March 14, 2009

The root cellar.

The house has a root cellar:

DSC00056.JPG

I find it ineffably mysterious:

DSC00051.JPG

It might seem spooky to you...

DSC00053.JPG

... but here, to me, it's very sweet.

IN THE COMMENTS: Simon Kenton wrote:
We had a root cellar of Mormon provenence. The walls were lined with glass jars filled with food canned in the 1920s. Some of it looked much as food looks, some of it was black and powdery. And the whole place had become the Abode of the Spiders. Their webs brushed your face, your hair, and attached suddenly to it, and at the edges of your vision, you were aware of them darting about, wondering if you were ready for paralysis and transmutation into the not-readily-imagined consciousness of Lactrodectus mactans.

One could meditate on the hands and heart that had prepared that food, set it aside and forgotten it, now both dissipated; perhaps that was ineffably mysterious. But not even rose spectacles and emergent love, which we too experienced in our turn in that house, made that place 'very sweet.'

25 comments:

Lem said...

If you click on the largest Flikr you can see a ghostly reflection of what I take is Althouse on the window.

OMG. althouse LOOK OUT BEHIND YOU ;)

Penny said...

I will see your sweet potato and raise you with that parsnip I won in Thursday's poker game.

fcai said...

A root cellar speaks to a time of greater self sufficiency and the original "off grid" life.

Good times...

Lem said...

..speaks to a time of greater self sufficiency.. good times

Any moonshine gear by any chance ;)

Lem said...

My monitor is blinking (like those old tvs when you turn them off and on right away) every few minutes.. Its going to go any minute.

Anyway.. It looks to me like the real shroud of turin there in that picture.

Nice loot Althouse ;) How you pull it off?

save_the_rustbelt said...

Not that many years ago the cellar would have had a couple of potato bins and the shelves would have been full of home canned goods.

Simon Kenton said...

We had a root cellar of Mormon provenence. The walls were lined with glass jars filled with food canned in the 1920s. Some of it looked much as food looks, some of it was black and powdery. And the whole place had become the Abode of the Spiders. Their webs brushed your face, your hair, and attached suddenly to it, and at the edges of your vision, you were aware of them darting about, wondering if you were ready for paralysis and transmutation into the not-readily-imagined consciousness of Lactrodectus mactans.

One could meditate on the hands and heart that had prepared that food, set it aside and forgotten it, now both dissipated; perhaps that was ineffably mysterious. But not even rose spectacles and emergent love, which we too experienced in our turn in that house, made that place 'very sweet.'

Penny said...

Simon, that was well before RAID, the equivalent of nuclear to bugs.

Robert Jay said...

Spooky? Nope.

But dank, ugly, and marred by that PCV pipe.

OldGrouchy said...

The root cellar must be under the house and there must be an ice box in the kitchen, with a wooden stove, or perhaps coal fired, across that room. Also, the entrance to the root cellar must be an outside door with a slanted frame supporting it.

Step across the ditch carved into the earthen floor to avoid water running slowly down to the drain hole.

Wear a woolen sweater so you shan't shiver down there.

Also, cut out gun ports in case you must use it to defend your family when the Royalists raid the land looking for rebels objecting to the Messiah's Throne and his Hopenchange.

Synova said...

Root Cellars are wonderful... cool, earthy. They aren't anything like as spooky as a basement can be.

Of course, I have wonderful childhood memories of playing in the dirt root cellar under the old farm house we lived in when I was 6 or 7. The walls were even dug dirt instead of block or cement and we crawled from under the staircase to the upstairs, between boulders in the crawlspace and slid down into the cellar, eventually pulling enough dirt down to make almost a slide. There was a trap-door in the kitchen, too, but we never used that.

Synova said...

Every now and then I'm struck by how idyllic my childhood was.

I'm not quite to the point of romanticizing the years we had an outhouse. Not yet.

Lem said...

..that PCV pipe.

I think you mean PVC pipe.

SteveR said...

Looks like the scene from Silence of the Lambs.

Maggie45 said...

Looks like root cellars are making a come back:

http://tinyurl.com/bo52ck

MadisonMan said...

Root cellars mean radon.

HelenParr said...

You're near Scranton.
At Schrute Farms.
That's no root cellar.
It's a Schrute cellar.

Am I Dwight?

*Hi, Mose!*

David said...

The root cellar is void of roots--or anything else.

No survivalists here.

Wherever Ms. A has gone, the end is not near there.

Peter V. Bella said...

…when the Royalists raid the land looking for rebels objecting to the Messiah's Throne and his Hopenchange.

Ah, yes, the Sheriff of Nothingham! :)

class-factotum said...

My first stop every time I visited my grandparents was to the basement, where I would admire the neat shelves of canned tomatoes, pears, green beans, crabapples, carrots, and other bounty from the garden. Then I would go to the chest freezer and get myself a big handful of Cool Whip.

former law student said...

No one's mentioned yet:

Crock pickles with a weighted plate keeping them submerged.

Homemade sauerkraut.

Christy said...

I always swore I became an engineer so that I'd never have to can another green bean for the rest of my life. Lately I've taken my portfolio off my homepage and found myself pricing pressure cookers.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

We don't have a root cellar, but do have something similar. Our pump house is made of concrete blocks, insulated and clad with wooden siding. Because the wellhead is inside the pump house the cold air coming from the water below (about 120 feet) keeps the place very cool in the summer time. It is usually about 50 degrees in the summer. Conversely in the winter when it is sub zero outside the well keeps the temp slightly above freezing.

In addition to the canned goods and supplies we have a triple tiered wire hanging basket right over the opening of the well that is full of potatoes,onions, winter squash, garlic etc.

Very neat to not have to go to the store when I run out of something in the pantry inside the house.Root cellars are a practical idea and a window into our past as well as possibly our future.

Stock up people.

Nice old farm location that Althouse is blogging from. Spring is in the air even though it looks gloomy right now.

Dody Jane said...

I love the window picture - reminds me of an Andrew Wyeth painting

onparkstreet said...

How odd.

How odd and dreamy and poetic. The pictures and Simon Kenton's update, both.

I'm on another blog I've discovered, and the blog has a lovely image of a Vilhelm Hammershoi (sp?) painting, all doors and quite interiors, and I see this here on your blog.

How odd.

How odd and dreamy and poetic.