Sunday, January 24, 2010


Or setting forth several unrelated thoughts of a Sunday evening.

The weather. Good grief, the weather! We're still getting alternating rain and snow. Temperature is still hovering around 34°. Forecasters are still saying we will have 6-10" of snow by tomorrow afternoon. (Not at 34° we won't.) So at the present time we have water on top of a couple inches of slush on top of a hard layer of ice. Roy took a fall on his keister tonight chasing a couple of recalcitrant geese who didn't want to go into their house. He didn't hurt himself. He said he actually slid down more than fell (he was on a hillside).

We had a date to go to an acquaintance's place this afternoon to see her herd of Boer goats. Boers are raised primarily as meat animals and we've never seen the breed in person. But the visit was cancelled because everyone involved (probably the goats, too, if they had been asked) agreed it wouldn't be very pleasant standing in the barnyard in the cold, cold rain. Also, her couple of miles of road up off the main road currently have a surface like that of a skating rink, she reports.

Roy has a big sorting job he wants to do in the garage this week so he decided we should bring the ping pong table we have stored in one of our back out buildings up to the garage this afternoon. Sure wish there had been someone around to take a video of Dumb and Dumber trying to manhandle the table through the water, slush and ice and stay upright while doing so. At one point my right foot went out from under me and I was sure I was goin' down. I caught myself but let out a shrill, little girlie squeal that was so unexpected and scared Roy so much he almost lost it.

"Order Garden Seeds" has been on my daily list for about two weeks now, and I couldn't face another Monday with it staring at me so today I decided I just needed to get it done. Period. And I did. I thought my supplies were in pretty good shape as I have good luck keeping seeds from year to year and had ordered larger than normal quantities last year of all vegetables seeds. I checked and sure 'nuf, I don't need to order anything except a few flower seeds. 'Course, some of you will recall that I said this coming summer is the year I'm going to let the garden lie fallow and spend my time in the hammock reading. Yeah, well . . . the closer we get to seed starting time, the more I'm wavering.

Speaking of the garden, I am so pleased (and surprised!) with the way my onions from last year are keeping.

They didn't have sufficient time to mature before cold weather hit last fall and I was sure I was going to have to dehydrate the whole batch in order to keep them. I got a good number dried (what a chore) but was quickly losing enthusiasm for the job when I noticed the ones that were waiting in the open crates almost sorta looked like they were curing naturally. What the heck? So I pushed a couch and coffee table out of the way, laid newspapers down on the floor and spread them all out and left them there for several days. Darned if they didn't end up looking pretty good. I bagged them up in mesh bags, put them in a big cardboard box and stuck them in a corner of the garage that stays somewhere around 50°. They have kept beautifully!

This is a big thing for us because I use A LOT of onions in cooking. And like all food items we have to purchase, the price of onions seems to be going up, up, up.

Ah, life is good. A plentiful supply of onions, lots of dry wood to heat the house and ward off the cold, wet rains of January (that is so not right for us here in northern Minnesota), not having to spend hardly any money on garden seeds for the coming planting season, having the choice to not drive anywhere today on icy roads, and surviving another day without falling . . . whoops, I mean without falling and hurting oneself out there in our ice-coated world. We're doin' okay.


  1. Congrats on your still-keeping onions! That's wonderful!

    We're still waiting for the bulk of the Big Wet to hit us here in Maine. It's forecast to hit today, with extensive ice and flood warnings. We've battened down the hatches pretty well--also invested in new ice cleats at L.L.Legume. Today my co-op seed order is due, so I plan to spend the day doing inventory on my seeds and supplies. Like you, I don't think I need much thanks to previous large orders, but I still need to go through the annual ritual! (My favourite seed-source is Maine's Fedco Seeds. Hilarious/fascinating catalog, lots of heirloom/ethnic seeds, and excellent prices. What's your favourite?)

  2. Congrats on those onions! Someone should tell Roy that extra hips and vertebrae don't grow on trees, and you can't grow them in the garden, either - be careful on that ice! I hear you on that hammock thing - I am getting one this year but even I know that the most I will get out of it is a feeling of relaxation looking at it! When it's August all I want is to relax from the dread of canning season starting, but yet I am downright giddy ordering my seeds now. And I get so sick of that garish lighting and seed flats come March & April but that didn't stop me from being giddy again digging my lights and flats out last weekend. How soon we forget the pain, gardening is good that way! p.s. I am in mourning today for the Vikes...

  3. Hi, MaineCelt - I've ordered from Fedco Seeds. For better or worse (!), I do the bulk of my ordering from Johnny's Selected Seed sticking to the non-hybrids.

    Hey, Mama JJ - Whenever I have to buy onions (or fruit or whatever) in a mesh bag, I save the bags for future use like this.

    (The black bag seen in the upper left hand corner is a pair of my fish net hose I wear around the house on certain occasions. JUST KIDDING!)

    Hi, Erin - I know. We sure do forget. Don't know if that's good or bad!

    P.S. You have GOT to be the minority in VA rooting for the Vikings! Stay strong.

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  5. Mama Pea,
    Your onions look wonderful! When you said they looked like they were curing when you left them out, what does that mean? Drying out a little, or? We need to do better with our onions as I hate to buy them from the store.

  6. Hi Mama Pea,
    I second that emotion about rain in January in Minnesota being so wrong! Everything's frozen solid here again, but like you I'm really having to watch my step. Congrats on keeping your onions so long! And isn't it nice to look forward to spring and another growing season? I'm ready too!

  7. Hi, Melissa - Supposedly you're to leave your onions in the garden until the greens fall over and the thick, green neck (right above the bulb) starts to get brownish, shrink and dry. (This would be the start of the curing making them good for keeping.) This past year the frost was comin' on fast before this happened to my onions so I pulled them but was afraid they wouldn't keep at all 'cause they were still very much in their growing stage. But for some reason I was lucky enough to have them go into the curing process after I had pulled them out of the dirt.

    The one "bad" think about this batch is that the skins are stuck so tight on them that it's a real chore to get it off without taking a whole thick layer of onion. I wonder if this is because of them not curing in the normal way, outside?

    Hi, Ruthie - Hang in there, we've a ways to go before spring. With the rain in January, we may get tons of snow in April!!