Monday, January 25, 2016

Making Ice With The Amish

Lots of people seem interested in the Amish and since we spend so much time with them I thought I would share something that few people have experienced. Last week I was around to help an Amish family "make ice". Granted they are not "making ice", the cold weather does that, they are just cutting and collecting ice but it is just a term they use like "making hay". While many Amish have some electricity in their homes via solar panels or generators, keeping food frozen is always an issue for them. Therefore many Amish have "ice houses", typically a small building with heavy insulation that they pack with ice blocks which keeps food frozen or at least cold throughout the summer. Of course this means you need a source of lots and lots of blocks of ice, a source that is found in the many ponds the Amish have on their property. Some Amish without ponds are able to get ice from a neighbor's pond, after all it is basically just water so the real investment is in the time to gather it. Below are some pics of the process, I had to wait until they took a break to avoid having any Amish in the picture which is too bad because a video would really be great. Anyway, enjoy a look at how people kept food cold before the advent of the ubiquitous freezer.

An elevator, often used to take hay into the barn, is used to
move the blocks from the pond to the waiting wagon. In the background
you can see the saw used to cut the ice.

A team of Belgian workhorses. Unlike most buggy horses these behemoths
will stand still without being tied for hours on end.

An example of an ice house, this one is a stand alone, many have walls and a
roof and look like a small shed.

Each completed load on a hay wagon is hauled back to the ice house. The wagons can hold
up to 200+ blocks of ice but the weight can make the wagon bow in the middle. 

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