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Amish Ice Harvesting

(Photo: John Hart/Wisconsin State Journal)

This sled-mounted power saw cuts through thick ice on the lakes of Wisconsin. Lynn Miller of the town of Markesan uses it to harvest blocks of ice, which he keeps in an insulated icehouse. It’s a popular practice among the Amish communities in the area. If properly maintained, an icehouse can keep ice solid for 2 years. Barry Adams writes in the Wisconsin State Journal:

The 1,500 blocks cut Saturday will be used to keep food cold year-round and helps make ice cream in the summer. A few blocks in a deep freeze box, which sometimes are old, non-working chest freezers, can last four to five days. There is no central ice warehouse. Instead, each Amish family has its own icehouse that can hold 200 to 250 blocks of ice. Built with well-insulated walls more than a foot thick, ice has been known to keep for two or even three years in an icehouse.

Saturday’s event, just over an hour drive north from Madison, was one of more than a dozen ice harvests that have been or will be held this winter in this Amish enclave that speaks Pennsylvania Dutch and includes the communities of Kingston, Dalton and Manchester.

“It’s interesting to watch it,” said Edna Eicher, 64, whose son, Amos Eicher Jr., owns the 12-foot-deep pond. “No matter how warm the summer is, we have ice. We’ve thrown 2-year-old ice out.”

You can view a slideshow of photos demonstrating the process here.

-via TYWKIWDBI


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