Monday, February 6, 2012

Get Those Roots in the Ground Where they Belong!

The taste of money proved tastier than that of potatoes during the last few markets of the season. I ended up selling more than I should have of these delicious tubers as well as onions, beets and the like.
Now I'm faced with the task of making these precious few bushels of potatoes, onions and beets last as long as they can.

Standing shovel in hand, looking at a landscape of rocky outcrops and whitepines I plunge the spade into the sweetfern and wintergreen covered duff layer. To my surprise it's easy digging. Fluffy and sandy this ancient riverbank proves to be.

I dig a hole 4 feet long, 2 feet wide and 5 feet deep in under 2 hours. The
next day I utilize odd bits of 1x2's and plywood to build a simple wooden box complete with hinges and a pull handle made of cord.
I lower it into the hole as one might a casket, slowly and methodically.

The space between the box and the perimeter of the hole I stuff straw, top with soil and then layer the bottom of the inside of the box with sawdust- 1 inch thick.

Besides potatoes and onions I pack a cardboard box with tomato sauce, salsa, pickles, canned salmon and various other canned goods that I don't want to freeze. I figure if this is supposed to keep the potatoes from freezing then it should keep everything from freezing, right?

I top it all with more straw (about 6 inches) , stuff straw around the goods inside and close the lid. I pile more straw on top (about 1.5 feet), cover that with a tarp, weighed down on all sides.

Now all I can do is wait. Wait and hope that this is going to be enough to keep the frost from piercing my precious spuds. Until next time!

Next time is December 27th. We hauled less food in knowing that buried beneath the ground was a treasure chest full of gold, yukon gold that is.
I unearth the box once my craving for salsa gets the best of me.

I feel very satisfied and a little wonderstruck as I pluck potatoes, onions and salsa from the box in the same condition as when I put them in. Hip hip, salsa and chips!
(significant warming occurred overnight)

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