Natural systems have a lot of backup plans, but not a great deal of forgiveness. If I slip on the verge of a steep cliff, someone else will have to do my share of the evening milking; but the local buzzards will have a good dinner.
When we culled chickens three weeks ago we had to move about one hundred fifty pounds of onions out of the cave in order to get at the mechanical picker (chicken plucker). We hung those onions in the summer kitchen — temporarily, we thought. Two weeks later, going in there to mix grain for the hens, I found the onions still hanging, frozen solid.
Deep chagrin and self-recrimination.
All was not lost. The girls and I spent two afternoons peeling and chopping over one hundred pounds of onions which would have stored just fine for months in the dry cave but were now destined for the pig pens unless we could get them all in the freezer (our dehydrator is much too small for that many onions). Now the freezers smell faintly of onion but our winter’s supply of alliums is safe. We remember laughing at the story of another gardening family who, two years running, left the potato harvest spread on the front porch until a freeze destroyed them, but we will laugh at such stories no more.