Snow removal dilema..opinions wanted.
Wife and I are both retired (which ages us) and we're looking at some way of cleaning up the snow without having to shovel up here in Northern Alberta (Peace River country).
We have about 800-900' of gravelled driveway. Currently our neighbour or his son ploughs it out with heavy equipment (grader, front end loader or 4WD tractor)for a very nominal fee but he can't clean up the yard (equipment is too big).
We can usually get the car in and out if the snow fall isn't too deep (> 7" which doesn't happen often) until the driveway is cleared. But it can quickly accumulate if the snow fall last a number of days which it often does. Usually we just drive over light (2" or so ) snow falls and wait until the driveway really needs ploughing before we get him to come in and do it.
Clearing walking trails to various other spots (wood pile , garbage bin) and general clean up in front of the house (parking area) is a problem. We currently shovel when it gets too deep to walk over. Everything is a relatively straight line and there's room between the trees to get a blower in (mow it with 54" deck right now)
Blowing would more than likely be done at -10 C to -25C. Any colder than that and I'd probably leave it until it warms up anyway.
I've been looking at various options but it's a mass of total confusion.
Option 1 :
Take over all snow removal and buy a 42" snow blower attachment for our 26HP Cadet SLTX 1054 . I've downloaded and read the snow blower manual but it looks like it can be a wee bit of a bugger to install all the hardware on the tractor after removing the mowing deck and all it's related hardware. The manual says it's a 2 man operation to lug this thing into position and hook it up. (I could get my nephew to come over and lend a hand or build an A frame hoist if needed I suppose.)
Would also need tire chains and some kind of counter weight presumably.
Apparently it's not really what they call "fast attach".
Keep using the neighbour for the driveway and buy a stand alone walk behind 2 stage blower (about the same $$'s or less) for clean up.
Read reviews on a number of models and it seems these things weigh a ton and sometimes require a lot of physical effort to drag around and can bog down in hard packed and deep snow.
Seems like the tractor would be the obvious choice but that's where my confusion crops up.
Lots of forum posts state that the walk behind outperforms the tractor mounted, moving more snow. Tractor belts always breaking in cold weather. Some even go as far as to say they abandoned their tractor mount in favour of a walk behind.
Other forums state that they wouldn't part with their tractor mount for anything. It's faster , does a cleaner job and moves anything nature can throw at it.
But no one seems to have the same conditions (long driveway , path clearing , -20C working environment and a neighbour to do the driveway).They're all clearing 60' paved driveways in T-Shirts and shorts.
So I come here hoping to find someone with the same (or near same) conditions to seek their opinion/advice.
Given the particulars , what would you do and what equipment would you suggest?