We have snow blowers, snow plows, shovels etc to deal with snow removal these days. Most of us have put the aforementioned to good use and plenty of use this winter. For some reason I was thinking back to what a struggle snow removal must have been years ago. Silly me. A hundred years or more ago, rural folks just parked the buggies and got out the sleigh. Plus if you were a farmer you just stayed put till you could travel.

The era that snow removal was perhaps the hardest was 50-90 years ago. It's in that window where the horses are phased out for motor vehicles and instead of hauling your milk in a can in a sleigh, it was picked up by truck. I can recall our milk trucker would on occasion have a snow plow on the front of his truck. He used it sparingly. I suppose he realized his job was to get the milk to the creamery and not provide free snow plowing. He would use the plow after an especially heavy snowfall. I remember my dad had an old mop handle with a red rag tied to the top of it. If you stuck this in the snow by your driveway it was a sign to the township snow plow driver that you wanted him to plow your driveway out. Then come property tax time you'd be charged an extra $2 for each time you got plowed out. Yes, I did state $2.

Another way we used to deal with the snow was with the use of tire studs. Wisconsin and Minnesota banned the use of studs due to the damage they were inflicting on our blacktop roads. I had just assumed that metal studs in tires were banned everywhere. Wrong. Minnesota and Wisconsin are just 2 of 10 states that ban them. Elsewhere in the U.S. they're still legal but with restrictions.

If you old machinery, take a look at this old video by Allis Chalmers dealing with rural snow removal in 1948. It's pretty cool.

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