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The little ice age..Pozos de nieves..snow wells...

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Offline Clive

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« on: December 28, 2007, 15:19 PM »
Hi all...

Taking the subject of the "Pozos de nieves" or snow wells from Sue's Christmas day walk post a bit further...
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,1044.0.html

Noting Sue's date of 1635 for the first ones being used in the Sierra de Grazalema this coincides nicely with the years known as "the little ice age"

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In many years, snowfall was much heavier than recorded before or since, and the snow lay on the ground for many months longer than it does today. Many springs and summers were outstandingly cold and wet, although there was great variability between years and groups of years. Crop practices throughout Europe had to be altered to adapt to the shortened, less reliable growing season, and there were many years of death and famine (such as the Great Famine of 1315-1317, although this may have been before the LIA proper). Viticulture entirely disappeared from some northern regions. Violent storms caused massive flooding and loss of life. Some of these resulted in permanent losses of large tracts of land from the Danish, German, and Dutch coasts.

Wikipedia has an indepth explanation of the little ice age
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Ice_Age

It makes sense that people would have used this "free" product from the mountains during this time... And even more sense why the change was made to electric powered ice making factories... Ease of manufacturing and less transport coupled with naturally reducing snow amounts as the little ice age changed to a warmer climate...

I would be interested to hear any dates and info for the first snow wells in other parts of Iberia...

Plus any other "little ice age" info... For example has the Guadalquivir ever frozen over like the Thames in London used to during these years? What about the Ebro and Duero/Douro

What happened to the vineyards and orange groves?

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In China, warm weather crops, such as oranges, were abandoned in Jiangxi Province, where they had been grown for centuries

It certainly sounds like an incredibly hard existence....

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The Little Ice Age by anthropology professor Brian Fagan of the University of California at Santa Barbara, tells of the plight of European peasants during the 1300 to 1850 chill: famines, hypothermia, bread riots, and the rise of despotic leaders brutalizing an increasingly dispirited peasantry. In the late 17th century, writes Fagan, agriculture had dropped off so dramatically that "Alpine villagers lived on bread made from ground nutshells mixed with barley and oat flour." Finland lost perhaps a third of its population to starvation and disease.

Clive
« Last Edit: December 28, 2007, 15:30 PM by Wildside »
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Offline Clive

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« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2007, 18:23 PM »
Oops... Forgot to look in the obvious place..

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Salas and others (Nuestro Porvenir Climático, 2001) mention the Ebro freezing 7 times between 1505 and 1789. In 1788 and again in 1789 the river remained frozen for fifteen days. (Annoyingly, it doesn't mention where, though I think it implies that it occurred near the Mediterranean). The book also notes one of the best documented studies of the Little Ice Age in Spain: the presence of an extensive network of ice stores known varyingly as neveras, pozos de nieve, ventisqueros and glaceres , which were built and maintained between the 16th and 19th centuries along the Eastern Mediterranean, some in areas where it no longer snows even one day. The storage and distribution of ice was a lively business involving whole sections of the rural population.

Quoted from an excellent article at iberianature.com
http://www.iberianature.com/material/iceage.html

:)



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Offline Jill

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« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2007, 22:11 PM »
I'm not sure if this is of any relevance, but there is a very interesting description of ice "harvesting" in North America, in the 1860s, in one of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books: Farmer Boy. (These are children's books, but none the less fascinating for that.)

The description is of people cutting ice from a pond and then storing it in some kind of ice house. Although it took place "over there", it could be that the technique was used in Europe, too. Certainly, the men cutting the ice were French in origin.

I will try to find out more about the dome-shaped stone hut in Cartagena.

Offline steveT

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« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2007, 23:38 PM »
Jill et al,

There are pozos de nieve on the slopes of Puig Mayor ( Mallorca) which is 1500m so these are much lower........I didn't believe it when I was told what they were. I understand that when it snowed these were filled with snow by hand, compacted, and then covered with branches/plants/material and brought down later in the year as blocks of ice. Ironically it snowed in the winter of 92 when I was there and you could imagine this happening, in winters that were just slightly colder in the past.

steveT

Offline SueMac

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« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2007, 10:01 AM »
Hi
This is a seriously interesting article in its English translated form of the pozos de nieve on Sierra de Espuna with excellent photos.  Jill you could see these as they really are comparatively near to you albeit very high
SueMac


http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.totana.com/cgi-bin/pozos.asp&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=3&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3DSierra%2Bde%2BEspuna%2Band%2Bpozos%2Bde%2Bnieve%26hl%3Den%26rls%3Dcom.microsoft:en-US
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Offline Technopat

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« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2007, 10:46 AM »
Greetings SueMac,
Many thanx for that google translation lonk - the most interesting online translation service Technopat has seen to date (the function which lets you read the original sentence by hovering the cursor over the translated bit is of especial interest).

