Portage ice castle

The Holden family recently built this ice castle in their yard in Portage.

The Community Valentine Spaghetti Dinner will be held Feb. 12 at 6 p.m. at the LDS church. This a community activity and everyone is invited.

Well it looks like our snowfall has stopped for a while. I would like to thank Mike John for doing such a good job for everyone in our town. I have to give kudos to the Good Samaritans in town that really look out for their neighbors. I know that it is done for a lot of people, not just the Smiths, but I know how thankful we are at our house when one of them pop in. Thank you, thank you to all you Good Samaritans.

Oops — just found out that it might be snowing when you get the paper this week!

The Boy Scouts of America are doing their yearly fund drive, or Friends of Scouting Donations. Fundraising for these scouts brings 6 percent of the expenses for our council. Our scouts came around this week asking for everyone to donate. It really helps our youth here in Portage in their camping experience, which in turn helps our community.

How many of you have had the fun of viewing the Holden’s Ice Castle at their house on 9200 W.? I happened by it one day and was so pleasantly surprised!

I called Emily and she explained to me what is takes to build one. She says that she has done ice sculptures for a lot of years. When they lived in Honeyville they had one every year and had such great fun building them. One year it was especially large and as it grew, it caused a big ice pond out in front of the sculpture . There was quite a large area between her yard and the road, so it was safe.

She said her kids would dress in their winter clothes and boots, climb to the top, and slide down and skate (slip and slide) all over the ice pond. They enjoyed the laughter and fun of watching and playing. Really the highlight of wintertime.

To build an ice castle, they start by putting a 2x4 up in their large tree with a sprinkler attached. Then they gather T-posts around the tree at different heights and formations, and start the sprinkler.

Then the hunt is on to find different and interesting objects around the property that could be used to give unique shapes and sizes to the castle. One item that was quite interesting was an old metal lawn chair that they had and some odd sizes of wood and 2x4. “It is so fascinating to watch what is forming and the shapes it makes as the water falls and freezes! You can add items to it as it grows!” Emily said. As the water flows down the ice castle it forms an ice pond.

They had some special visitors the other day, their 3 1/2-year-old grandson and his dad. He was trying to slide on the pond and his dad kept falling down. He laughed and laughed — he thought it was so funny!

“One of the ways to make ice castles different,” Emily said, “ is to fill water in bottles or jugs with different food coloring in each and spread them around the perimeter, then as the water starts to form into ice it makes it look like there are lights in the ice.”

Emily says she loves doing this and likes to do it every year. Thanks for adding to the community in such beautiful and fun way Emily!

Top winter survival and cold weather tips:

Hypothermia and frostbite are the real dangers. Protect your body heat, keep covered, dress in layers, avoid sweating and stay dry. Remember, snow is an insulator. Avoid eating snow.

Have a safe winter!