Tully Ice Harvest – Cutting
Music; Ambience: Ice sawing
We’re standing on a frozen lake in upstate New York, where a group of people have gathered to harvest ice — the old fashioned way. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Every year at this time, folks around Tully, New York, bundle up and pitch in at the annual Ice Harvest. They’re sawing blocks of ice out of Green Lake using an antique saw. Once the snow is cleared off the lake using a horse-drawn plow, a channel is cut from the middle of the lake, where the ice is thickest, all the way to the shore.
When the channel is open, it’s time to start harvesting ice, using a large, curved pick called a “spud” to break the first block free.
While some people continue sawing through the lake’s frozen surface, others float blocks of ice through the channel to the shore. Here, volunteers are using huge tongs to move the blocks of ice into a chute that leads into a horse-drawn sleigh. Dairy farmer Delbert Haynes is in charge of today’s ice harvest.
“If the ice chute is in place, and the back end is in the water, where you can float the ice up; we will use what they call a cricket to pull the ice out of the lake onto the sleigh.”
The cricket has hooks on one end which grab onto the block of ice.
Ambience: Ice block makes it up to the sleigh — crowd “yay”
The blocks of ice are slid into place until the sleigh is full, ready to be pulled to an old wooden ice house nearby.
Ambience: sliding ice into place in the ice house
Ambience: Shoveling sawdust into the ice house
Inside the ice house, a few men pack the ice in sawdust, which will keep it cold until summertime. And that’s when today’s hard work will pay off, according to Eleanor Preston of the Tully Area Historical Society.
“We preserve the ice until June and then make homemade ice cream for our strawberry ice cream festival.”
Pulse of the Planet is presented by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.
Ambience: watery sound as block is pushed under