Moving The Old Ice House

The Ice House history is an interesting one. Before electricity came to the Island during WWII, farmers who milked cows had a dilemma. They had to keep the milk cool before hauling it by horse and buggy or wagon to one of the two Island cheese factories. Our farming predecessors cut lake ice in the winter in big blocks and stored it in the small building, packed with sawdust to keep the milk cold as the ice melted.

The old wool shed at Topsy Farms

When we took over the farm in 1971, the old ice house with its dirt floor was showing its age. It had become just a place to store stuff too good to throw out. Needing a work shop for machine repair, we poured a concrete floor, put new shingles on the roof and outside walls, insulated the walls, put on new doors, installed electric wire and did some painting. This was our farm work shop and, sometimes, candle-making area.

We eventually built a new work shop and the old building became a place to park our ATVs. In the late ‘90s, the shed became a band room for our youngest teenager, housing his buddy’s drum set, a couple of old amps and older couches with ‘decorations’ to match.

The building’s next incarnation was as a retail outlet for our wool blankets and yarn, our first Wool Shed. It did this job well except for flooding during spring thaws or heavy rain. Situated downhill from the laneway, we had to bail it out a few times.

A few years ago, the road in front of the ice house was widened and the municipality bought the building intending to demolish it. Following our ethics of re-cycling and re-using, we had the building moved south to a new concrete slab where it was reborn as our new office and shipping & receiving facility beside our new Wool Shed.

Moving the old wool shed at topsy farms

It is less than perfectly square so the siding had to compensate. Jake says the end boards, bell-bottom shaped, are just a tribute to the former hippie days.

The new wool shed at topsy farms