... Of Surviving the Wilderness
One favourite activity was climbing the gigantic spruce tree from which our swing hung. From there you could view the world for miles around. Unfortunately, my grandmother quickly learned to look for me there and so I had to find other secret places. The icehouse was perfect! It was constructed of logs and I could observe the yard by peering through the cracks without being seen. Of course, my grandmother always knew where I'd been by the sawdust that covered my clothing.
When we first moved in, the upstairs of the house was unfinished - just one large room with open rafters. That was a child's dream! My heart skips a beat now when I think of how we used to crawl on rafters above the stairs, just daring ourselves to fall. I don't recall that we ever did.
We also cross-country skied, rode sleighs down the hills and build igloos out of the snow. We had one road past the farm that usually had six feet high drifts which were frozen hard enough to walk on. Many a day would find us "toasty" warm in our under snow club house.
Winter was filled with many activities. We skated on the dugouts. My uncle made us a blade for clearing snow out of a half sheet of plywood and it wouldn't take long before enough area had been cleared for a make-shift hockey game. Sometimes, we'd have neighborhood skating parties after dark. People would drive their vehicles up to the banks and shine their lights onto the ice. Bonfires were lit and everyone joined in the scrub game - even if they didn't have skates.
Have any of you ever harvested ice? Back during that "simple" time when we had no electricity, it was difficult to keep food in summer. We had an icebox which required ice to be placed in the upper compartment. We gathered our own in mid winter when the ice was a couple of feet thick on the lake. Huge rectangles were cut and hoisted onto the back of the pickup. It was then unloaded in the icehouse and blanketed with mounds of sawdust.