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Digital Subscriptions > Cottage Life > Winter 2017 > CHEERS TO WINTER



Near the beginning of every calendar year, we gather a group of willing individuals to come up to our cabin on Crow Lake in Northwestern Ontario, and “put up ice.” We store it in our ice house, originally built by my husband’s family, and it usually lasts us all summer. We wait until the new year because the ice needs to be at least 14 inches thick to be safe and to produce good cubes. We use a 100-year-old saw—a homemade contraption— to cut the initial pattern in the ice, and then a half-dozen energetic neighbours and family members help cut and remove the ice blocks with long ice saws and tongs. We use snowmobiles to transport the blocks up onto land, where another half-dozen energetic people are waiting to skid the 18” by 36” blocks one by one into the ice house using a rope-and-pulley system. The blocks are stacked and covered with sawdust to help keep them insulated throughout the year. The whole process takes three hours at the most (or sometimes only two if we have lots of strong, young workers). In the summer, anyone who helped us put up the ice gets to use the ice. Folks chip away at the blocks whenever they need it. Some of the ice goes into their coolers. Some goes directly into their drinks—once they’ve rinsed off the sawdust. I think a full ice house could make up to 10,000 drinks!—Amy Teeple

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About Cottage Life

Cottage Life’s Winter issue is all about how Canadians do the cold season. Meet a family that embraces the best of winter fun, with polar bear dips, hot tubs, and all-day shinny. Try our weekend meal plans designed for when the water’s off. Get intel from our workshop to help you thrive in the cold: an outhouse seat hack, tips to keep your pipes flowing in winter, a snowmobile spark plug troubleshooting guide, a firewood-cutting primer, and a bookshelf project that gives your old wooden toboggan new life. Plus, we deliver the inside scoop on new appliances for off-grid living. And, it’s the moment we wait for all year, when we get to show you the stunning collection of winning shots from our annual photo contest, along with the funniest pics you sent in. Lastly, Cottage Life turns 30 this year. Celebrate with us as we look back at our fondest (and strangest) moments.