“Get a horse, a Wheel Horse, of course!”
Winter is Snow Time
Every winter, for those in the snow belt areas, it’s that time of year that we begin to prepare for the fluffy white stuff. And the same questions crop up every single season. Questions like, chains versus ag tires? Or snow blower or snow blade? Or how much weight or do I even need weight?
Every question, depending on the situation, may have a different response. For instance, chains versus ags.
Chains will give you the best overall traction, especially in ice. But if your drive is concrete or asphalt, chains may damage those type surfaces. Ags are a good compromise, but you will encounter some traction problems on ice or if you have to deal with any slopes or hills on your driveway. There are also Terragrips rubber chains, which are getting popular, but again, you will encounter some traction problems on ice, but they won’t damage your concrete or asphalt surfaces the way conventional chains will.
Also chains can be bought in 2 link or 4 link. This mans the number of links between the cross links. 2 link chains will give you more cross links, which will give you better traction than 4 link chains. Also, chains will work best if mounted on turf type tires rather than the ag or lug tires.
Ag and lug tires are good if you’re just dealing with snow and you have no major slopes. They will also not damage concrete and asphalt surfaces. And they do have that cool farm tractor look to them, so they have that going for them.
How about snow blower or thrower versus a snow blade? This is a constant and good debate. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Both have their place in your horse shed.
Snow blades are lighter in weight so therefore are easier to mount, to a degree. Plus they should be less expensive to buy new or used. But, in dealing with heavier amounts or more frequent snow storms, snow blowers are a better choice. Snow blades are great for the lesser amounts and if you have a gravel driveway, they don’t launch your gravel into your yard or into a car or house window, which a snow blower can do. But when dealing with deeper snow, snow blades are as efficient. Plus when there are frequent snow events, problems arises on where to push the snow as the snow piles can and will become large to the point that your drive way has become smaller as the piles of snow are now encroaching into the driveway more.
Snow throwers will launch the snow far away from your driveway surfaces, so there are no snow piles to deal with. Plus, snow throwers can deal with the deeper snows more efficiently. The more the snow, the better they deal with it. Snow throwers and snow blowers have to be fed so keep the speed up and keep the throttle up.
Cabs are also nice to have, especially when using a snow thrower, but for any use of your tractor in the winter months.
Wet snow tends to clog the snow chutes on these blowers and throwers. So a good lubricant should be applied to the inside of the chutes, lubricants like PAM cooking spray. Just don’t tell your wife where her PAM went to. She might not appreciate your use of her cooking spray. Also good maintenance on your snow throwers is a must to keep them in good working order.
How about a weighted subject? Weights are a must when dealing with snow and ice. Weights are the second most important thing to have on your traction, second to having good traction, of course. The debate is now on how much weight? Wheel weights versus loaded tires? Weights hanging off the back of your tractor, etc.?
Myself I prefer wheel weights, especially the cast iron ones (the cast iron wheel weights is another subject that we won’t dwell into here). Wheel weights are almost universal. Wheel weights for 12 inch wheels will fit about any 12 inch rim. There are exceptions, i.e. rim depth being the most common problem. Wheel weights can be cast iron, plastic covered cement, or can be homemade out of any heavy material. They vary in weight, most are either 25 pounds, or 50 pounds, while some are as heavy as 75 pounds. You can put more than one weight per wheel, but be careful as not to damage your axles or hubs by adding too much weight to a wheel.
Personally I don’t like loaded tires, but it’s an option and usually less expensive than wheel weights (especially cast iron wheel weights). Calcium chloride, anti-freeze, beet juice are the most common type of materials used for loaded tires, while others include foam. Disadvantages is possible corrosion to your rims, unless you use tubes. Other disadvantage is dealing with the weight when mounting or dismounting the tires.
Other weight options include adding weight to the tractor by hanging them off the rear end of your tractor. This usually involves some home engineering, i.e. fabricating brackets to mount the weights. Weights can be suitcase weights, dumb bells, sand or gravel (provided you have a weight box), cement, or just about any heavy object. I’ve seen some people leave their tillers on so there is weight hanging off the back of their tractor.
HAVE FUN OUT THERE
Winter can be fun when you have a Wheel Horse. It gives you ample opportunity for more seat time. Your Wheel Horse can be used to deal with the snow in a fun like manner instead of shoveling snow by hand. It will shorten your snow removal chores significantly. You don’t have to have cabin fever just because it’s cold outside or the ground is covered. Go out there and have some fun. Bundle up, fire up the Horse, and go outside and enjoy the white fluffy stuff, with hour horse, a Wheel Horse, or course.
Even wood gathering can be fun and adventure for you and your Wheel Horse.