For those of us you who prefer the unadulterated stuff, here's the orig. en cristiano:

http://www.totana.com/cgi-bin/pozos.asp

Another-worryingly-warm-morn.-in-Madrid regs.,
Technopat
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266

Simon

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« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2007, 19:51 PM »
Hi All,

Following on from Clive and Sue's lovely Christmas day post and on to talk of ice caves, little ice ages, etc. I'm sure it wasn't me who posted anything about ice caves. However, I think we must have talked about it during the Tarragona Summit when Mrs Simon and Nick had their own geographer's fringe event. The issue was that in Guyana they use ice for refrigeration as the electricity supply is totally useless. The point was about 'travellers', i.e. goofy western backpackers, making a big deal about not having ice with their drinks whereas in fact the ice is made by condensing water out of the humid air, so is about as pure as you can get. If you don't have a bowl of ice served up with your beer it starts to froth up like dry ice in a Hammer horror movie! (does anyone out there (Dave, Teeps) remember Fenella Fielding 'smoking' in a Carry-on film? Oooooh!)

Back to ice caves (a good thing too I hear you cry); I'm not sure that the concept of refrigeration, as in food conservation as opposed to very short term storage, existed before the nineteenth century at least as nobody would have understood the behaviour of bacteria. As usual I'm completely wooly on this but I think that Lister had something to say on the subject, by my encyclopaedia only refers to his development of the microscope - over to you experts! But otherwise food, especially fish, was salted or dried, the latter requiring cold, dry  mountain environments then as now, hence the 'jamon' from Teruel (coldest place this side of Siberia!) is still the best!

I know that there are loads of ice house in the LOG, many of which were/are follies and some are available as holiday rentals through the Landmark Trust. On the subject of climate change and the 'little' ice age; many Pyrenean  'bordas' i.e. 'corrals for use in summer were actual 12/12 villages until about the end of the XIv century, even having productive vineyards, etc. Our area, the Conca de Tremp, developed a considerable economy from about the XVI century onwards producing wine for the higher mountain communities after their indigenous production literally dried up. I'm not into global warmig denial, don't get me wrong, but it just goes to show that there's nothing new . . .

Regds

Simon

Offline Dave

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« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2007, 20:18 PM »
Hi Simon
I think the Carry On film you are referring to was `Carry on Screaming´ a spoof of the Hammer horror films with the wonderful Harry H Corbett of Steptoe fame as well as Jim Dale and Fenella Fielding alongside some of the Carry on regulars. Kenneth Williams shouting, `Frying tonight´ as someone was pushed/fell into a vat of Acid.
regards
Dave K

Simon

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« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2007, 21:32 PM »
Got it in one Dave, I knew I could rely on you! Jim Dale's son, Murray, was at Sussex University with me - fame at last! Harry H. was great wasn't he, another sad early loss, like Leonard Rossiter and far to mant more . . .

Bye the way, I've recently 'discovered' Morcilla de Martos (Jaen), your nexk of the woods nearly, do you knwo it?

Happy New Year

Siomn

Offline Technopat

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« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2008, 16:07 PM »
Greetings All,
Just to add of my own to the memory of the loss of such greats (Harry H., Rossiter, Barker, etc. - when you reach my age, they become too many to mention individually, but nostalgia won't get us anywhere - and I know that las comparaciones son odiosas (En. anyone?), but for any of you wishing to get a deeper insight into Spain's recent history, I dare you to sit through more than one viewing of Paco Martínez Soria and Gracita Morales and Alfredo Landa and ... Oh, Darwin! the list is endless ...)

Right! Down to the nitty-gritty: Father-in-law (grew up in a wholesale fishmongering family in post-war Málaga - he's in his mid-70s) says that in his living memory the ice came from industrial fábricas de hielo - powered by electricity - which produced blocks of ice, which were then flaked for the crates of fish. And before then, he said the fish was dried, salted, etc. Fresh fish unavailable other than in seaside areas. He had no knowledge whatsoever of the existence of pozos de hielo.

Regs.,
Technopat
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266

Offline steveT

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« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2008, 19:54 PM »
Dear TP,

I think these pozos go back to pre-electricity.....were'nt most of these fabrica de hielo and luz ( tiny HEP stations) etc built in the 40s? The pozos I saw on Puig Mayor Mallorca, would only have been only big enough for small scale consumption ie for the rich and high value usage.

Happy New Year

steveT



Offline Clive

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« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2008, 20:08 PM »
Well they certainly weren't powered by Electricity in 1635 in the Sierra de Grazalema. The same dates are mentioned in the links that SueMac posted for the Sierra de Espuña

The Electric powered ice houses down on the costas must have been an attempt to cut labour and transport costs and also a "wonderful new technology" to take over from the hard labour it must have been to collect the snow in the winter months at 1500-2000 metres of altitude.

I see Simon and Tp's point about dried and salted fish but I am not convinced that this incredibly labour intensive work was done just to put an ice cube in a drink or to make an ice cream colder... Especially not in the 1600's...

I spoke to my friend from Grazalema yesterday and he says that there isn't anyone left alive who worked the snow wells on the mountain above the village...

So what exactly was the ice used for? ???

