Got to thinking about the goodies I’ll be munching on during the Super Bowl. We have a crockpot of meatballs and a crockpot of little smokies.
Chips and dip for a little variety.
Realized the menu wasn’t balanced. No vegetables in there at all.
Decided to drink Bloody Marys just to balance it out.
On a related note I am cheering for the Saints. The only reason I’d like to see New Orleans win it all is so Peyton Manning doesn’t start appearing in the 10 percent of the commercials he is not in now.
This column ran in the Feb. 2 edition of the Prairie Post
I believe I’m paraphrasing Mark Twain when I say that just because a rich man gets ice in the summer and the poor man gets ice in the winter doesn’t mean everything is coming out even.
Over the past few weeks we’ve gotten more than any one’s fair share of cold and ice, no matter what their income level.
Somebody wondered if, because temperatures seem to average out over the year, we should be concerned over hot weather this summer. They went so far as to suggest maybe we should save some of this cold for next summer.
Of course that is not possible now. But it was a century ago.
This time of year crews would have been busy cutting ice from the river and storing it in the ice houses for use the next summer. In a way they were storing the cold when it occurred naturally for use when the natural weather patterns brought warm weather.
Commercial harvest of ice started in Jamestown in 1904. Ferdinand Koehn, a German immigrant, was looking for a way to expand his business. He already operated a threshing crew that kept him busy through the fall months and needed a business that would keep him and the men he employed occupied during the winter.
You had to have the right kind of water for an ice business. Nobody wanted a lot of debris in their ice and fish, doing the things fish do in the water, weren’t advisable either. A natural spring up stream of Jamestown, now under the waters of the Jamestown Dam, kept the James River flowing and made for clear ice.
And water dumped from the steam engines of the Northern Pacific kept the Pipestem warm enough to attract fish and the things that fish leave behind.
So the ice of the James River made ideal ice for storage and refrigeration. As soon as the ice was 18 inches thick the harvest would begin. This made for ice capable of supporting a team of horses hooked to a scraper that cleared the top of the ice before it was cut with long bladed saws into huge blocks.
The blocks were brought into the ice houses where they were stored among sawdust for insulation. The ice house was among the largest buildings in early Jamestown with a width of 100 feet and a length of 150 feet. It stored enough ice that all the homes in Jamestown could keep things cool with an icebox along with cooling commercial applications and even providing ice to boxcars on the railroad.
Harvesting ice was a tremendously labor intensive task of long hours and backbreaking work. It provided winter work to many of the farm laborers that would have been unemployed during those months.
So I guess you could say it gave the poor people their chance at some ice, even if it was in the winter.