Notes from Windward: #69


Harvesting Potatoes


     I am continually amazed by how the body responds to the changing of the seasons when our lives are less cluttered by the expectations of a culture directed by the steady hands of a clock. The sun now rises over the horizon of the plateau after 7am and the first stars are visible in the night sky by 7:30pm, with the days growing noticeably shorter every day. My body follows suit.

the potato patch back in June

     While I am up every morning to watch the horizon perform its morning dance of colors on clouds, my body relishes in the extra darkness, the longer rest, the slower dawn. A far cry from the 4am sunrises and 10pm sunsets in June and the whirlwind of energy and activity that comes with it. It is not just the day length that triggers these responses, but the temperature, the smells, the moisture, our daily activities.

openning up the hills

     Katie came up for a visit this past weekend and we decided it would be a great opportunity to harvest the potatoes. The potato harvest in many ways signals the end of the summer growing season--it means the rains have come and the moisture seeping into the ground has begun to compromise the earth's ability to serve as a good storage container and if the rains are here, then the cold is not too far off. So, Sarah, Katie and I spent an afternoon with our hands in the dirt digging up the potatoes that we co-created with the sun and the soil over the past 5 months.

Katie gathers in the bounty

     The harvest is a time of excitement and celebration for the bounty, reflection of the past growing season, as well as preparation for the coming winter months. Since we prepared the potato beds by hand this spring, rather than using the rototiller, we were able to plant the potatoes about 2 weeks earlier than the ground moisture would have allowed if using heavier equipment.

     This earlier planting, along with a moist spring, allowed the potato patch to prosper without much help from the irrigation tubes before the plants died back. So with much surprise, satisfaction and joy we dug up potatoes larger than the size of an adult fist, that are now stored on the potato racks behind the kitchen. We will be experimenting with some other storage possibilities this winter, but more on that to come.

the baby reds aren't babbies anymore

Notes From Windward - Index - Vol. 69