Every winter since 1967, people have gathered at Will Steger’s Homestead just outside Ely Minnesota to lend a hand in the harvesting of ice. It was my good fortune to find myself included in the activities this weekend. My gratitude to Marian Moore (thoughtful, kind, funny, beautiful, creative and be-slippered) to her sweet circle of friends, and to Will Steger for the welcoming.

People collected down by the edge of the lake with their various saws and shovels, picks and pry-bars, tongs, chainsaws…
Harvesting Ice phase 1
A top layer of softer snow is removed, the surface is scored and sawing begins.
Ice Ball Scoring the ice
And out comes the first cube:
Ice Ball popping ice out of the hole
Time to begin another:
Ice Ball Sawing 3
Next, chainsaws are used to cut the large blocks into segments:
Ice Ball cutting ice into cubes
Smaller blocks are then loaded onto the sled and the horses take them up the hill to the ice house:
Ice Ball Ice loading onto sled
While horses are some tough competition, dogs have had their day helping out with the hauling. To watch these horses in action you may click here!  And here’s a still:
The Horses Ice Ball
Yes, it makes you happy.
Robin at Ice Ball
The Mess Hall exterior:
Steger Ice Ball Mess Hall 
Today I am homeward bound. Thank you Minnesota… to the two and four-legged, ever-onward.