Some time around the middle of February, James and the "boys" decide that they need a little bit of fresh air, sunshine and excercise.  This, as luck would have it,  this is also precisely the time that a thick layer of ice has formed on the northern lakes. Not for snowmobiling or any other similar leisure pastime! Nothing as mundane for these lads. No, they are looking forward to making their annual pilgrimage on Lady Evelyn Lake to perform the ritual "ICE CUTTING"! 

Many have expressed interest in attending, few have returned year after year. But the 8 or 9 lads that have toughed it out are a hardy but fun-lovin' bunch. Usually a 4 day tour of duty fills the ice house with (we hope) enough blocks of ice to last the lodge through the following summer season.

 

 Our most recent (2007) ice cutting adventure...

#1  swap your boat for a snowmobile...                       #2  find Red Pine Island about 9 miles down a rough trail...

It's usually under a few feet of snow...

 

 

#3  Discover you have forgotten the gas-powered snowblower -- let your friend do most of the shovelling...

 

#4  Start up the old ice saw and begin cutting...              I'm the only one working! Must be lunch...

 

#5  Smash out the corner blocks (like getting the first brownie out of the pan) then use a "spud" (a long, heavy pipe with a blade on the end) to knock at the bottom of the cut. This is called "cutting dry" because the ice cutting blade only saws down 12", not completely through the ice to the lake below. You can see some of the blocks stacked up behind the workers. The blocks are 14" square and 12" thick. They weigh somewhere around 80 lbs. each.

 

#6  Spud, lift, spud, lift, spud, groan, lift...

 

#7  Spud some more and then load up the sleigh... Bill Challis, the previous owner of Red Pine gets to drive...

#8  Up to the ice house, where 350 blocks or so will have a happy home.  Snow is packed between the layers of ice for added insulation. (The walls of the building have styrofoam).  We top the whole thing off with 2 feet of a large chips of cedar sawdust for more insulation.  The sawdust also allows for evaporation which aids in keeping the mass cool.  How cool is that? Really cool...

 

#9  Park your machine after a hard day's work...           #10  Wait for spring...

 

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