Farming,  Gardening,  Homesteading

Potatoes Everywhere

My goodness, I feel like I have potatoes coming out of my ears! There are potatoes everywhere right now. In the dining room, in the kitchen, in the classroom, and in the basement. Okay, so it may not be quite as dramatic as that sounds, but it’s still true. I have half a bushel in the dining room, about 6 bushels-worth in the classroom, a bowl full in the kitchen, plus mashed potatoes in the fridge, and I have french fries and hash browns in the freezer downstairs.

Last week, I decided I needed to pull the rest of the potatoes, within a day or two of my last post. The plants were dying back, and I was really concerned about rotting. We had a week with a lot of rain later in the growing season, and last time I had that happen, we lost most of our harvest to rot. So I dug everything up last Friday, and I’ve been feeling a little stressed since then, overwhelmed with how large a harvest we got.

When everything was said and done, I had dug up 9 bushels of potatoes. That’s not including the plants I pulled prior to the main harvest so I could make dinner for the family. And if we hadn’t had any rot, I think we could have ended up with another half bushel of potatoes. I weighed a bushel just so I could get a feel for how many pounds of potatoes we pulled, and it’s an average of 50lbs. per bushel. That means we harvested about 450 pounds of potatoes! Of the 9 bushels, about 3 were Yukon Gold or Red potatoes. The rest were all the Purple Majesty!

The first few bushels we dug, I was very cautious about not throwing potatoes into the wheel barrow, we were really gentle, and I didn’t really damage many potatoes. After the initial harvest, I was just thinking about speed and ease, and we weren’t as cautious as we should have been. We used the Bobcat bucket to transport the potatoes to the house where we gently dumped the potatoes on the lawn to be sprayed off. Dumping a wheel barrow full of potatoes into the loader bucket, and then dumping those potatoes from the bucket to the lawn was probably not my best idea. I ended up with about 5 bushels of scraped up potatoes.

In an ideal situation, we would have had the lawn mower working, and the trailer fixed and pulled that through the garden for collection. I would have been digging, and the kids would have been carefully putting potatoes into the trailer.

The scraped skins don’t automatically mean that the potatoes are bad, but it could lead to earlier spoilage, so I did sort everything out. Two bushels-worth were damaged enough to need processing right away, and 4 were in excellent condition. The unblemished potatoes will be cured and stored as is.

I’ve spent the last few days working on potato processing, as my health, and energy have allowed. So far, I’ve made about 10 meals-worth of french fries, and maybe 10 worth of hash browns. I also dehydrated about a gallon of potato slices for use in things like potatoes Au Gratin. That used up a little over 1.5 bushels of potatoes. I intend to can about a bushel of potatoes, as well. I want to make sure we preserve potatoes in several different ways to help prevent spoilage. The freezer is my least favorite way of preserving food, but in terms of convenience, it’ll be nice to have fries and hash browns on hand without having to do a bunch of prep work at meal time.

Dehydrated potato slices

I also gave about 1-1.5 bushels away to family and friends. I felt like I needed to get some of the house so I wouldn’t have to think about how to deal with NINE bushels of potatoes! I intentionally try to grow more food than we’ll need so that I CAN share with family and friends, and because someday, I’d like to be able to sell our excess in the produce stand.

Speaking of which… I am opening the stand this weekend. I have been sick or busy for so many weeks in a row, and I just haven’t had the ability to deal with getting things put into the stand. July ended up being really rough on me, and the first half of August hasn’t been much better. I am seeing some improvements, and things do seem to be on the right track. Anyway, I felt good enough to have the stand open for today and Saturday! (I just published another post that has more information for those interested.)

Part of this morning’s haul for the produce stand. Ignore the messy kitchen!

I feel constantly behind right now. I have been meaning to pick beans for two weeks, but between our schedule and getting sick a couple of times, I’m not as far as I would like to be. Thankfully, the schedule stuff clears up next week. I won’t have so much running around to do, and we don’t have a million sleepovers planned.

As for the health issues I have been dealing with, I have mostly been feeling better, and I think I may have figured out a few triggers and a potential deeper issue that I am being proactive about. I’m going to veer away from Whole 30 for this last week, as I need to incorporate a few non-compliant items to my diet to help fix the issue. But for about 2 weeks, I intend to try to stick with a simpler diet, in hopes of fixing the issue at hand.

We’ve also had a lot of other things go wrong around here, but I feel like we’re starting to get back on track. Our dryer was broken for months, and we couldn’t quite figure out what the heart of the problem was, but my dad took a look at it recently, and we were able to order the part to fix it. It’s back up and running now! Scott’s car was on it’s last legs for awhile now, and it conked out last week Monday, but by Thursday we were able to have a new truck for him! That was pretty exciting.

