Typically, when Patrick Finnegan is joined by the Hika twins, age 12, and the Pratt twins, age 13, the day is one of leisure.
Finnegan serves as the adult supervisor for the four girls who lounge around the Round Lake Aqua Sport and Boat Club on Little Round Lake.
The girls swim, fish off a floating raft or take out a canoe and paddle around, but earlier this month they found themselves digging out a piece of history that had been buried underground for decades.
I was mowing the lawn and hit a tiny corner of it, said Finnegan. "I dug out a little bit and it looked like an axe head."
The following day Finnegan returned to with Sasha and CayLee Hika and Catie and Alley Pratt. Using whatever was available -- screwdrivers, spoons, a crowbar and rocks -- the foursome dug for hours.
"We used our hands a lot," said Sasha Hika. "We thought it was an axe. It took forever."
After days of digging and unearthing most of what looked to be a steel paddle, Finnegan used his Subaru to pull the piece completely out of the ground. Finnegan, who admits he did not know what it was, believes they found an ice-harvesting tool. Found next to a tree, Finnegan believes the tool grew up with tree.
Noting that the club has owned the property since 1960, Finnegan said that documentation about previous owners is sketchy. Adjacent property owner, Joan Sweeney, remembers that two icehouses were on the property where the club now stands.
"I'm sure they'll find more there," said Sweeney. She believes other items may be discovered since at least one of the buildings was in such disrepair it eventually just fell down. Sweeney believes sediment and vegetation just grew over the buildings' remnants. She recalls that the buildings had elevators and conveyer belts to assist with the movement of the blocks of ice that were cut from Little Round Lake.