Chopping Ice

Our winter has been quite septic this year, with far more ice accumulation than we have ever had before. There is a 4 inch thick layer of ice on our driveway, with lesser amounts on the front stoep and sidewalks.

Since Husband hurt his wrist we are very wary of walking on the ice, and for the first time we bought a container of Ice Melt to help with ice removal. The temperatures have been in the 30’s and 40’s, and that has led to a gradual melt with refreezing at night when the temperature drops. Although it works well, I hate to use the commercial Ice Melt too much since it is mostly salt and I don’t want the salty ice that I manage to remove with the ice removal blade to get into our garden beds. That means pushing the salty ice chunks to the end of the driveway. That is very tiring.

I am the primary ice remover in the family right now, and I am really stiff and sore from the ice removal process. I think of creative and probably illegal or impractical ways of quickly getting rid of the ice when I am out there in the driveway, but I am afraid we are stuck another month of this nonsense. Bring on the Ibuprofen!

What are some creative ways you would get rid of ice, legal or otherwise? How do you manage sore muscles? What are your remedies for cabin fever?

35 thoughts on “Chopping Ice”

  1. The obvious way to get rid of ice is not to let it accumulate when it is still snow. I am scrupulous about removing the snow from our walks and driveway, even when it’s only an inch or so, before it can get trampled or compressed by car tires and build up. Then, if we get a freezing rain, I use a deicer product, a salt mixture, and follow it up by scraping away the deteriorated ice.
    I also keep a bucket of crushed granite—traction grit—to use while the ice is being compromised.

    I don’t get muscle aches, I guess. I can’t remember them ever being a problem.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We have had so much snow this winter that it was impossible to keep up with shoveling. Now that we have a snow blower it will be easier to clear the snow.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Like Bill (though not as scrupulous), we’ll go ahead and shovel midway between snowstorms, at least the main paths. And I’ve mentioned the help from kind neighbors.

    I’d like to hear about the illegal ways…

    Cabin fever – go to a thrift shop just to browse and see some different stuff. Or we’ll go the library to read for a while, or the other library (WSU). I would go to a coffee shop with a book, though Husband wouldn’t… anything just to get out of the house.

    Liked by 2 people

        1. Maybe, as an experiment, you could try laying a piece of black plastic or some other dark material on your driveway on a sunny day. Despite the cold, the sun is getting fairly strong.

          Liked by 5 people

  3. Rise and Chop the Ice, Baboons,

    Bill nailed the “keeping ahead of the ice” part of this discussion. I will address the sore muscles part of it. I have had a lifetime of sore muscles, from having frequent stiff neck as a child to needing to exercise daily as an adult to keep myself in a movable condition. I probably have fibromyalgia. I have known that for a very long time, but I don’t want to subject my already battered body to the steroidal treatments recommended. So I do Epsom salts (already advised), daily exercise and walking, massage, and ibuprofen. Heat packs also help.

    Cabin Fever–conservatories and trips south help with that.

    Good Luck Renee. Spring will come.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. I had access to a flooring removal machine for no cost. Most tool rental shops have them. You stand upright behind it and push just a little. The head oscillator has weight at the top. Use the 8 inch wide blade not the 18 inch. Use ear plugs.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. My building has 4 attached single garages and a large asphalt parking area. The Association is pretty good about plowing but they never plow down to the asphalt. The roof configuration leads to an ice dam above my garage every **** winter. I don’t want meltwater from the ice dam to back up into my garage so I chop ice darn near every winter. This year I came home from the Antarctic to a huge mess – while I was gone there were two big snowstorms followed by rain. Ice was a good 3 inches thick over much of the parking area. Since coming home on 1/10, I have chopped and shoveled ice 6 times. UGH! I wish we had a heated parking area (wires embedded in the asphalt) to keep ice from forming in the first place.

    For muscle aches – heat, Ibuprofen, Tiger Balm, Biofreeze, massage. Chopping ice wreaks havoc on my left shoulder – acupuncture helps that a lot.

