Oct 29, 2013

"Mighty Joe Banks" 
and his 
"Beautiful Assistant"

 (Get some cookies and a drink...this is a LONG post)

Joe Banks from Cornwall, England and Sara Rivera-Olsson from Göteburg, Sweden

When we are into October on the farm there are  three"W's" that always cause concern.
They are:

         1.  WEATHER  

During the day the temperature will generally hover around zero but at night it is almost always in the minus department. 

Hauling a load of bottled saft to the root cellar.
Nainy and Sara with the last of the beets!

The good news about that  is that we must have lower temperatures in order  to get the root cellar down below 5 degrees.  
That way no mold can grow in there.
In late Autumn we are emptying the last of the root vegetables out of the garden.  
These are the ones that only need to be bagged, braided, or crated such as  potatoes, onions,  carrots, parsnips, beets that are not going to be pickled,  etc. 

On the day we harvested the potatoes it was cold but clear and the "bumper crop" continued as we filled bag after bag.  

Double the normal amount of potatoes!
Parsnips and Carrots in their crates.
The parsnips were beautiful and bountiful as were the carrots - this picture shows only a small fraction of the total yield.

and I say "bountiful" remembering Joe pulling armfuls of them out of the ground. 

Dubbed by the kids, "The Conglomerate Carrot".
Ruby beets destined for the Borscht pot.

and then there were the onions...

We decided to try a new plan and set up the onion drying racks in the small animal barn since it wasn't time yet to bring the heifers and calves in for the winter. You can see the racks on the left side of this picture - there were five layers and we had three different varieties of onions -  white, yellow and red.  The plan was to dry them all on the racks and then braid them down and hang them in the tank room (which wasn't finished yet and consequently had no tanks taking up the space) to see if it would be the right environment for them.

Sara braided the reds,

When they had all dried we chose a rainy day - perfect for the indoor work - got the twine that would be woven in to stabilize each bunch, moved in a work table, and started in:

Joe worked on the whites.

I attacked the yellows,

We had tried so many different places on the farm in the past and couldn't seem to hit the ideal location for the onions.  The root cellar was too damp, other places were either too cold or too warm or too light.

As we finished each bunch we hung them from the metal gates all over the barn until we could transport them to a hanging bar in the tank room.

This was Joe and Sara at the end of day #1 and they were still smiling!
It took us two full days and another evening,  but in the end we got all of them braided and ready to hang.
We ended up with a total of just under 
300 lbs. of onions 
for the year!

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