Living in New England And The Tools Required

One of the best things about living in New England is the experience of changing seasons.  We have four distinct seasons – Summer, Fall, Winter and Mud.

In each season comes the direct relationship with nature.  Winter of course is the most unpredictable and most disruptive.  If you have no plans and not appointments, getting socked in by a winter wallop of snow is kind of fun.  You crank up the wood stove and settle in for a cosy day of hot chocolate, board games and listening to the house creak or an avalanche of snow coming off the metal roof.

Unfortunately there typically are things like – work or dentist appointments or school.  Luckily we don’t live too far off the plowed roads.  I usually tackle my driveway by hand if the snow is not too deep or a crank up my electric snowblower.

In Maine, I had a big gas powered snowblower and a long driveway.  I head off down the drive way, often in the dark, with a headlamp on.  It took at minimum four passes with the snowblower.  That gas snowblower and I didn’t have a very good relationship.  The hand-crank rope kept breaking and the electric start required pulling the heavy machine back to the house where the electric plug was waiting. Then there was the gas mixing.  You had to add oil and gas to the right mixture or otherwise the engine would couch and spew black smoke.  I moved it here to New Hampshire and it never wanted to start.  I even paid for a new carburetor and it still didn’t start.

Another part of winter in New England – getting the salt off your car!

I’ve gone through a number of gas chainsaws the same way.  They say the ethanol gas is to blame. It just kills small engines. So I’ve switched to electric – I have an battery chainsaw, battery trimmer and a corded snowblower. They all work great and are nice and quiet.  For the tiny lawn we have I just have a old fashioned push mower.

But if the snow isn’t too deep I’d still prefer to use a shovel and enjoy the quiet of a snowy day.

Recommended products

I recommend an electric snowblower because:

  • No gas, no mixing
  • Instant start
  • Lightweight

I don’t recommend them if you:

  • Have a very long driveway
  • Often have deep heavy snow
  • If you lose power a lot (we have a backup generator)

Battery Chain Saws

Recommended for light work around the yard. You can go for maybe 20 minutes one battery. Extra batteries are not cheap but unless you need to go all day, having to take a break isn’t always a bad thing.  Over all one of the best chainsaws I have ever owned.  The speed of the chain seems slower than a gas model but the chain is designed to work at that speed.  The chain tightening system is superior to any gas chainsaw I’ve owned.  For first time chain saw buyers, I’d recommend this one.  Plus the battery system works with other tools.

Battery Powered Trimmers

These battery operated trimmers are fantastic. If you are a landscaper who trims all day maybe you would not want this but for a home owner who needs to trim for 20 minutes or so in a session, these are perfect. They are quiet, don’t produce any smoke and when they are off, they are off, when they are on, they are on. No idling.