Standing on the boat launch at Jordan Pond and looking up the left shore there is a cove indented into the shoreline, still called Ice Cove to this day by the locals. Jordan Pond is located in Seal Harbor, and nestled within Acadia National Park. Jordan Pond has some interesting geology, largely formed during the Wisconsin Ice sheet about 14,000 years ago. Standing at The Jordan Pond House and looking out over the pond you can see the scouring effects the glacier had on the rounded profile of The Bubbles, and on South Bubble is the famous glacial erratic rock (Bubble Rock) that was left behind.
The Jordan Pond House is on a glacial moraine, comprised of till that was deposited by the melting glacier, and essentially creating a dam for the lake. In the years before refrigeration, ice was harvested from local ponds stored in ice houses, and delivered to townsfolk who used them in what was known as an ice box. An ice box was as simple as it sounds, a well insulated box where you stored your perishable food, along with a block of ice. You can see pictures and see more about ice boxes here. My Grandfather never stopped calling it an ice box, even after they had a modern refrigerator. In Seal Harbor, ice was harvested from ice cove, up until about the mid 1940’s. When you think about it, that really wasn’t that long ago. My parents remember the ice harvest on Jordan Pond, and you can see a video of it here.
While it may require a little bit of effort, living off the grid you can utilize the same simple technology that our forebears used to keep food cold. There are some very simple directions on how to build a basic ice house here. Properly insulated with straw and sawdust, ice can last the summer and even in to the following winter. If you’re willing to put in the effort, it can save you a lot on the utility bills and the cost of a refrigeration unit. Details on how to harvest ice can be seen in the video below. They are using mechanized equipment, for personal use I suspect with some diligent searching and old hand ice saw could probably be procured, especially here in Maine, and of course with a rip chain a chainsaw would do the work just fine.