Saga Continues: The Great Potato Famine of 2020

Constant readers, thanks for hanging in there. What started as a promising year for adding content to the website has been a miserable fail. In our last post we focused on how 2020 had been a nightmare, and mentally, sometimes monetarily, but at least not physically that theme has continued.

The greenhouse is FINALLY up, the tree work did get done, the house is painted, runoff is diverted, the garage is leaning (still), quail got hatched, quail got eaten (delicious!), the svart hona rooster died :(, but the svart hona hens are finally laying eggs. The kids have started back to ‘virtual’ school and the weather finally cooled off. I (Brianna) have tried my hand at some new things like lemon curd (also delicious!) and ground cherry jelly (didn’t set but made a lovely honey consistency). I also brushed off some old skills and tried some stained glass and sculpted tiny polymer clay Pok√©mon. Adam revamped an entire shed, painted the porch, took spinning back up, and cleared out a ton of left over trash with a full yard, garage, basement, and attic clean out.

By a miracle of love and caring we not only have a greenhouse we also did not get a divorce when putting it together

All that to say:

I haven’t the foggiest where the summer went…

I can say that one of the best parts of the summer was that the kids got to be home with us while we worked from home. I can also say one of the worst parts of the summer was that the kids got to be home with us while we worked from home. Just kidding, they are great kids and outside of a broken arm and a hornet attack the summer has been both hectic and slow all a once. It is though Covid makes every day last forever and pass in the blink of an eye at one time.

The news of the world is still dire, though we’ve moved on from the death of Covid and just pretend it isn’t a thing so we can focus on elections. Folks gunned down at protests, scandals abound, and finger pointing politician after finger pointing social media star just make everything seem so hopeless.

But here at the Reaganskopp Homestead we still deal in HOPE. We wear our masks, we talk about what we can do to help the world, and we try real hard to be good partners and parents (minus a bit of the screamies at each other from time to time). In fact, we have so much hope I was super excited to go about digging up the potatoes.

It was much easier to dig up the potatoes than one would expect because a groundhog came and helpfully ate every single leaf off my squash plants. While, the squash and the groundhog are no more, I’ve been waiting patiently for those potato leaves to start dying back, and this week they turned yellow. and started to curl and die.

I can tell you, folks, my heart beat a little faster as I pushed in my pitchfork and gently lifted the dark brown soil. Oh yes, I harvested those potatoes.

This is a very small harvest of fingerling potatoes
In case this looks larger than you think remember how big a brick is…

Though, harvest might be a strong word. I think a better description would be that I carefully scoured the earth for each fingernail sized bit of potato and threw them in a bucket. I can’t even say I was mad at this point. I think by potato plant four I was kind of giggling, madly, under my breath as I pulled the smallest amount of potatoes that I think could even support a leaf. As Adam put the finishing touches on the porch paint, I hauled my giant bucket over to him with glee!

“I harvested the potatoes!”, I said in an excited voice I hope he mistakenly took for glee.

“Oh, let me see!”, as he climbed down from his ladder to peer into my giant bucket.

Oh yes, I was not about to rob him of the mirth and joy of the situation. 2020 had struck again. We both started laughing as we held up our tiny potato harvest. Thank god, our food supply had not depended on these because we would definitely have not made it through the winter.

And so, the Great Potato Famine of 2020 continued.

Removing the dirt really didn’t help the situation…

And while I don’t have some rocking, awesome post about potatoes to write I do have lots of learned lessons that I should put down to help you readers. We had enough beans to both eat and dry. We had a family of hummingbirds followed by monarchs. Fall raspberries are ripening. We had enough Egyptian walking onion bulbs we were able to donate a whole paper sack to Burton Street Community Garden. I’ve enjoyed slices tomatoes and the kids are pros at spitting grape seeds. We learned that fresh celery is an entirely different beast than the watery kind you get at the grocery. We also were reminded that peppers hate rain. Quail are still the easiest bird on the planet and heritage chickens take forever to lay. Years of experience tells me that, while 2020 wasn’t the year of potatoes or websites, 2021 just might be.

Stay safe, stay sane, and go try to grow some fall spinach. We plan to seed ours this weekend!

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