I’d always wondered about the Amish practice of harvesting ice and what the work was like. In Sullivan, Ohio, last December, I finally came across the frigid scene. I asked the man in charge of the frozen pond if I could take pictures. I promised to respect the Amish way and not capture any faces. The cold, of course, is the key, with air that turns water into ice thick enough to stand on and a wind that blows into your bones. The Amish cut eight inches deep into the ice using the most basic of tools. Each block weighs about 60 pounds. Once loaded into the back of an old wagon, two Belgian workhorses pull nearly a ton and a half of ice to the homestead. The blocks are stacked in a 6-by-8-foot styrofoam structure. Here, the Amish refrigerate their food. “How long does the ice last,” I asked. “All summer, through the fall and into next winter,” the man answered.
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