Clive
« Last Edit: January 02, 2008, 20:17 PM by Wildside »
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Offline Technopat

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« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2008, 21:24 PM »
New Year's Greetings All,

Love steveT's
Quote
high value usage
- the mind boggles, but will incorporate it into my own usage ...  :dancing:

Re. Clive's
Quote
So what exactly was the ice used for?
the answer is pretty obvious  :technodevil: : artificial snow for a failed ski resort in the Sierras de Grazalema and de Espuña (so they've decided to try a bit further north at San Glorio). Climate change has a lot to answer for ...

SueMac / Nick's original article on the pozos at Totana:
Quote
Hace más de 70 años que cesó la actividad en estos pozos y alrededor de siglo y medio que comenzó su declive ante la "llegada" del frío industrial.
- roughly:
Quote
Activity for these wells ceased over 70 years ago and their decline started around 150 years ago with the arrival of industrial refrigeration/cooling*.

*the asterisk is mine - could there be something to follow up here or is it a red herring (salted, smoked or frozen)

It's true that my father-in-law's reference (Málaga - "big" coastal capital with over 238,000 inhabitants in 1940 -  Sp. Wikipedia) to industrial refrigeration/cooling - which coincides neatly with steveT's and others' references would not be the case for poorer (?) regions/areas further inland where such high tech. would have been unnecessarily costly. So could the pozos up in the mountains have been for locally caught river trout, etc. and for transporting same down from the mountains?

Regs.,
Technopat

PS.
Talking 'bout red herrings - any way of finding a common denominator here for the Great iberianatureforum Marmelade Mystery? Or is my time at 'ere at iberianatureforum getting me too accustomed to conspiracy theories ... :-\
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266

Offline nick

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« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2008, 10:58 AM »
The Grazalema ice could well have been transported to the nearest town. Barcelona for instance was supplied by ice from Montseny where I believe it represented a useful additional source of income for many families. It began in the 1650s.

"Per la documentació que es conserva, sembla ser que es va iniciar a mitjans del segle XVI, va tenir un període d'esplendor als segles XVII i XVIII i lògicament va acabar a finals del XIX amb l'arribada de les industries de gel artificial."


http://www.montsenyrural.net/pous_de_glac.htm
« Last Edit: January 03, 2008, 11:02 AM by nick »
Nick
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Offline Technopat

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« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2008, 14:04 PM »
Greetings Nick,
Thanx for that - interesting bit here
Quote
La neu es feia servir a l'estiu per la conservació d'aliments, del peix a les llotges dels pobles mariners, per combatre la febre, com anestèsic, per les cremades, per aturar hemorràgies, com refrescant de begudes i per fabricar gelats.
- which apart from the obvious food and drink uses, adds the medical uses of ice, of which I had no idea.
Regs.,
Technopat
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266

Offline Clive

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« Reply #15 on: January 03, 2008, 14:10 PM »
Apart from weird mentions like.. "It was used for food" or "medicinal" I cannot find one concrete piece of information to tell me exactly what the ice in 1600 was being collected and used for...(here in Grazalema)

And now I find an even more exasperating comment at
http://andalucianatural.com/sierra-de-las-nieves.html

"En la época musulmana se recogía la nieve en pozos y después se transportaba a toda Andalucía."

So now we have to go back pre 1400's and find out what the Muslims were collecting and transporting ice for across the whole of Andalucia..


Clive

« Last Edit: January 03, 2008, 14:11 PM by Wildside »
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Offline Technopat

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« Reply #16 on: January 03, 2008, 14:24 PM »
Aaaaghhhh!  :banghead:
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266

Offline Technopat

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« Reply #17 on: January 03, 2008, 14:25 PM »
PS.
Looking on the bright side, however, for want of more specific info., it all adds weight to my conspiracy theory  :technodevil:
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266

Offline SueMac

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« Reply #18 on: January 03, 2008, 15:50 PM »
This use of ice has really been exercising my mind as I lived in Schloss Schwoebber in 1970 (A Baron von Munchausen schloss) and I am not telling tall stories.  There was an "English Park" attached and within this park there was an ice house which I talked about with the family.  I sort of remember her saying it hadnt been used that century and I am pretty sure they used it as a culinary delight ie making ice cream but it is a very long time ago.
However discussing this with my cousin she pointed out that in Elizabeth Gaskell's Cranford being portrayed on BBC1 currently there is a scene when the doctor with modern ideas asks them to get ice and smash it up and they pack it round the sick young woman to bring her temperature down.  As the script writers have taken licence with the original book I cant find a reference for more detail. But its a start..... a ps to this is that as I was looking for the ice reference in Gaskell I found a reference to "Baron Munchausen" in relation to Miss Matty's brother Peter.

SueMac
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Offline SueMac

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« Reply #19 on: January 03, 2008, 16:21 PM »
Following this thought I dsicovered  with google this advert in 1856 advert in New York Times:
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9401E7DB133DE034BC4A52DFB266838D649FDE.
I am still thinking about the history of ice cream  which of course has a great spanish following.
SueMac
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