Bringing in the ice near Ely

We’d probably last less than a day living the simple life, but there’s still something comforting about people giving it a go. The Ice Ball, the annual get-together near Ely where people haul ice out of a pond on Will Steger’s estate, happened on Saturday, as it has every year since 1967.

Here’s how it works, according to an old post on his website.

Using old metal saws, chisels, ice tongs, and ropes, the group cut blocks of ice from the lake, loaded the ice onto a horse-drawn sleigh and packed the ice into the ice house. The ice will keep the vegetables in the Homestead’s root cellar fresh all year long. Because it is so deep underground, cut into the hillside and piled all around with enormous boulders, the root cellar remains at a fairly constant temperature – just above freezing – despite the hot summer days and frigid winter nights. The Homestead has no electric refrigerator, which is one way we reduce our energy consumption. Since there is no central heating anywhere at the Homestead, the root cellar makes a great place to store anything that needs to be kept at a constant, above-freezing temperature…including wood stain and glue from the wood shop!

Once cut, the ice is loaded onto horse-drawn sleighs…

Additional images on the Crazy Cold Beautiful blog.

Related: Will Steger's castle in the clouds (City Pages).

More ice: Possible 'ice quake' on Brainerd-area lake after loud boom, tremor(