Saturday, March 27, 2010

Sepia Saturday - Potato Pickers

This photo shows my Irish Canadian relatives having what they thought was a great day, picking potatoes. Everybody lived in the city and had city-type jobs but the farm was nearby and operated by a family friend who invited us out for picking, stooking wheat and other major events. Never fully able to shake off their farming roots, this family reveled in the opportunity to get out, dig in the dirt and soak up the stark scenery. They enjoyed gazing at the flatness with not a bump between them and the horizon. I must have inherited a mutated gene; always looking for a hill.

I'm the short blonde; my sister is behind me with the glasses and my mom has the dark black hair and the shopping bag. Everyone else was filling a galvanized bucket but mom was a big fan of shopping bags and we used them for everything. When she died and was cremated, my sister and I picked up her ashes in a generic container and used a Nordstrom's shopping bag to take her out for the internment  in my father's grave. My sister insisted on leaving the container nestled in the Nordstom's bag because she thought mom would get a kick out of it. I'm sure she did.


  1. 1. I wonder if your family's appreciation of potatoes had to do with the history of the terrible potatoe famines?
    2. If you like food and potatoes, then I hope you're familiar with our famous Montreal delicacy - poutine!
    3. If you haven't discovered it yet, I suggest you check out Karen Resta's blog "Postcards From The Dinner Table". I think you'd enjoy it!
    Evelyn in Montreal

  2. Shopping bags! That's the best use of them I've ever heard of. And what a nice thing to do for your Mom... and Dad. It takes recycling to a whole new realm. Seriously, I was really touched by this story.
    And on another note...I can't picture you as a potato picker. Not that there's anything wrong with potato pickers. You just seem so elegant and far from the farm. Not that there's anything wrong with farmers. I guess we're both farmers or are we ranchers?

  3. This is an amazing picture. What a treasure. Everyone looks so happy!

  4. Nice picture of a united family. It must have felt good to be working out in the wide open spaces for once.

    I love the story of the shopping bags.

  5. Evelyn. I don't know why poutine isn't popular in the US. When I go back to Canada, I always seek it out along with a few Manitoba favorites like smoked goldeye and Jeannies cakes.

    I checked out Postcards from the Dinner Table. Very interesting - another great blog to read.

    Yes, I think the Irish are bonded to potatoes forever. No meal was considered complete without them.

  6. what a wonderful photo and I can see how it would be a wonderful family activity - when I was little the relatives got together to go "huckleberry pickin'" - I wish someone would have had the presence of mind to snap a group shot - this is so precious!

    I only picked potatoes once on a friends farm in vermont - it is something that does benefit from being done with others!!

  7. This is my favorite of the day! You should have it blown up large. Amazing!

  8. Great story and I love the tale of carrying your mother's ashes in Nordstom's bag! I'll bet she would have appreciated that too.

  9. Smashing story ... and a wonderful picture. It is always difficult for others to understand the sense of scale on those great empty and flat plains - but that photograph conveys it well. I love the story about the bags.