The Amish Cook from Oasis Newsfeatures

Root cellars

Does anyone still have one and use it?  The good old EPA ordered our little village of 300 to build a sanitary sewer system and we were forced to crush or remove our septic tanks.  We kept our wells as a water system would have been way too expensive and not practical for us.

I  came up with this bright idea of taking part of the area where our septic tank used to be, buying a large garbage can and using it for a "root cellar" to store my onions, potatoes, carrots and the like. 

We plan on lining the bottom of the can with straw and I've saved onion and potato bags to put stuff in.  We plan on putting straw on the top of our goodies and then straw on top of the garbage can lid.  We are going to paint the lid florescent yellow and put those reflective markers near it so we can find the can in the snow.

How have root cellars worked for you?

 

 

 

Re: Root cellars

Paulaayn,

I know and I  live in your shoes. We are not hog farmers but grain farmers.We have to be optomistic about farming.THat is the only thing my husband knows . we have to run deisel irrigation motors. That said to run one deisel motor  a week  last year it took $20,000. We have 7 irrigation motors. you do the math . We came way short of paying off our farm loan last year. I worried and stewed if the bank would let us borrow to run the farm this year or would we be forced to sell out. They did give us a loan . I am  a worrier. Can we make a profit and try and still pay some back from last  year ? God has a plan and I have to trust him  My faith has been tested. I am not sure how it will all work out but I have faith to whatever happen. He will not abandon us. Prayers for you and your family.

Re: Root cellars

we just use our cellar, potatoes, carrots, onions, squash, and apples stay fresh down there just about into spring, even in the summer it is cool down there, on hot days we go down there and sit in lawn chairs and sip lemonade and watch an old tv we have hooked up down there, it is always cooler than upstairs, someday when I have the money I would like to finish it and put in a bedroom and small bathroom down there, extra space and a cool place to sleep in the summer without the a/c making the electric bills go sky high

Re: Root cellars

We don't have a basement.   I wish we did!  I would have all of my filled canning jars down there instead of here and there!  A big thanks to all of you for sharing with me about your cellars and the books.

paulaayn's picture

Re: Root cellars

Anyone interested, there is a really interesting place in Newfoundland.  It's called Elliston and it's the root cellar capital of the world.  It's one of the places my family landed at in the early 1800's.  It was really neat seeing all those old root cellars.

Re: Root cellars

When I was a child in upstate NY, there was a root cellar next to the college cafeteria.  It was dug out under a hill.  If I recall correctly, it would have been about 6' high and 8' wide.  It always smelled like potatoes.  I used to be scared of going in there after anything--seemed like a good place for the Boogie Man to live.

Now I'm in Florida and I'd give my right arm for a naturally cool storage area.

 

 

Re: Root cellars

There is a good book called "Root Cellaring" by Mike and Nancy Bubel. It has many different ideas on the subject,with instuctions. We have always been gonna build a root cellar, it is still a someday project! I'm with you,Paulaayn, I think food storage is more important than ever in these times.

paulaayn's picture

Re: Root cellars

I saw something in a magazine the other day about making a root cellar like that.  I'd love to have a root cellar/cold room.  I worry about not having enough food stored, especially with the pork industry crashing.  Let us know how it works.

Re: Root cellars

I just read an artice in the Indianapolis Star newspaper that the 60,000 hog producers in the state were in serious trouble because of the "flue" fears

It said it cost about $160.00 to raise ahog to market but they were only selling for $120.00  It also said the best we could do to help all hog farmers was to buy a lot of pork and tell our friends to buy also. 

paulaayn's picture

Re: Root cellars

Yep, those prices are about right. We're losing $50 on every market size pig that walks out the door.  Colin's at his wit's end and doesn't know what to do.  Even if he wants to quit, it takes a year to properly empty barns our size, especially since we are coming up to winter.  It makes me want to sit and cry some days for fear of what will happen.

Re: Root cellars

I am hoping and praying for you and your situation. We are farmers , but do not count on it for our living. My hubby has a job at a factory as a welder. We do, however, own a tri-axle dump truck that we sub-contract to a large company. Our son drives it, and it seems that this season that it has been broken down more often than not. Parts for it are astronomical as compared to a regular vehicle. My point to all this is, although I can't relate to your exact situation, I can relate to a business in trouble. My son's livelyhood depends on the dump truck, and he has a wife and 3 little ones. Hubby's job is day to day..perhaps you have heard of Pittsburg-Corning, where they make glass blocks? They filed for bankruptcy a few years ago and are now emerging. We fear (with good reason) that the plant will be sold.Hubby has 33 years there, and needs 5 more for retirement. It does not look promising. I honestly can and do understand your feelings. It is frustrating beyond comprehension...but, at least to me, it is a comfort to know that we have friends here that are willing to let us "vent" and pray on our behalf. I honestly believe that God answers prayer, and with so many on this site alone..how can we go wrong? Again, you and your family are in my and my church's prayers. Please try to be strong, I know it is not easy...Innocent

Re: Root cellars

I'm so sorry.  I understand your frustration and fear.  My husband is working contract right now and running out out of work.  I guess we can all just try to support one another on here.  I read everyone's posts and feel someone cares.

paulaayn's picture

Re: Root cellars

It really does help to know that someone cares. It's a very lonely feeling some days.    I'll hope your husband finds more work soon too.

