After we dug up our potatoes, we had 33 pounds of them that needed to find temporary homes to cure for storage. We desperately need a root cellar in our house or a make-do root cellar outside somewhere. Last year, we laid out the potatoes and then the sweet potatoes in a spare bedroom and stored them in a box in that closet. This year, both of our bedrooms are occupied by our (mostly) delightful teenage foster kiddos. Neither one of our girls would take too kindly to spreading out 33 pounds of potatoes on a tarp in the floor of their rooms. Nor do they have room to store them for the winter in their closets. Heck, we wouldn’t and don’t either.
Our house is small by contemporary standards. We have 904 square feet, and we use just about every inch of it with four people living here. We have no basement. Our garage is a furnace in the summer and an icebox in the winter. Although we definitely err on the minimalist side of stuffs and possessions, we only have two closets. One of has bedding, towels, toiletries, suitcases, and toilet paper (so much toilet paper: I don’t believe in minimalism when it comes to toilet paper—we buy Costco-sized quantities). The other houses board games, craft materials for kiddos, and my sewing accouterments. We don’t have a lot of space to store vegetables from the garden, let alone to cure them.
Of course, this spatial problem is particularly opposed to my desire to grow our own food. Where are we supposed to store our garlic? Our 33 pounds of potatoes? The sweet potatoes still vining away merrily in the garden? The next round of carrots? I don’t really want to can them all, but we may have to accept that reality. Canned produce can be less problematic of a storage problem. Our garage can’t fit a second fridge or freezer if my husband wants to park the car in it, and he does. He was proud to be the first member of his family to be able to park a car in the garage, which is a whole different story.
In the meantime, we decided to cure our 33 pounds of potatoes in the living room, laid out on the tile underneath our gorgeous new wood-burning stove. The location isn’t ideal, but it’s ventilated, and the potatoes aren’t in the five-gallon bucket in which they were initially stored. So, that’s a plus.
The minus, though, is that we have cats. Cats who, despite their age, still play and bandy about and act like kittens. One of them in particular has decided that the potatoes make excellent toys. He bats them about the house occasionally, and we find potatoes by the front door, in the middle of the living room, under the dining table, in the kitchen, in the hall, etc. Fortunately, he doesn’t do this all the time, and it’s been a full day since we found an aberrant potato that became sentient and crawled across the living room under the cover of darkness in a desperate attempt to save itself from being eaten alive this winter… but, well, still. Potato cat toys are problematic.
We’ve learned two things, then, We really need a storage solution for our produce, and I need to buy a few more cat toys now that I no longer have a dog who would probably have shredded them in minutes.