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Posts tagged ‘environment’

Snow Shovel with a Steampunk Spin

The Never-Ending Stream of Snow Storms

According to The Weather Channel, Philadelphia is experiencing the third snowiest winter ever on record. No surprise to us, however, with another three inches to shovel off the driveway this past week. The total for this season so far: 58.4 inches, all of which had to be removed from our drive and walkway. Because our drive is shaded, the snow freezes making a nice, slick patch of ice to negotiate.

Snowed in Again!

Snowed in Again!

Shoveling Snow: Work Or Exercise? Resisting the Purchase of a Snow Blower

On the upside, I like practical exercise. For me, going the to a gym is tedious, but I welcome the chance to put effort toward yard work, which offers the satisfaction of having something to show for all that effort. This explains my resistance to purchasing a snow blower. Snow blowers, which are noisy and take up room in the garage, have to be maintained and cost money to run. Shoveling seems to be the perfect answer to winter exercise. We abide by all the rules of physical exertion by taking frequent rest periods, drinking plenty of water, using small shovel loads, and pushing the snow rather than lifting it. Our two shovels have good designs, with handgrips with ergonomic placement.

Building a Better Mouse-Trap or in this Case, Snow Shovel

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Then we saw our neighbor across the street using a crazy-looking device for removing snow: a huge wheel attached to a shovel. I liked it immediately as the mechanism fits in with the steampunk genre, which I have written about on the previous post. We watched as our neighbor cleared his entire driveway without having to bend over to lift the snow. He gave us the information on the device, and we lost no time checking the Internet on the invention: the Snow Wovel. Time Magazine claimed it as the best invention for 2006, so it’s been around for a few years. According to their website the Snow Wovel is

recognized by Co-op America and National Green Pages™ for its positive, pollution-free environmental standards and zero carbon footprint in usage. University of Massachusetts independent study confirms the wheeled snow shovel clears snow with a fraction of the effort and safer on the back: “comparable to simply walking.”

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Our box arrived several days later, and within a couple hours we managed to put together the parts and complete the assembly. The height of the handle can be adjusted to make a more comfortable position. The snow on our drive had turned icy and crunchy, and I thought the shovel might have a difficult time plowing through the hard crust. No need to worry, the machine dug in and lifted the snow away. Since our drive is wide, the wheel allowed us to easily carry the snow off to the side.

Really?

Really?

In November, I had placed the “let it snow” decoration on our front door, hardly suspecting that perhaps I might be tempting the muses with a call for continuing snow throughout the winter. But now we are snow warriors, armed with our Snow Wovel, ready to conquer whatever the the next storm brings, while getting some exercise and doing our part for the environment.

Save the Environment: 5 Easy Steps We Can do Now to Help Out

I’ve thought of several ideas on helping the environment and finally inspired to carry through and write down suggestions after reading a Daily Kos article, Two Small Changes in the Bathroom Could Improve the Environment and Your Health by Laura Clawson.

1. Add water to just about everything, especially when soaps and cleaners have a small amount left. Yes, probably shouldn’t add water in some cases, but if you can think about diluting where might be proper, do so. Detergents get thick at the bottom and adding water and shaking vigorously stirs up a lot of extra product.

2. Cut toothpaste and other tubes in half. I’ve managed to get two extra weeks out of a cut tube of toothpaste.

3. While making purchases, don’t use plastic bags for anything you can put in your pocket or purse. Have large reusable bags handy in the car and use for all of your shopping trips, not just to the grocery store. As our family was driving through the Delaware countryside, I noticed plastic bags stuck in the fields, ditches, trees and streams. We could organize crews to clean up, but far better that as consumers, we decide not to use plastic bags.

4. Think about the right measure to use for each product. Corporations may promote bigger portions to sell more. I realized that I don’t need to take a big swig of mouth wash. A little bit does the same job. A judicial amount of shampoo gets the job done and less soap goes down the drain.

5. No recyclable trash cans nearby? Carry home bottles and recycle.

You’ve probably figured a few things to do that help the environment. Please contribute to the list, as these serve as reminders or new approaches to consider.

Every bit helps and a few steps we take together mount up to big savings for humanity and our planet.

Protester, Philadelphia 2013

Protester, Philadelphia, 2013

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