Re: Root cellars

Pork industry crashing?  I think I musta missed something when I was on my vacation last week.  I knew the dairy industry was in trouble, but pork too? 

paulaayn's picture

Re: Root cellars

The Canadian dairy industy is going strong -gotta love quota. 

Pork farmers are facing the worst economic conditions they have ever faced.
The reasons are many. For example:

* American Protectionism: American pork processing plants are no longer importing pigs from Canada due to the paper work involved in complying with their own Country of Origin Labeling rules. Resulting in hundreds of thousands of pigs backing up in the supply chain in Canada.

* The missed named H1N1 Flu (swine flu) has drastically reduced world wide demand for pork.

* The rise in the Canadian dollar makes our pork less attractive on the world export market.

* Sky-rocketing input cost (supplies like feed, seed, etc)

 

We are currently losing $3000 a week.  And it's that low because we have our own corn.  It's a scary prospect that Canada will have no pork industry left and we'll have to import all our pork for other countries like Mexico and China

Re: Root cellars

Wow...I had NO idea that was going on.  I'm so sorry you're going through this difficult time.    Is transitioning to organic a viable option or would it take too long and cost too much?  

paulaayn's picture

Re: Root cellars

No, organic's not an option.  They've recently changed the rules on using the word "organic", which of course comes with lots of new fees, etc.  Also organic feed would at least triple our feed bill.  And we just don't live close to a market that could support those kind of prices.  If we lived near Toronto and supplied the snooty restaurants, organic might be a viable option.  But where we live, most people are nearly as broke as we are  :)

Re: Root cellars

I normally buy very specifically labeled fresh meats, cash was low, and I happened to be at a certain store, a secondary store not my main source for shopping.  The bulk ground beef from the butcher counter, was labeled as being a product of the US, New Zealand, Canada and a couple other countries that I can't recall at the moment.  It was priced low, I almost didn't buy it just because the labelling was so random.  I'm fine with US or Canadian products, but please.  Paula you don't want to eat pork from Mexico, isn't that where the "Swine" Flu got started?  So, process the pig, turn it into a ham then ship it to the US?  I'm sure our deli at our regular store sells true raised and made in Canada, hams and other products.    

paulaayn's picture

Re: Root cellars

Sigh, swine flu -that's a large part of our problem right now.  Just days before it hit the news, the pork price was almost at cost of production -something we've been waiting 5 years for.  The price has been crashing since.  Right now we are getting about $1/lb (or kg, I can't remember and DH is out) and average cost of production is $1.50.

The H1N1 was so badly misnamed.  There has yet to be any pigs found who have this version of flu.  There was a herd out west, but they were infected by the people.  And besides, the flu is respitory, it's not in the meat.  But perception is everything. 

I really wouldn't suggest buying meat from anywhere other than Canada or US.  Just can't guarantee what they have been fed/given.  Also, what kind of regulations does the meat go through to get processes.  Our pigs are examined at least 3 times before the meat hits the stores.

 

 

 

 

Re: Root cellars

People are such.....sheep!  And they watch too doggone much TV.

Re: Root cellars

Paula, I have complete confidence using meat from Canada.  I really wish our government would back up and look at some of these policies they make in haste.  I try to avoid meat products from Mexico and I try really hard not to buy ANY food products made in China.

Re: Root cellars

These pandemics are ridiculous - a local news station was eager to post that a young mother passed away from the "swine flu"; no she passed away from respitory complications following pnuemonia, and after a bunch of flu tests they came to the conclusion that it was h1n1.  And the media was all over that.  Heck, our oldest had a fever/cold symptoms last week, everyone was asking if she went to the Dr because she probably had the ... flu.  Talk about crazy. 

Yep, that was my last mystery meat  purchase, it's worth paying more to me to know that it was raised "cleanly".  We haven't changed our pork eating habits at all, I think we are actually eating more since the "scare"    

paulaayn's picture

Re: Root cellars

I get so angry about the hype over this flu.  For goodness sake, more people die from the "regular" flu every year and no one cares!   Most of the people who are getting really sick (in Canada anyway) all seem to have had pre-existing conditions.  It's just like any other flu, those of us with weaker immune systems will always be at risk.

The big thing is people need to learn to stay home when they are sick.  Most people I know think their office will grind to a halt if they aren't there (most won't). 

Thanks for everyone's concern and support.  It's so frustrating, knowing how hard my husband works and how little government/grocery stores seem to care.  I know God will provide, but it's hard not to worry.

 

Re: Root cellars

I will be sure to let you know how it works.