Long ago memories of shoveling snow by hand

Jerry Apps
Back when Jerry Apps was a kid growing up on the farm, there were no snow blowers or bucket tractors to help move the cold, wet stuff.

It came quietly in the night, without fuss or fury. Another six inches of wet, heavy snow that clung on the trees and shrubs. It followed six inches of snow from the previous week and as many inches of snow the week before that.

I am on my tractor with a front end loader and box grader hanging on the back, moving snow, bucket full after bucket full. I am thinking about snowstorms when I was a kid and snow had to be moved. On the home farm, when I was little guy, we had no tractor with a front end loader. We had no tractor at all until Dad bought our first tractor in 1945, a Farmall H.

We shoveled snow by hand. With a scoop shovel, the kind used for moving grain from one place to another in the granary. We shoveled a path from the house to the chicken house, from the chicken house to the granary, from the granary to the corncrib, from the corncrib to the barn, from the barn to the pump house, where we cooled the morning and evenings milking. We shoveled another path from the pump house to the house and a path directly from the house to the barn.

And that wasn’t all of it. We shoveled the driveway from the country road that trailed by our farm to the pump house, so the milkman, who made his rounds every morning could load the four or five cans of milk that we had for the cheese factory.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Appreciate the labor-saving devices of today while remembering what it was like when moving snow meant shoveling by hand.

Jerry Apps

Jerry Apps, born and raised on a Wisconsin farm, is Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the author of more than 35 books, many of them on rural history and country life. For further information about Jerry's writing and TV work go to