Saturday, October 31, 2009

Harvesting potatoes

When the shrubs of the potatoes have become yellow and look quite 'dead', it is time for the big harvesting! In Latvia, it is a serious business, because potatoes form the basis of the diet in the country. If in Muslim countries the basic food items are rice and bread (roti), then in Latvia people eat potatoes, boiled or fried, supplementing them with some gravy and salad. Nearly every family has their very own small piece of land (veggie and fruit garden), where they grow their own potatoes, because the ones grown by your own hands are much tastier than what is available in the shops, plus you can be sure that no pesticides enter your body along with your potatoes.

Vecmamma (grandmother) also had a few rows of potatoes in her garden - only enough for eating through the fall season. When her own potatoes are finished, she usually gets a whole winter supply from mamma's sister Mara, who has a countryside house and grows lots of potatoes in her big fields. Vecmamma keeps this considerable potatoes supply in basement, which is located under the apartment building.

So, thanks to Vecmamma's garden, we had a great opportunity to 'dig the dirt', searching for the potatoes in the soft soil. However, before we got to 'digging the dirt' part, mamma took a big gardening fork and lifted the soil under every shrub for making the soil softer - easier for us to dig.

As buckets were getting full, Uzair and Hafsa took turns taking them off the field and silling on the grass, so that the sun can dry the dirt up a bit.

Once all the potatoes were out of the soil, the sorting work started. The very tiny ones were set aside for eating right away, the middle-sized ones were put in a box for next year planting season, and the big ones were sorted into other boxes for keeping in the cool basement to be eaten over the next few months. Nothing can beat the taste of potatoes grown in Vecmamma's garden and harvested by your own hands!

Friday, October 30, 2009

The higher, the better!

Do you know, what was Uzair's most favourite acivity in vecmamma's garden? It was climbing trees and any possible ladders - the higher, the better! Boys are boys, aren't they? :) In one of the smaller apple-trees, Uzair made his very own 'playplace' by hanging all sorts of things in the tree. Also for eating apples sitting in a tree seemed to be the best.

His most favourite time was the apple harvesting season. Since vecmamma has 8 apple-trees, it took quite many days to pick all the apples, which meant that the ladders were in very frequent use. As soon as mamma or uncle Ralfs was down from the ladder to empty the bucket full of apples, Uzair was on the ladder! Time to time, Hafsa also joined in on his mischiefs. Believe it or not, but not a single accident of falling happened, Alhamdulillah. :) So whenever you need a good strategy for climing a tree, call up Uzair! :)