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Build an in-ground ice house.

The ice house shown here is basically a root cellar with a lot of insulation.

The Styrofoam used around the outside should be the foil-covered type, with the foil on the outside. Be sure to seal the joints.

The insulation over the ice compartment can be foam or sawdust. Whichever you choose, it will have to be removed each winter to fill your ice house.

Sawdust is the best form of insulation around the ice blocks themselves. It's a good insulator, cheap (usually free), it will fill in all the nooks and crannies and is easy to work with.

The roof should be removable.

The building could have a shade structure over it which would help keep the ice longer into summer's heat and could also be used to produce the ice in winter.

Making ice

The old-fashioned winter chore of cutting blocks of ice from a frozen lake or pond is still a possibility in some places -- although you wouldn't want to use the product in your iced tea, or even in an old-fashioned icebox, if it's contaminated. (To construct an ice box, see 74/1:35-36.)

Ice can also be made with molds, and your household water supply.

Molds can be made from almost anything, but the best ones would be metal with rounded corners on the inside to make removal easier. These could be made from sheet metal or even old cans, but they should have smooth sides.

Earlu in this century an Iowa company patented a waterproof cardboard carton for making blocks of ice. You just filled as many as you needed and put the whole box in the icehouse. The cardboard box kept the ice clean and also provided insulation.

Today, plastic bags set in ordinary cardboard boxes would work as well.

Fill the molds with clean water when temperatures are below-freezing.

Empty the molds (except for the cardboard variety) whenever the ice is solid enough, and refill them with water. Continue this until your ice house is filled.

When placing ice in the house be sure to fill in all the gaps with sawdust. Your ice will last longer.

A cake of ice 10[inches] x 10[inches] x 18[inches] will weigh about 60 pounds. When ice was commonly used for cooling it was estimated that a family needed 20 pounds a day. Allowing for melt loss, that's about five tons a year.

Constructing an ice house now won't affect your food storage for this year - -- you won't reap the benefits until next summer. But as with so many other aspects of homesteading, you have to plan ahead. This project will have to be started, at least, before the ground freezes.

COPYRIGHT 1995 Countryside Publications Ltd.
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Copyright 1995 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:McWilliams, Larry
Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Date:Sep 1, 1995
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