A DAY ON THE ICE-FIELD Page 3
from Demorest's Family Magazine July, 1894
__Now come the plows. They look like a sort of compound agricultural plow. Into a long, heavy beam are set eight separate blades, or shares, each notched at the bottom. Every plow is drawn by a single horse, and guided by ordinary plow-handles. The blades are set in the grooves made by the markers, and the plowing begins. Is it not a curious sight? See how the particles of ice spout up before the rending blades, like fountains of many-hued jewels blown gracefully before the wind. The surface upon which we stand trembles beneath our feet with a dull, continuous, jarring sound.
__The whole square has now been plowed into checkers, each space representing a cake. The next stage is "breaking out". Let us go closer to observe the details.
__"Shall we not be in the way?"
__"No," responds the foreman, and "No," say the good-natured, smiling faces of these robust fellows. How is it that laboring or living out-of-doors always seems to make human nature more kindly and genial? - I believe better in every way.
So we stand near by and watch these men handle their saws, ice-forks, - heavy, long-tined tridents, - ice hooks, and ice-spades. When a single cake has been broken out, the saw-men begin along the plowed lines, the curious, double-handled saw-blades sliding through the solid substance with marvelous rapidity. When the ice is very thick the whole cake need not be sawed out; the forks and spades applied to the plowed grooves will cleave it away with perfect accuracy.
__The ice is cut away in such a fashion that a long, narrow canal of open water is made, connecting with a water-way always kept free to the shore. As fast as the cakes are severed, men with long-handled hooks seize them and float them down the canal. Let us follow one of these cakes upon its journey.