) to see how to replace an auger in my
The man on U-tube
had great difficulty just dismantling the machine. It seems like a bearing on that holds the
differential for the auger drive was damaged and had worn the differential
shaft, so the whole unit would need replacement; he ended his video with some expletive
without finishing the repair.
machine is 19 years old it is likely I will find the same problem: differential is $550 dollars, bearing and
washer $125, two auger blades $450 – it seems that a seven hundred dollar snow blower
is made up of five thousand dollars’ worth of individual parts: Thanks for the
it! Home Depot has a Troy Bilt snow
blower for $600 with $50 dollars off if you take out a Home Depot credit card,
so Monday I will have a new snowblower:
BRING IT ON
NORTH-EASTERS I’LL BE READY FOR YOU!