*joshua and the Big Tater of '05
The first time I gleaned potatoes I was 8 months pregnant with our first child. There I was, following the digger, in the fading light of a crisp fall night, waddling down the row of furrowed dirt picking up every single cute, tiny potato I saw left behind. I have to laugh about the memory of that, thinking of how I pick up potatoes now; the little ones (otherwise known 'round here as 'soup potatoes') I don't look at twice. They're not worth the time to pick up or the time it takes to peel each tiny nook and cranny! Now I know that if I want to be able to keep them without spoiling, I'd better check to see if they've been sliced by the digger or otherwise damaged.
Back then, though, oh, the good memories! The pure joy in seeing all the wealth of free potatoes, laying there in the dirt, waiting for me to pick them up, take them home, and eat them! I thought of my grandma with her sturdy, hard working German blood flowing through her veins, and knew she'd be proud of me if she could see me in all of my bigger-than-a-house pregnant glory, carrying a 5 pound bucket and squatting down to pick up each and every golf-ball size potato! Now the kids go with us and get to pick up all the "soup potatoes" while the rest of us eye each one critically and sort through the kids' batch later.
I love the smell of the dirt, the silence of the fields, the sound of the potatoes being dumped in the big boxes and bins in the back of the truck. It is one of the things I look forward to most this time of year. We go through hundreds of pounds of potatoes each winter, never in want of food for abundance of potatoes. In the very hardest of times for us, there is always potatoes. What a blessing!!
Now they are simply a staple food for us and there is almost always a big pot of boiled potatoes in the fridge waiting to be chopped up and broiled, baked, or fried in a dozen different ways. We bake potatoes in the coals of our fire and make mashed potatoes on a regular basis. I have to say, we feel very blessed and thankful to have such a great resource available to us.