ambience: horse-drawn snow plow
We’re in upstate New York’s farm country, where a team of horses is pulling a plow, clearing the snow off a frozen lake, just in time for the annual Ice Harvest. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. In the days before electric refrigerators, ice was cut from Green Lake, near Tully, New York, to use in ice boxes. Blocks of ice were stored in icehouses, where they’d stay frozen for many months, packed in sawdust, and then in the spring and summer, shipped as far away as New York City. Every year about this time, folks in Tully gather to celebrate their region’s history by harvesting ice the old-fashioned way, with horsepower and antique tools.
“That’s an original plow that was used before my day and your day.”
Dairy farmer Delbert Haynes oversees the ice harvest and loans a team of his horses to pull the equipment, such as this horse-drawn snow plow.
“That’s what they used to use, I think, even to plow the roads, in the days before modern equipment. There’s a good 8 inches of snow there on that lake.”
ambience: shoveling the lake, bantering
People pitch in to shovel the remaining snow by hand, and then the horses are hitched to a plow which etches grooves into the ice, to serve as markers for saw blades.
ambience: etching by horse-drawn ice blade
Once the ice plow has marked out a grid, it’s time to cut a channel through which blocks of ice will be floated to the shore.
ambience: chopping hole for channel
Finally, the hatchet breaks through the ice to the water below…
ambience: slushy chopping with laughing, whooping, crowd ambience
… and then it’s time to put the antique ice saw to work.
Please visit our web site at pulseplanet.com. Pulse of the Planet is presented by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.
ambience: talking to the horses, chopping with horse calling, hatchet breaks through ice to water