Tuesday, October 1, 2013

One Potato, Two Potato, Three Potato, Four . . .

Last year, Miguel (our neighbor with the sheep) asked if he could use the lower half of our field to plant some potatoes. We said, "Sure!" We don't use it, and all our neighbors give us of their bounty. It seems the very least we can do. So, in spring and summer, on separate trips (due to our ailing, aged dog who needed tending at home), we saw ruffled rows of green leaves in what formerly had been a weed patch. Other neighbors told us the woman who lived here before us grew enormous tomatoes in that field. Still, imagine our surprise when the field yielded potatoes like this!

About two weeks ago, we looked out our galeria window and saw Antonio, Maria Elena, and Miguel, all working together to harvest the potatoes.
 Antonio was using his tractor. (Neighbors help each other out here; we often see Miguel at Antonio's farm, helping to plant or harvest, depending on the season.) Miguel is on flatbed in the picture below. And the last picture shows what the eventual harvest looked like. All this from such a small field. They obviously know what they are doing. When they saw us watching, Miguel hopped down and loaded up a sack of giant potatoes for us, and we've been eating them ever since.

This coming week-end will be the grape harvest, or vendimia, for our village. The week-end varies from village to village, depending on a variety of factors. (Our English friends in Canabal have been growing grapes, and they harvested theirs a week ago.) As with the potatoes, friends and neighbors help each other out. All of them will make their own wine and store it in vats in their bodegas.

What starts out looking like this:

Ends up looking like this:

The first time Miguel brought us a two-liter coke bottle filled to the brim, we thanked him, but after he left, we wondered how to ever tell him that we don't drink Coca Cola? Then we noticed: that coke looked a little purplish. We unscrewed the cap, and, sure enough, it was a generous helping of his home-made wine. The home-made wine here is really "table wine". It's a bit on the tart side, but tasty enough, and it has a very low alchohol content, probably around 6% or 7% -- low enough that locals drink a hearty portion with their lunch or dinner or afternoon meriendas (snacks).

On another note, this trip we've been blessed with wonderful, sunny weather. On most trips in spring or fall, it rains at least once a day, all the colors glistening in the rain. But this time, we've been met with blue, cloudless skies and lush green fields and wooded hills. Although this week we've gone from this:

To this:
  Still, I find it beautiful. The mist and fog always make me turn to poetry. To me, this is Galicia at it's most beautiful.

What about you? Do you like sunshine best, or fog and mist? What weather most brings out the writer or photographer in you?


J.L. Campbell said...

Having so much sun means I have an appreciation for rain and we're having lots of it now.

This was a lovely post. First time I've seen potatoes that big and you're making me wish I had neighbours that would bring me wine.

S.P. Bowers said...

That is a huge potato!

Barbara Watson said...

A post full of bounty and goodness. I prefer sunshine, but foggy mornings are a thing of wonder. Watching the fog roll back, bit by bit, is magical.

Richard Hughes said...

I like to see street lights in heavy fog. The circles of light spreading through the fog is gorgeous.

Teresa Cypher said...

I can't get over the bushels and bushels of potatoes. Nice how it works--they use your field, the neighbors help, they share with everyone. What a lovely place you live in.

I like all the weather. I just commented to someone on Twitter that I love the changing seasons. I can be inspired by it all--but I feel the least guilty sitting down to write, when the weather isn't fit for outside work. :-)

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, Joy, I know what you mean about the sun making you appreciate the rain. Sacramento gets really hot in the summer, especially July and August, and we are always ready for fall when it begins.

S. P., huge, indeed. All of them were just about that size, too!

Barbara, thanks for stopping by. Like you, I find fog "magical". It always inspires stories or poems in my mind.

Richard, "circles of light spreading through the fog . . ." Such a beautiful phrase.

Teresa, yes, we love the way the neighbors all pull together here, helping each other. They are so in tune with all the seasons. Right now, some are chopping wood for the coming winter.

Rosi said...

I could easily live in Seattle. I love fog, mist, rain. I love it all. I'm glad you're having such a lovely visit.

Ruth Schiffmann said...

I like sunshine best, but without the variety, I'm sure I wouldn't appreciate it enough.

Kenda Turner said...

Awesome pictures of some of Spain's abundance :-) Enjoyed seeing these as I still marvel at some of the things we saw on our trip to Spain last year. We got to drive through olive tree country (I think it was Jaen Province) where the travel book says there are 150 million olive trees. !50 million?! Who counted them all? As for favorite weather? Sun makes me want to get outside, fog and mist make me want to curl up with a good cup of tea and book. I can write in any kind of weather, though :-)

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Ruth, I like sunny days, too, expecially if I have to be inside. But fog and mist appeal to my imagination. They are so evocative.

Rosi, thanks for the good wishes. We have really had a lovely trip.

Kenda, I have the same reaction to fog and mist as you: Tea and a good book are just the thing on a misty day. Or a rainy day, for that matter.

Victoria Lindstrom said...

Just amazingly beautiful photos, Elizabeth. And that potato is phenomenal!

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, Victoria, glad you liked the photos. I made a dish for four people with that one potato, and some was left over! :-)