Today I was lifting and preparing my root crops for winter storage — carrots, beets, parsnips, sweet potatoes and yams.

This was the first time I have grown sweet potatoes and yams and researching how to cure them for storage, I found I really should have dug them weeks ago when the weather was warmer.  Temperatures below 50 F (10 C) can diminish quality and hurt storagability. I will be OK but will do better next year.

The parsnips were hard to get out of the ground and pushed my ability to get as I am quite weak anymore having lost so much muscle mass.  When I played soccer as recently  as 2004 my weight was consistently 178  lbs (81 Kg). I was definitely fatty and if I was in better shape should have played at about 170 (77 Kg), but now I am 144 (65 Kg)  and a lot of that weight loss has been  muscle. The skin hangs on my arms where once it was tight around muscle.

Most of the work though is rubbing dirt off and topping so I can sit for that.  I actually was able to spend about 5 hours doing real work for a change.

It is Indian Summer so it was pleasant being outdoors and the fall colors are still strong. We had exceptionally brilliant colors this fall and it seems like they are lingering longer than usual so if you look up it is pleasing to the eye.

See more fall color photos by Jaya Murari here.