The Wonders of a Snow Fence

Let me start by explaining the need for a snow fence. My wife and I built our house and raised our family in this house that is set back from the main highway about 1/10th of a mile from the road. Don’t regret that for a moment! The thing is that our driveway is across the east end of a mile stretch of fields and the winter winds blow across these fields with very little impediment and any impediment that is in the way causes snow to drift. When we were starting our lives together money was tight (school teacher made very little at that time and we chose together for my wife to stay home with our kids.) We couldn’t afford the 4 wheel drive vehicles, the snow blower, and garage we have now. So, when the winter snows and winds came, we parked our vehicles at the road. We have many memories of loading our kids in sleds and pulling them to the car, hiding the sleds, getting groceries, then pulling the kids and groceries back the driveway in the sleds. During our first winter in the house, we even snow shoed to church a time or two! It is in walking distance but it was definitely a conversation starter at church!

Our church in the background. Easy walking distance but quite a hill!

Our families did a lot to help us. My brother in law would plow the driveway on occasion and dad would bring his walk behind snow blower but the slightest puff of wind and the driveway would close right back up. I will never forget one of our first years when we missed a forecast of 15 mph winds at night and could not get our cars out the next day and the winds got worse. Dad came over with his walk behind and would blow 20 feet of driveway, we would pull the cars up and he would do 20 more. Took us hours to get them out. Thank goodness it was a weekend!

We eventually upgraded to a 4-wheeler with a plow, then a walk behind snow blower, and while they helped, we still had times when we just gave up and parked the cars at the road and simply made a path to them when we needed out. Kids could walk then but still used sleds to bring in the groceries. A few winters it was weeks before we could bring our cars back in to the house. One Christmas our lives changed when mom and dad got us a couple pieces of snow fence! Oh the wonders of it all!

A snow fence works because it becomes that impediment in the way of the wind and snow that creates a drift on the downwind side of the fence, and when it forms, the winds swirl on the other side and actually sweep the snow away on the other side of the drift! Its slow at first until the drift forms, but when it does, it works wonders.

Snow fence this morning. Not a big drift yet, but it works!
Our driveway after being swept by the wind. This used to be nothing but a huge pile of snow in earlier years.

That’s the science behind it and not understanding that the first year, I put the fence too close to the driveway and that made it worse after a while when the drift became huge. Now I put the fence about 120 feet back ( let’s see 12 posts in the cattle fence with the fence posts about 10 feet apart 🙂 ) and it works wonders. That is until there is to much snow and it completely covers the fence, and that has happened a couple of times! And of course you need wind. Heavy snow with no wind still causes the driveway to fill up. Here in the Western MD mountains we average over 100 inches of snow per year. That is an average, some years we have much less and some years much more! I know some of you snowbirds have much more than that. I am still amazed at the permanent snow fences we saw in Wyoming!

Now I could go on now and say how we can use this as an example of how sometimes the obstacles we encounter in our lives God may use to sweep away the problems downwind of that obstacle. WOW – that really is true isn’t it?

Well, 37 winters later my wife and I now put up snowfences, we have a small tractor with a great snow blower that is really fun to use, and we have 4 wheel drive vehicles where we don’t have to park at the road nearly as often, but you know what, I really miss those days of pulling our kids and groceries back and forth and snowshoeing to church! (I don’t want to do that again though!)

Until next time!

-Steve

It really is a beautiful cold morning today!
My attempt at an artistic winter image.

One thought on “The Wonders of a Snow Fence

  1. Snow fences are not uncommon along areas of highway here in Colorado, to keep from drifting and burying the road. Surprised to hear of them in Maryland! Glad to have found your site.

    Like

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