Our ice house has been in my husband’s family as long as I have known him. Over the years he introduced a succession of grandkids to hauling that house onto the ice and to ice fishing. “Grandfather,” we would hear as ice was made, “When are we putting out the tent?” Maine requires every shack to display the name and phone number of the owner, and it was a ritual and honor to paint one of his grandson’s names on the green door each year.
These boys are grown now, and what prompted my husband to put on the name of his eldest grandson I am not sure. Nostalgia, a desire to connect, habit–whatever it was, it was not to cause trouble.
This year’s icehouse saga has just been a series of unfortunate events. We got the shack to pond’s edge, but a storm was coming and we did not put it out. Authorities wondered why the shack was on the shore, and who did they call? Not us. They called the number of the number one grandson on the door.
As they watched the ice swallow the tent they asked what the plans were for getting it out. But they weren’t asking us.
The day we gathered and chipped and pried, this grandson was there working harder and faster than anyone. The house stayed stuck. We had great ideas for getting it off from blog readers, friends and family.
None of them were the solution. As the tent sank deeper into the ice, my husband’s grandson finally got tired of fielding all of the how and when questions.
On April first I came home from work, ready to discuss ice winches, pontoons and 55-gallon drums. “Oh, it’s off,” he said, and asked if I had seen his glasses. “WHAT,” I asked, “how did that happen?”
I wanted details, descriptions, and photos.
“Oh, he got a bunch of guys together and they got it out.” This was not satisfactory. I wanted to see it come out, be a part of it. I wanted to analyze and plan and calculate the best method of removal.
We had been working on this for weeks. In the end, it was manpower and determination that did the trick. The ice had never refrozen the auger holes we’d drilled around the shack and half a dozen fit-and-fierce fellows put in the pry bars, hove-to, and refused to let go until it was out.
Against all odds our little house was towed safely off the pond, and by the April first state deadline. That darn tent was still putting up a fight, though. The piles of snow on the boat landing were higher than they had been when we put the house out, and were now too steep to pull the house over. So there it sat, nudged to the side of the access road. This is town right-of-way, and the town was sure to call to find out why. But, they won’t be calling us.
It’s only a momentary setback. A bit of shoveling and home she will come. I hope. This shack has led us quite a dance this winter, and does not want to be put into storage quite yet. If tents can smile, this one is.