Ice Harvest Program
Station Activities

Howell Living History Farm’s ice harvesting program introduces students to circa 1900 food preservation through the use of ice and to winter farm-life in 1900. Howell Farm’s living history approach draws students back to a time period when the principles of preserving food were familiar to most people in America. During the ice harvesting season, Howell Farm invites school groups to help cut and store its ice crop and to relive winter life on a 1900 farm.

Ice Harvesting: Work with farmers on the frozen pond, where volunteers from your group will help to score, cut and float ice. (If there is no ice on the pond, your group will work with commercial ice, just as farmers did in 1900 when winters were mild.)

Ice Storing: Everyone will help when it is time to pull the ice blocks up a wooden track to the icehouse. Blocks are lowered into the icehouse via a chute, and then packed in layers of sawdust for insulation.

Ice Cream Making: Find out why neighbors once called Howell Farm “The Ice Farm” and why ice harvesting was vital to America before electric refrigerators. Volunteers from your group will use ice tongs to carry ice to the icebox (the predecessor of the modern refrigerator). You will learn how to tend to the box by emptying the drip pan and replacing the ice. Volunteers will use a hand-cranked ice chipper to chip ice. Then, using this home grown ice and other products, you
will make a batch of hand-cranked ice cream. Tasting is encouraged!

Winter Farmhouse: Gather among colorful 19th century quilts and learn the importance of quilting as everyone participates in a quilting bee. Learn the origin of the quilt pattern names derived from farm life, such as sawtooth and churndash, as you hear the story of quilting. Everyone will reach into the farm scrapbag to choose their own fabric and then to sew and autograph it before it is sewn into a friendship square for the teacher. While making this square, volunteers from your group will use a flatiron to press the seams.