Ludlow's Lesson #3: Life on the Lake
Let's begin where we left off last month. Hod had made himself a small living area in which to spend the winter. After he'd been there for a while he found himself increasingly lonesome. In addition to a puppy he named Stinky, Hod invited his friend Leon Polley to come stay. Hod and Leon had met while Hod's family was living in Sibley, IA and became friends after joining the Boy Scouts together.
Daily chores took up quite a lot of their time. Their first order of business was to get wood cut for the winter. Hod and Leon used their two-man saw to cut firewood to stove-lengths to heat their stove for the winter. When they finished their own stock-piling, they started to help the neighbors. Luckily, Max Trezinsky, owner of Max's Store and what would become Polley's Resort, owned an electric saw. Thus, they were able to cut wood for the neighbors much more easily.
Once the lake had frozen sufficiently, the next order of business was cutting ice and filling all of the icehouses in the area. Icehouses were buildings used before modern refrigeration to store ice throughout the year. Ice was removed from the lake in large blocks, then covered on all sides by sawdust to insulate and slow melting, and also to stop the blocks from sticking together. Some icehouses took several days to fill, and another was located far enough from the lake to require a team of horses and a wagon to move the blocks of ice. Many icehouses can still be seen on Lake Vermilion, now most often used for storage or renovated for recreational use.
When it came time for doing laundry, a hole was chopped in the lake to get water for the wash tub. Hod and Leon would put all of their clothes in and use Rinso as their detergent. Good old-fashioned stomping was their "spin" cycle. If they made the mistake of putting the washtub on the floor at night, it would be frozen in the morning and need to be reheated on the stovetop. Hod said in a matter of a few weeks all of their clothes had turned a dull purple due to a pair of socks bleeding in the tub!
Next lesson Hod and Leon's adventures will continue!