There has been some recent conversation here on the blog about saving ice for refrigeration, the concept of an ice house, and the ice box.
Years ago I went to Thomas Jefferson home in Monticello and I remember that he had a dry well that he used as a freezer and as a source of ice in the summer.
The well had a top on it to keep the sun and animals out.
In the winter they would go down to the river or lake and cut ice blocks place them in the well and cover them with hay. This is where they would store the meats and other perishables all summer.
I can see where this could come in handy for many things in a grid down situation. Having a place to store foods out of site and in the summer months when you are hunting.said ‘bender’ here on MSB
The Annual Ice Harvest on Squam Lake
This got me thinking about “The Annual Ice Harvest” at Squam Lake here in New Hampshire. It’s a very interesting glimpse into the self-reliance of our ancestors. A time before refrigeration. A lesson from history, if you will…
A tradition that still takes place every year, preserving lake ice to be used throughout the summer months.
It’s a place called Rockywold Deephaven Camps. A retreat created over one hundred years ago of cabins, cottages, and lodge rooms on Squam Lake in Holderness, New Hampshire.
Steeped in New England tradition,
Every winter, long after the last guests have departed, a ritual takes place at RDC — the harvesting of lake ice.
When the ice off the Deephaven shore becomes eleven or twelve inches thick (usually mid January to mid February) the work begins.
In one week, 200 tons of ice are taken from the lake by a crew that includes many who have done the job for decades and a few who follow in their father’s and grandfather’s footsteps.
The ice will fill the cottage ice boxes in the summer, keeping alive a connection between the camps and the natural environment that surrounds them.rdcsquam
How They Do It – Harvesting Lake Ice
RDC Ice Harvest, February 2021
Lessons learned? Well, life was ‘harder’ back then. Lots more physical work and labor. However human ingenuity overcame many obstacles. In this case, a way to have ice all summer long. People had ice boxes at home. They would receive delivery of new ice on a regular basis. That was their refrigerator.
It also makes one thing about our dependence upon electricity today! Wow. We would be in deep trouble without it!