    Liked by 5 people

  6. I’m fortunate to have a south-facing driveway and deck. I do keep up on it but it’s been really hard this winter. Our association starts plowing all the association-owned lanes first, then they do the driveways. Sometimes they start at 3AM. They use one of those skidder things. They might be a Bobcat but I’m not sure. It’s really noisy. They can’t blow snow here due to the small area so they plow. They use a bucket or plow on all the driveways, stopping short of the garage door. It packs the snow down and if I don’t get that off right away, it will quickly become ice. It doesn’t clear the driveway edge to edge either, and it leaves a rough surface. I am OCD enough that I can’t stand it. I generally get out there as soon as I can and shovel it before driving on it. I will also shovel the concrete steps leading to the front door because sometimes it takes them a day or two to come back and do them. I don’t want to fall late at night taking Pippin out so I clear them. I use the crushed stone (Cherrystone) on anything that will be icy. I used almost a whole 50-pound bag this winter. I’m also OCD about snow and ice on my deck.

    Nobody here shovels their decks off but me. I do that as it is still coming down and I just keep up on it. I don’t want it to build up out there. It all gets shoveled down onto the driveway. I try to do this before the plow comes so that I don’t have to shovel it off after they are done.

    I bought an ice chipper this year. The ice was built up to four inches on my driveway after the 15” ice and snow storm in January. I couldn’t get it right away so I was stuck with that ice for weeks. It is really a bad year for ice. I’ve never had to use cleats all winter before.

    Warm tub soaks with Epsom salts certainly do help. I have used Tiger Balm too and I like that much better than IcyHot. I also have two heating pads. One is a large, soft one that I just bought this year. The other is smaller and I use it on my poor arthritic, crooked lumbar spine. I’ve always had back pain, even when I was quite young. I have scoliosis and now it’s complicated with arthritis and bone spurs. Heat feels so wonderful on it. The other thing I do now is use the hot tub at FiftyNorth. It’s large, chlorine treated (which is a good and a bad thing), and the jets are really powerful. I stay in for 10-15 minutes and it always helps my back. I had a massage once and the masseuse was so strong and powerful that it hurt. I’m a little nervous about that.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m sure you know, Krista, that there are many different kinds of massages. Deep tissue massage can be painful, or at least uncomfortable. It’s up to you to let the therapist know if they’re hurting you. I have tried many different kinds for various problems, and found myofascial, shiatsu and cranial sacral especially effective in relieving pain. These massages are all so gentle that I wondered while I was on the massage table whether or not they were doing an good. Ask people in your community for recommendations, and do your own research. A good massage therapist can give you a new lease on life. Good luck, I’m confident there are several good ones in Northfield.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Right about the different massages PJ. I just came home from one this morning. You may have to try a couple people, and be clear you’re not looking for ‘deep tissue’ (unless that’s what’s needed), and tell them if they’re pressing too hard. Good ones will ask often if the pressure is OK. I highly recommend!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I shovel my deck at least twice during the winter. When it is over 2 feet deep, I am afraid the deck will collapse onto the downstairs neighbor’s patio. My gets shoveled onto the back yard.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I used to use lime for traction. Bags of barn lime fromFleet Farm. Get the dusty brown bag stuff, not the white bagged clean stuff. Mind you, I said it’s dusty. It’s not as aggressive as salt / sand mixtures, but it does help.

    Sunshine, warm weather, and chopping is about all you can do.

    We (I) use Absorbine Jr. for muscles. It’s hard to find and it does have an aroma to it. I like it, but I grew up with it. Dad said it was a cure all.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Fellow residents in the apartment building where I live describe sadness at selling their homes and moving to an apartment. I can understand the effect of memories but as I drove back from an errand, passing my old house, I realized I don’t miss chopping ice, worrying about ice dams and shoveling (necessary even when you had snow plowing arranged). I can relate to those sore shoulders from chopping ice.

    I helped our neighbor with his bird feeder and birdbath heater–once walking on the icy path in the backyard to check that area I noticed unusual tracks, saw the birdbath knocked over and heard gobbles from a nearby band of wild turkeys. I realized what I saw was the marks of sliding on the icy path by the wild turkeys as they then careened into the birdbath. That was a warning to me so I walked in the thigh high snow next to the path instead. Now I walk for exercise in the halls of the apartment building on those icy days-perfect temp and no ice or rough spots!

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Sorry you’re having trouble with WP at the moment. I have had to sign in for every comment I make, and I haven’t been able to “like” anything for months, so I know how frustrating it is. Unfortunately, I have no idea what to do to fix it, and apparently, neither does WP or anyone else.


    1. Just one additional observation. Yesterday when your comment appeared as Anonymous, I was able to hover over the Gravatar and it showed that jennywren was the author. Today, when I hover over the Gravatar, it shows nothing.

      Liked by 1 person

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