Walking Gardens, Blowing Snow, and Winter Paths

If I had closer neighbors, I am pretty sure they’d be looking out their bedroom windows into my garden and thinking I’d lost my mind.

I’ve been using my snow blower to make winter paths in the grass.  Is that weird?

It is just that if I make a path, I am more likely to walk out in the garden on these cold winter days.

Because, as much as my head and my heart know that getting steps is good for me, my feet really don’t like to trudge.  My calves don’t like the snow that comes over my boots and jams itself up against the back of my legs. My lower back really doesn’t like the nagging threat that I might slip and fall.

The paths help. They draw me out.

I had a Garden Design Boot Camp student last fall who loves to walk and she has a really really long driveway and a huge piece of land.  Her whole design project focussed on the idea of creating the longest possible garden path (with interesting things along the way) for her to traverse. She needs her steps and she is creating a place to do it.

I think she is a genius. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made an excuse to not go for a walk because I don’t want to be on the edge of the road. (We don’t have sidewalks where I live).  Or I don’t feel like getting in the car to drive to a trail. 

If the path of least resistance is what it takes to motivate, I know the garden path is it.

Snow blowing garden paths by rochelle greayer at pithandvigor

Before I got a snow blower, I was a little afraid of them. The swirling blades in the front seemed kind of intimidating. But what I didn’t realize is that they don’t actually touch the ground. The whole front end slides along like a sled, just a little above the ground and propelled by the tires.  And you can actually adjust the height (like a lawn mower). So you can skim the driveway really close, or if you are going over something a little more uneven (like the garden path)- you can raise it up a bit.

The surface underneath doesn’t get damaged.  I mean, of course this is the way it works (duh). Otherwise, no one would use a snow blower. But I still find it surprising and kind of awesome that I can blow snow off my asphalt driveway, over my cobblestone paths and even over the lawn to make my midwinter trails. (And no plants or animals are hurt in the process).  Those big swirling blades don’t hurt anything.

winter Snow blowing and garden paths by rochelle greayer at pithandvigor

On a different note, I spent last weekend in Seattle – which is one my most favorite cities.  It’s the mountains, the water, and the million shades of green that just work for me.

While I was away, it snowed here in Boston. I dreaded the homecoming where the taxi driver can’t get up the driveway and we have to haul our luggage up our extra long hill of a driveway (It has happened).  Seriously, I am not being a whiner… the driveway is longer than a football field and all uphill. Then add ice and snow.  The fuel delivery guy already called me in Seattle to tell me our oil delivery was postponed because he couldn’t get up to the house in his monster truck.  And we’re arriving late at night.

Thankfully the taxi made it, but I did have a 3-day old snow removal project on my hands the next morning – and you know how 3 day old snow gets – hard and crusty.  Shoveling can become near impossible.  If you live in a snow place you know how it goes. Get out there and clear snow right away – because snow is never lighter than when it just fell. And definitely, don’t wait 3 days.

I needed not to fret about the old snow though.  My Troy-bilt 2625 Snow blower handled it like it fell five minutes ago.  That was a relief.  I had the driveway clear for the oil man in about 20 minutes.

So now that the holidays are over and I’m not traveling for a bit, I am hoping to get a jump-start on spring.  I’ve also got a new Pole Chain Saw (the Troybilt PS720 TrimmerPlus Saw) that I am eager to try out. Winter is a great time to do some shrub and tree pruning. This is one of the best times of the year to cut back some of my established woody plants.  They are dormant but also, with the leaves down, it is easier to see what cuts you need to make.  I’ll let you know how it goes!

What are you doing (besides perusing seed catalogs) in your garden this time of year?  Anything?

This post was sponsored by Troy-Bilt.  All opinions are my own.

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  1. Philip says:

    Such a lovely place. I’ve always lived in the city and grew up with neighbors close by as well as in apartment buildings. But, I’ve always wondered what’s it like to live where the space between you and your neighbors is like a good car drive away. How are the nights and if you need help at times? Just wondering.

    • Living in a place where the distance to a neighboring house is more than a stones throw has it’s pros and cons. I always crave the energy, diversity and communal attitudes of city living and when I vacation, I generally want nothing more than to transplant myself to a lively creative metropolis so I can just walk for days and soak it all in. I find joy and creativity in this sort of other, and I always have an idea where I might want to settle when taking care of so much land becomes too much… but, for now, I also can’t imagine having this home that I have – particularly in this time. Space to get away and out during a pandemic is a blessing. Weirdly, I see my neighbors much more now than I ever did before. They are all walking the local roads and hanging out in their gardens. I guess normally they would be busing commuting to city jobs. The nights are quiet (no fireworks here!) and generally restful. This is where I am glad to be at this time. Neighbors are still neighbors and friends are still close and always there if needed… so I don’t think that is different.

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