Our lawnmower belt broke awhile ago, we replaced it, and then it broke shortly thereafter, which pointed to a bigger problem. We’ve figured out the problem, so that’s good, but it’s like $350 to replace the broken part and get a new belt. Thankfully, we have some wonderful friends that agreed to let us borrow one of their mowers for the remainder of the year, and we were FINALLY able to get the lawn cut again yesterday after weeks of neglect. Thanks to their kindness, we can hold off on the repairs to the mower for a little while longer.

On top of all of that, I ran over one of the kids bikes while trying to back out of my parking spot at home the other day… the bike was fine, but the van tire popped. We really need to get new tires, but we were hoping to wait until fall. Thankfully, though, the spare is a full sized, fully-rated tire, and we can use that for a little longer until we can spare the funds for a new one (or ones, if we replace them all at once).

All of these issues have been good moments for me to practice putting my trust in God. I didn’t get too worked up or upset about anything. I did what I could to deal with each situation, stayed calm, and things seem to be working out alright. Of course, it’s not enjoyable, but there are too many positives to stay focused on the negative. Besides, I’ve got a house full of potatoes to think about, and a garden brimming with food. I know I mentioned some of this in one of my previous posts, but I figured it’d be good to update our current situation!

As for the animals, they are doing pretty well. The Cornish cross were FINALLY moved out to pasture. Scott and Aaron did that one day recently. The turkeys are growing nicely. We lost 3 after moving them outside, but we fixed the problems that we were having, and they seem happy and healthy now. The pigs are getting huge! I’ve been feeding them a lot of garden scraps, and I’ve been letting them root a little more recently (i.e. I haven’t filled their feeder again right away), and they seem happy. We could probably fill that feeder at least 3 times a week, but I they aren’t starved, and I don’t want to spend that much money on feed! Lol! We’ve still got about 2 months until butchering time. Thank goodness for garden scraps!

The garden looks quite the mess these days. I stopped weeding altogether shortly before the tea party, and it shows. I just haven’t had the ambition to deal with it. I’ve actually been thinking about doing a bit of weeding, just to help out the stuff that still has a ways to go. The barn gardens have about another week or so before they’re really ready for harvest, and then I’ll have another flush of food to harvest. I still have plenty coming in, but I’m trying to harvest judiciously, as I need to process things as quickly as possible or give them away if I don’t want things to spoil. I think tomorrow is finally going to be turnip canning day again, and that’ll make things a lot better. I have been dreading doing that job for some reason!

I’m just happy that we’ve been able to eat so much straight from the garden, we’ve already put up a lot of food for the year, I’ve been able to give food to friends and family, and I was finally able to fill the produce stand! I’m so thankful for such a good harvest year! We’ve had perfect weather for growing, and the bugs haven’t been too awful (for pest issues). I pray that I have the health and energy to finish out the garden year on a strong note!

A random side note…. At the end of July, I started to see back to school stuff and fall decorations, and then the first week of August, I saw some Halloween candy out in the store. I was both disgusted and just so not ready for fall. But then last week, the temperatures started to dip at night, and I was feeling the pressure of the garden harvest, and suddenly I was ready for fall. I’m doing my best to enjoy the remainder of summer, but I’m looking forward to cooler days and a lighter work load!

How are all of you hanging in there? Are you ready for back to school (or rebooting your homeschool)? Are you ready for cooler weather and Pumpkin Spice everything? Let me know in the comments!

Love and Blessings~ Danielle


  • Susan Casper

    There is something so satisfying about a healthy harvest! I’m reminded of my childhood when my grandparents, Mary and Adam, would begin harvesting their gardens. It was so much work! But then you had these mountains of food! They were so beautiful. We undervalue, I think, the beauty of things like potatoes and cabbages, and cauliflower. You will barely be finished before it’s butchering time. (Not as beautiful, but rewarding.)

    How are your tomatoes and flowers doing this year?

    • Spring Lake Homestead

      I couldn’t agree more with all of your sentiments!
      We have so many visitors here that come and enjoy being a part of the process in some way, and I hope it leaves a deep and lasting impression for them for a lifetime. It is so much work, but the reward is just priceless.
      The tomatoes are just starting to ripen. We’ve picked a few here and there, but now we’ll start to collect more all at once. I gathered about a gallon worth the other day. The flowers are mostly looking good, though I have neglected the flower beds. The sunflowers are very satisfying, though! I can see them towering over the chicken coop and the rest of the garden from the kitchen window, and it puts a smile on my face every time I see it.

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