2.5 Tons of Potatoes

Who would have thought that trying to further World Peace would come in the form of potatoes.   OK, that may be a stretch, but Sunday was another exercise in preparing for winter and off I went to Kavrak, 1450 meters high in  the mountains with Sam and his host family.  My chauffeur was a police officer from Kratovo so he wasn’t exactly worried about the speed limit on this narrow winding mountain road and I tried not to take it too seriously when “Knock-Knock-Knockin on Heaven’s Door” came on the radio.  We left Kratovo at 7 AM before the fog had burned off and about an hour later arrived at the potato field.  We only had to get out and walk so that the car could make it up the hill one time….  Not being a country girl, I’d never dug potatoes before-so it was ANOTHER new and arduous experience.  Some people immediately began to dig potatoes while Lileh started breakfast for everyone.  Then the horse arrived and boy was I grateful for her!  Yup–a man with a hand-plow walked behind a horse turning up each row.  Then we’d hoe through the 2 dirt mounds created by the plow in order to unearth the potatoes.  Breakfast included boiled potatoes, sausages, tomatoes, home-baked bread and feta cheese all cooked over an open fire as you can see from the first picture. To the left is Lunch: a huge pan of potatoes, peppers, peas, carrots, and yup–that’s a pig’s head right in the middle of the pan.  I’m sure it was good as people dug in and got ‘dibs’ on the eyes, brains, etc.  I opted for the salad of cabbage, cucumber and carrots on the bottom left corner.  It was a very friendly group, and they’ll all have plenty of potatoes for the winter.  Those sort of whitish piles behind the people are actually piles of potatoes that we later sorted and bagged…well truthfully, I was exhausted and took a little nap in the car when it began to rain…so THEY did most of the sorting and bagging.  I was wondering how we would get all those potatoes ‘home’ when along came a tractor.  I was told the next day there were 60+ bags of potatoes each weighing >60 Kilos.  Now 2.5 tons of potatoes is a pretty good haul for any day’s work.  Monday night Lileh brought a bag of potatoes to my host mom’s house so Tuesday I went to the store and bought butter and milk (couldn’t find garlic) and made Nada some American mashed potatoes.  I don’t think she was too impressed, but she was polite and said her son would love them–guess I’m making them again this weekend.  On another note, I apologize for the delay in this post.  I’m running into increasingly difficult internet connections and it’s taken me 3 days to get this edition ready to post.  Oh, and that darn Language homework….  Now I can talk about my family, tell time, be hungry, tired and need a shower.  (regardless of if there’s hot water!)  Progress!

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5 responses to “2.5 Tons of Potatoes

  1. Wow! I’ve been saying all along that you are a much stronger woman than I am. Now, you have certainly proved that! Your life is anything but boring! Love getting your posts. Will pray that you are able to get those internet connections.

  2. Linda Winnie Towne

    Digging anything is tough work. Sounds exhausting but one of those experiences that will probably make you even more grateful for grocery stores! 🙂 I’ll bet the flavor of this fresh, “no carbon footprint” is delish! Well, except for the pig’s head – which I don’t think I would be able to try either! LOL Nothing like a Nields street deli Turkey and cheese sub eh? You continue to amaze me!

  3. Hi Linda, Wow! It sounds like you are having quite an experience in Macedonia – your blog is awesome, I love all your insights and the many pictures. You are inspiring me to update mine for the first time in a year. It’s funny, I am nodding my head in agreement at so many things… Peace Corps life is the same no matter where you are in the world. 🙂 Sorry I didn’t call you while I was back in the States at the beginning of September. Am very happy to read that you are doing so well… the fun is just beginning too. Will be in touch and following your blog. Take good care of yourself!

  4. Every bone and joint in my body is hurting just hearing about this experience! Amazing — much different than VEW and Las Vegas. I think you have the right idea, My Dear!

  5. I’m thinking I would have been right there with you on the cabbage, carrots, and potatoes selection….not a fan of a pig’s head or eyes…… XOXOXO

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