Thursday, April 3, 2014

April 3, 2014 - Ice Houses

We call this "the pond."  It is on the eastern side of Gun Point Peninsula here in Maine, part of Sebascodegan Island.  It is part salt water and part fresh water, with enough fresh water to allow it to freeze over quite thickly in winter.  Back in the 1800's, ice harvesting took place every winter in which great blocks of ice weighing up to 250 to 300 pounds were cut from the pond and stored in "ice houses."  These houses were often underground and packed well with sand and straw so that the innermost ice stayed frozen even into the summer.  This supplied much of Boston and New York with ice throughout the summer, back in the days before refrigeration.  We still call our fridge an "ice box" in my house.  Some habits never die, and for that I'm very glad.  No one cuts ice from the pond anymore.  It is now a giant ice skating rink over 2 miles long, but even that isn't done much anymore.  Sometimes at night I see the will-o'-the-wisp flying around out on the ice.  At least the fairies haven't forgotten the pond.


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