When I was a little girl up in northwest Wisconsin, we had a lot of Big Snow winters. The snow started early and lasted all winter long. (Sound familiar?) The country roads cut through massive snow banks that my friends and I would build tunnels through. (We always used the buddy system so someone was on the outside to watch for the plow or dig you out if needed.) One year I made several snow carvings of different animals, each about 5 feet tall – a duck, a horse, a swan – it seems there were others, but I can’t remember now. Cars would slow down as they passed mom’s place, trying to figure out what those odd shapes were back off the road.
One of the other fixtures I remember from years ago was grandma’s snow fence. Grandma had a fairly long, thin driveway, and without the snow fence, I’m sure it would have been blown shut more often than not. When my brother bought grandma’s place, he planted a treeline where the snowfence had been, which now protects the driveway like the fence protected it for grandma – probably even better.
One of the first things we did when we moved here was to plant windbreak trees, but they’ll take a while to grow. Like grandma, we have a long, narrow driveway – except it’s even longer than grandma’s was. Unlike my brother, Rich, we can’t plant trees parallel to it along the whole length, because part of the land upwind from it belongs to our neighbor.
After spending many days last winter literally stuck at home because the driveway drifted shut almost as soon as it was plowed (see the driveway in the post, ‘The Long Winter“), we decided that this year we were going to put up a snow fence in an attempt to keep the driveway passable. Since my husband will be home again this winter instead of working out of town (yeah!), he needs to be able to get out reliably to get to work. Our neighbor used a short section of snow fence for one of his worst drifting spots last winter and it worked well, so he was cool with us running fencing through his field just for the winter. (He does our plowing, too, so I know he’d appreciate it if the driveway stayed plowed for a while.) In this post I’ll discuss why and how snow fence is used, so you can decide if you’d like to use it for your home. [Read more…]