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Keeping Cool: People and Food by P.J.

I’m writing from the Mid-West – the sea of corn (mostly) and other grains. As of this writing we are getting some relief from the humidity. “Hearsay” says corn is a guilty culprit for contributing to our high humidity. Corn is in high demand for purposes of food and fuel. Besides corn syrup, a byproduct is humidity, and perhaps, rain – which eventually leads to the subject of this letter – ice. Something that I think will be tremendously missed, is refrigeration – either for food or humans. Having stated the obvious, think of keeping leftovers at a safe temperature, making ice cream, making gelatin set-up, or a cool cloth on a hot forehead or an ice-pack for a medical treatment – or just plain comfort. Even with the air conditioning on, there is a fan trained directly on me.

Oral histories, village histories, biographies, living histories, and diaries are all good sources for knowledge of sustainability. However, systems, germs, allergies, and knowledge keep evolving. Generations have been blessed with new technologies and new products (plastic, thermal coolers, etc.) and new insights.

Before there was electricity – and before refrigeration there was ice – harvested from a local water source – kept in storage – with sawdust!

The following are some random stories heard through the years:

Back to the evolved knowledge. If you do try storing ice in sawdust, use caution on the types of woods and lumber used to create the sawdust. Some woods – or parts of trees and shrubs – may be allergens or even poisonous! This may be a factor in not only the use of the ice, but also if the melted ice water is saved as “gray water” for other uses.

For our preparations for daily use, we plan on placing ice in thermal coolers (type used on camping and picnic trips) to keep foods cool. At the thought of raw pond water ice, think maybe during the coldest months, we will use safe drinking water and make ice for drinks and food and store it in our freezer chest.

Think I will add to the pre-TEOTWAWKI [2] shopping list ice block tongs, ice saw and ice picks. Where is that “To Do” List with the chicken tractor, rabbit hutch. “Hi Honey, can you please pick up lumber and hardware to build an ice house? You know, TEOTWAWKI. Well, do you think we will need ice for next summer or the summer after. “

Thank You, James Wesley Rawles, for your blog site and books – may thousands of lives be saved and life more comfortable from your dedication in recording, editing and maintaining all this survival information!