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Ice harvest

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It's hard work keeping an ice shed stocked through to the end of August. Every year in the waning days of February, families from a handful of cabins along a small lake in northwestern Ontario work together to cut and pull blocks of ice from the lake's frozen surface to store in a small ice house. The work is an international affair, with families from both Canada and the United States taking part. A rig and chainsaw, whose blades are oiled with canola oil, cut out a grid of ice blocks before they are broken loose and pulled out to be transported. Once in the shed, sawdust is spread in between blocks and layers of ice to provide insulation. While the methods have changed over the years -moving from transporting the ice by sled to using pickup trucks- the output has been generally consistent. This year alone, roughly 120 blocks were hauled from the frozen lake, amounting to hundreds of pounds of ice to be used for keeping coolers and drinks cold throughout the hottest months of the year. -Ken Kellar photos

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