We did our big carrot harvest recently and with that, took care of all of the ways we preserve them for winter. That may sound fussy, but it truly is not. Carrots are one of the simplest harvests for us. The majority go into cold storage, which couldn’t be any easier. Just pack into a tote, layered in damp shavings or sawdust. We used to do sand, but goodness that is not the lightest thing! Next, I run a load or two through the canner. I actually don’t do this every year, as we use them rarely. Canned carrots are a backup up for us, reserved for power outages or a very last minute stew. I’ve also taken to putting a few quarts in the freezer in recent years. Not too much, but as a way to diversify and add extra convenience. Sometimes having a prepped veggie ready to go in the freezer is so handy. We like to ferment some as well. And finally, I use some of the carrots in our canned chicken soup for the year, which I made up over the weekend. Carrots are such a big harvest for us in all that they provide for our table, but is not terribly labor intensive at all. I look forward to carrot harvest every year! I should also mention that we grew our carrots in raised beds for the first time and they couldn’t have been happier. We did this in a bed that was straight soil and compost, so they had lots of wiggle room. Most of the raised beds we built this year were filled two thirds with punky wood, sticks, forest debris, and topped with one third soil and compost. This worked really well for beds that had aerial plants growing, but for root crops we did three beds pure soil and compost. A little extravagant, but just look at those carrots!
We continue to chip away at our winter prep list. With each item checked off we exhale a little more into the promise of winter quietude. I’ve been thinking about how it’s not that there’s no work to do in winter, it’s that the work feels gentler. Slow-paced. There is much less potential for loss if things take their time. I think that’s what I love. In summer, the life or death daily responsibility demands our attention more urgently. Winter responsibilities are always present, but more patient and forgiving. I do appreciate a little more patience and forgiveness in life.