PHOTO: Daniel Johnson
February 7, 2017

When you think about winter, what comes to mind? Thinking of the coldest season might bring to mind thoughts on snow, crackling fireplaces, hot chocolate, the holidays … and ice, particularly removing ice from inconvenient places around the farm.

To be honest, I am not a fan of ice, and I’m certain many hobby farmers feel the same way. In some places, ice can serve a purpose: Without ice, we couldn’t go ice fishing. Without ice, we couldn’t go ice skating. Without ice, we wouldn’t have convenient cubes of ice for keeping things cold. But when ice gets out of control and starts turning up in less desirable locations, removing it can be quite a nuisance.

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As winter wears on, snow can get crushed down to form hard ice layers that are problematic. Annoying humps of ice can appear outside your garage door, where they’ve been repeatedly packed down by your car. Walking paths, gates and barn doorways can all suffer the same fate. For these reasons, it’s important that any hobby farmer have an arsenal of ice-removal tools on hand in case winter ice gets to be too much.

1. A Snow Shovel

While it isn’t really suited to chipping and breaking ice, a good show shovel will allow you to quickly move loose snow out of the way to see how much ice you are dealing with. Snow shovels are also useful for removing the broken chunks of ice once the chipping process is complete.

2. An Ice Scraper

A high-quality steel ice scraper will work wonders for breaking up and scraping away thick chunks of ice. Ice scrapers (like this one) can be quite heavy, but that’s a good thing—their weight gives them the power to chip and crack through the toughest ice.

3. Safety Goggles

Don’t forget safety goggles—they’re an absolute necessity for any ice-removal project. Pounding and chipping on ice with tools can send pieces of ice flying upward, and you don’t want to get hit in the eye. Get some safety goggles and wear them every time!

4. A Metal Shovel

In a pinch, a regular metal digging shovel can make an adequate tool for breaking and removing ice. It might not have the weight of a specialized ice scraper, but if you’re looking for a lighter tool that won’t be as tiresome to handle over long periods of time, you might actually prefer a metal shovel.

5. A Digging Bar

This is another tool that is more of a substitute for an actual ice scraper, but if you’re faced with a lot of ice and don’t have the right tools on hand, a digging bar can step in and help you get the job done. Because digging bars are very heavy, their shortcomings (such as their narrow pointed ends) are overcome to some extent by their simple ability to smash through ice with brute force.

Now it’s your turn! What tools do you like to have on hand for removing ice?

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