Winter weekend runs hot and cold
People find it cool to harvest ice blocks with goal of making ice cream in August
Brad Compton uses a vintage saw to harvest ice from Moores Pond in Warwick o be packed in sawdust and stored for summers ice cream making
A crowd of people gather around the ice as it is harvested at Moores Pond in Warwick to be stored in sawdust to be used for icecream making this summer
Madison Nowakowski, 5, of Springfield, dances at right during the WinkclePicker Kids Mardi Gras Bal on Saturday at the Ashfield Town Hall . The band Primate Fiasco played a lively set of kids music to get the crowd on their feet.
WARWICK — Ice cutters Sunday mined the frozen surface of Moore’s Pond for the second time in about half a century, banking cold for a second attempt at ice cream made from scratch the old fashioned way.
Warwick turned 250 last weekend and pre-refrigeration ice cream is on the menu for the annual Old Home Days celebration in August.
If it survives, the ice will be chipped with an assortment of specialized hatchets and hammers, fed between the spiked rollers of crank-operated crushers and packed into antique ice cream makers pulled from closets and cupboards around town.
Last year’s dry run for the town’s extended anniversary celebration yielded only damp sawdust, the ice blocks having melted into the primitive insulation during a hot summer.
“My nephew was so disappointed; 12 years old and he just knew we were going to have ice, but it wasn’t to be,” said Warwick resident Pat Shepardson, watching as neighbors took turns at the two ice saws.
After an ambitious initial approach showed signs it might end with the ice-cutters in the freezing pond, the plan was modified by general consensus to cutting and remove one block at a time.
Kathy Connelly, chairman of the Moore’s Pond Beach Committee, said she had heard recently from ice fishing enthusiasts that the pond had frozen to a depth of about a foot, and the day’s haul did not disappoint.
The blocks measured between 10 and 11.5 inches thick.
“I think it was only eight last year, and half of it might have been snow-ice,” said David Shepardson.
David Shepardson supervised the loading of what he believes was once an ox cart, now minus its front wheels and drawn by a 1960s-era tractor.
Dragged from the quarry with tongs and manhandled up the bank on a plank slide and into the cart, the blocks made the short ride to David Shepardson’s neighboring backyard.
Shepardson said he hopes for better results this year with the blocks stacked ice-to-ice, rather than layered with sawdust, then covered in sawdust and a painter’s drop-cloth inside the plywood enclosure.
Connelly said the idea for the anachronistic ice cream came from the Beach Committee and the Historical Society, between which David Shepardson is a common link and provided some of the antique ice implements.
The Shepardson family was well-represented at the event, which drew a little over 20 at the 1 p.m. start with a steady trickle of fresh spectators and participants over the next hour.
Lynn Gresock, one of David Shepardson’s grown daughters and visiting from Groton, grew up with some of the old tools back in operation Sunday.
“It’s nice to hang onto the old tools, but sometimes you wonder why and it’s nice to see them in use,” said Gresock.
Beverly Farley, 73, David Shepardson’s sister, said her grandparents cut ice from the pond before electricity made its late arrival in the area when she was 12 or 13 years old.
“My grandfather had an ice house and I can remember bringing it in and putting it in his refrigerator, well, his ice box, when I was a kid,” Farley said. Farley said her family would make ice cream for Thanksgiving with the last of the ice.
With Old Home Days set for August, the 27 24-by-18-inch slabs won’t have to last that long, but if they do not, the show will go on.
Connelly jokes the ice will be there even if she has to fill the storage hut with ice chips herself the night before.
You can reach Chris Curtis at:
or 413-772-0261, ext. 257