Barry’s annual snow blower advice
To my fellow snow country folks: Now that it looks like winter is soon to show her face, I feel moved to pass on some annual advice.
Over 20 years ago I had a moment of brain-deadness and ended up turning off a snow blower with my left hand, and being flown to Harbor View Hospital in Seattle where three hand surgeons spent 21 man-hours rebuilding my hand. I write to remind all of you snow blower operators this winter season to not repeat my stupidity!
Even with new designs and safety features on today’s machines (mine was 20 years old), blowers can still jam with wet snow or “yard” objects. Due to the potential kinetic energy stored in the engine compression and belt tension when jammed, the impellers in a blower can rotate slightly when a jammed or clogged machine is freed up. There is very little clearance in the impeller housings — if your hand is the “freeing” agent, you can lose fingers or an entire hand.
Never use your hand or foot to clear a clogged or jammed snow blower. Use a broom handle or long, stout stick — not a body part. From what I’ve seen lately, all new blowers come with a plastic paddle used to clear jammed blowers. Some even advise removing the spark plug to release any engine compression before working on a machine.
Snow blowers, like many powered devices, are in and of themselves not dangerous. They do need to be respected and operated with care and attention. Fatigue, being in a hurry, distractions, objects left out in the snow, etc., are the real dangers. Hopefully you will remember my story every time you operate a snow blower and not create your own story. Have a safe winter season.
Barry Stromberger, Twisp
Thanks from TwispWorks
As we head into the Thanksgiving season, I want to offer heartfelt thanks to Aaron, Joyce, Greg and the incredible staff at Twisp River Pub for hosting the Community Harvest Dinner on Nov. 1, with all donations benefiting TwispWorks programs and services.
Aaron and his team enlisted some of the finest chefs in the valley, including Nancy Pfeiffer and Steve Morse of Fork food truck fame and caterers Stew Dietz and Joel Travelstead, to create a taste sensation that had guests talking course after course and long after they made their last trip to the heaping table of desserts!
A crew of volunteers welcomed guests, kept the buffet stocked, and cleared and washed dishes. A huge thanks to them for their gracious help!
The thanks would not be complete if I didn’t mention the dozens of community folks who came out to enjoy the free meal and make a generous donation to the TwispWorks Foundation. Thank you for your ongoing support and encouragement! Come by and see us any time to hear what’s new and coming soon to the TwispWorks campus.
If you missed the Harvest Dinner, you missed out and we missed you. There’s always next year and the anticipation is already mounting!
Don Linnertz, Executive director, the TwispWorks Foundation
Seed Mob support appreciated
We’d like to extend a huge shout out of gratitude to the more than 60 volunteers who braved the dense fog early on Saturday morning (Nov. 7) to help with our native “Seed Mob.” Special thanks to the Okanogan County Electric Cooperative for recognizing the value in planting native seed in areas where powerlines and poles were replaced this summer.
Our appreciation, too, to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife for allowing our volunteers to help in reseeding areas near the Twisp powerline re-route and to the private landowners who let us cross their property and park on it to access the areas. Extra kudos to Rob Crandall from Methow Natives for sharing his wisdom and guidance. We continue to be inspired by this incredible community that seems always willing to plant a little hope.
The Methow Conservancy board and staff