tea time

Hello. Grab a cup of tea and join us for our Saturday discussion, “tea time”. We would love to hear from you, too. If you have something to contribute to this conversation, please leave a comment below. Enjoy.

Cher is thinking about…

Storage. Autumn is just around the corner, and this little snippet of cooler weather that we’re enjoying right now is a fabulous reminder. We are beginning to harvest storage crops from the garden. Onions and potatoes came out last week. Tomatoes are piling up, awaiting the knife and the canner. The pantry shelves are beginning to fill, jars seeming to pile up everywhere. My minimalist self often frets about where to tuck it all away in our tiny house, you know, so that there is still room for the humans…IMG_3663

Over the years, we have had to come up with some pretty creative solutions to storing all of the bounty in our tiny house and make-shift cellar, to keep it all safe from old man winter. I’ve spent many a winter sharing a bedroom with butternut squash. We’ve filled our cabin’s loft with hundreds of pounds of sweet potatoes. (Eric just corrected me here. It was thousands of pounds. 100 baskets x 25 lbs. each = 2500 lbs. I’m not sure what we were thinking. And I’m not sure how we pulled that off without our house collapsing. Oh my.) The past few winters, since they have been on the mild side, we’ve been able to store the sweet potatoes in our greenhouse, piled around the black-painted barrels for warmth, and then covered with blankets. (This way the kiddos can actually use their craft table that lives in the loft.) Potatoes are fine in the cellar, unless the weather turns too cold, and then they get crammed under the kid’s beds and piled in the bathroom. Ginger, too, finds it’s place… A basket here, a basket there.

I know we all live in small spaces. I know that our homes also serve as our offices and homeschools, and can’t be completely overrun with food storage. What creative solutions have you ladies come up with for the blessing of bounty from the garden?

How do you squirrels, I mean ladies, do it? xo cher

Coree has to laugh…

thinking about the time, just a few weeks before Lulah was born, when we were curing sweet potatoes ALL OVER the upstairs floor, and drying our peanuts ALL OVER the downstairs floor, and those were the only two rooms in the house.

It is amazing how we cram it all in.  When we first moved here, there was nothing resembling a closet here.  We tried storing everything in the crawl space under the house, but it was too damp for squash and sweet potatoes, and inconvenient for jars.  We invested in a big set of industrial strength shelves and stacked it all together in a corner for awhile, but we soon outgrew that system.  Now we finally have a bona fied closet with big, deep pantry type shelves that hold all the canned goods.  Sweet relief.  The squashes and sweet potatoes still end up living in baskets all over the place and we have yet to find anything like a good solution for our onions (what works for you ladies?).  Potatoes go down under the house with a thick blanket over them.  We’re grateful for my mother’s house in town and the use of a nice freezer there for some extra beans and corn.  Dry beans and field corn get stashed in tight sealed buckets on the porch, in lieu of patio furniture.  Want to enjoy the view?  Pull up a bucket!

It’s not a perfect system, and we will never do a tour of homes – especially in Fall and Winter, but the sweet potatoes can’t be beat.

Bountiful harvest, friends!  love, coree

oh my goodness, i literally tripped over our friday’s harvest bins that line the hallway of my house to get to the computer to read this. Robin here, with a hearty laugh. our history of food storage is as long as the history of our lives here on the farm. in the early years when the only winter warmth came from the set of woodstoves in our 2 room home (lovingly called the shack), everything was in those rooms. the canned goods under the bed, the storage vegetables in each corner. there were so many folks that worried about their pipes freezing if temperatures dropped, we worried about our quarts of tomatoes for running water wasn’t part of our lives back then. now, we have some indoor storage! in the earthen protection of our current residence, our canned goods are safe and sound in a deep pantry. storage crops line the walls of the laundry room, the kitchen, the back room, everywhere but our bedroom. in this phase of farm life, our sleeping quarters remain free of bushel baskets. we have high hopes for a cellar, but it is currently a hole in the earth. a step in the right direction i know, but still far from completion. i had every intention of including a photo here, but alas my living/dining space is buried in cut flowers, fresh herbs, peppers and tomatoes, so i just can’t get my hands on the darn camera! you will have to use your imaginations.

3 thoughts on “tea time

  1. We have, so far, not had a good to store root cellar crops. We have a largish pantry with a great canning shelves, but the pantry is melting into the ground. We hope to rebuild it by fall, and if we get that done we may also build on a “super cool” room (possibly with straw bale construction) in the shady corner between the pantry and the rear of the house. That would mark the first good storage spot ever for our family. Last year we simply kept the winter squashes and sweet potatoes in our living room which is a bit cooler than the kitchen (definitely not a good solution, but it worked that time.) We are also thinking about some “barrel cellars” if we can’t get the cool room built. There are so many options, but all of them take time, the one thing we don’t have much of with all these tomatoes flooding in!

    • Thanks,Barb… the straw bale cool room sounds awesome. I think that straw bale construction would lend itself nicely to the proper storage of squashes and sweet potatoes. Let me know when you’re in the building mood, and I’ll come help!

  2. Coree, for years Cher and I diligently allowed our onions to dry well in the field, harvested them in a timely fashion, and stored them spread out in our barn down in the hollow only to watch almost every one rot. Finally, we discovered that spreading them out in our greenhouse on the hill on screened tables they dry down really well (2-3 weeks maybe) and will store very well right there in the same greenhouse. Once the skins are crispy dry and shrunken thin we rip off any excess top and store in baskets under the tables. They stay there until about December when we’ll bring any remaining down to our dry cellar where they often will keep until March warmth. It’s astonishing how they don’t seem to mind at all how incredibly hot it gets in the greenhouse. I do prop up the plastic on the sides of the greenhouse for maximum ventilation but it still goes over 100 degrees in there.

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