Frost Free

The extended forecast for next winter: fear and shivering. The Governor of Maine worries that a “dangerous” winter is shaping up. Across the north country, the media echoes official predictions that it’s going to be a killer season because of high fuel costs and a crumbling economy. Fearful of cash strapped citizens forced to choose between starving or freezing, high latitude states are setting up emergency fuel funds and food banks. (Throw on some lobster shells with the fire wood, Jenny!)

Steady now, folks. I know a lot of you weren’t paying attention in the Seventies, especially if you weren’t born yet. So here’s a chance to make up for lost btu’s and then celebrate by making your own energy free ice cream, as soon as it snows anyway.

This is how my energy conserving, money saving plan works. When it starts to get cold outside, about the time  you begin worrying about slipping on those icy steps, give your refrigerator plug a yank. The quiet may take a little getting used to, but if you have trouble going cold turkey, crank up “The Sounds of Silence” for the first few days and  get used to it. Don’t worry, the Indians did it and if you’ve been to a casino lately you’ll see it didn’t hurt them a bit.

You’re probably wondering, what about my Nature’s Spread? The free range eggs?

Find yourself a nice big pot that fits on the bottom shelf. Fill it with water and put it outside overnight. In the morning you’ll have a big block of ice in a convenient container to bring inside and slide into your steampunk ice box. You’ve changed your electric powered freon dependent energy hog into a planet friendly nature powered cooler. A cool cooler.

I suggest using a couple of pots so you can exchange them when the cooler needs a recharge. I find that one ice pot will usually last all day, and in the morning you’ll have a tub of slush to switch with your new ice. Forget the iceman cometh, the iceman is you!

Now it is a fact that this system will not run a freezer, so don’t think twice about smoking that Thanksgiving gobbler. But I promise you that once winter really kicks in, an outdoor box on the north side of the house should keep frozen food frozen. Lock it if you’ve got bears. After a while you’ll wonder why you spent so many years running a refrigerator in a warm house all winter long, when the whole world’s an ice box.

As for that ice cream, if you can crank an emergency radio, you can crank an ice cream making bucket.

And by now you know where to get the ice.

TIM MATSON’s updated new book is The Book of Non-Electric Lighting: The Classic Guide to the Safe Use of Candles, Fuel Lamps, Lanterns, Gaslights & Fireview Stoves. Countryman Press, Woodstock, Vermont.






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