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Sunday, April 3, 2011


Sunday, 10:00 AM.  34 degrees, wind SW, calm at present.  It has been raining and now snowing, huge flakes the size of pocket change.  The barometer predicts the same.
    I doubt there will be much of a sap run today, and even if it does, the sap will be no good if it gets diluted with rain falling in the buckets.  I assume Andy and Judy have enough sap to keep on boiling down, and I will give them a call later to see what’s up.
    I am taking bets on when the ice will go out of the channels and the bay.  Capt. Sherman says it is still thick, and shows little sign of breakup, but of course things can change rapidly.  I predict it goes out on May second, although I remember some years ago there was an iceberg that looked like a tugboat floating around out there on July  4th.  I encourage my local readers to make a prediction and post it on the blog's comments. There was a time not that long ago when ice was harvested here in large blocks and loaded into boxcars and shipped to the cities for summer use in ice boxes.  I say not too long ago because I remember the iceman delivering blocks of ice around the neighborhood when I was a kid.  People with ice boxes had a square cardboard sign they put in the window to announce  how much ice they wanted delivered; ten pounds, 15 pounds, twenty five pounds, or fifty pounds, the desired number placed upward.  We always followed the iceman on a hot summer day, begging small chunks of ice that he would chip off the large blocks for us to suck on. My folks always had a small refrigerator, but ice was still delivered in West Allis until perhaps 1948 or so. 
    Many people who had homes or businesses in northern Wisconsin had their own ice houses, and would harvest ice from the lakes and store it for summer  use.  These ice houses were usually dug into a hillside, were well roofed over and the ice, covered with sawdust, lasted the summer.  I remember some still in use into the late 1950's.  Some summer mansions of he wealthy had duct work from the ice house to the home for summer cooling before the advent of air conditioning.  But, he ice man no longer commeth.

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