Getting ready for winter

Well, it's starting to get cold again already, and we've even had a little bit of snow! So winter preparations have begun. I'd love to be able to say that we've got our massive autumn harvest stored away to keep us fed over the winter...but that would be our neighbours, not us! We've been given lots of pumpkins, cabbages, green onions, sweet potatoes and Chinese cabbages by different people we know, endless gratitude goes out to them! This year we only really succeeded in growing massive yellow zucchini, but I don't think it's entirely all our fault. I asked one of my old lady friends who lives up the road and has an amazing veggie patch what I could do to improve the soil, and she said after a bit of a silence...'....hmmm...grow sweet potatoes perhaps....?' essentially saying that the case was hopeless. She then offered to let us use some of her land next year instead, so we'll take her up on that and see how we go!

What we have done this year that we didn't do last year, is have a go at drying some persimmon. An embarrassingly small amount, but still, you've got to start somewhere!

Here they are. I peeled them, doused them in cooking shochu to stop them getting moldy, and hung them outside where they get lots of sun, but are still under the roof so they don't get wet in the rain. They're actually astringent persimmon (as opposed to the non-astringent, sweet type), so unless you do something to them first, they're pretty horrible I'm told. There seem to be a few options, one of which is drying them. Don't ask what else you can do with them, this was the simplest, and was as far as I was willing to go at the time!

And here's the most important part of getting ready for winter - yuki-gakoi. Boarding up the windows to make sure they don't break under the weight of the snow. We're very lucky and don't have actual boards like a lot of old houses still do, but have clear perspex-type covers instead. This means that we still get light into the house during winter, as long as the snow hasn't piled up too high. (The photo above is the shed where all the covers are kept the rest of the year).

Y. pretty much did all the hard work. Thank you!


  1. I love to see the persimmon hanging from houses at this time of year! I don't envy you the snow, I'm happy with the light sprinkling we get here. Does the plastic covering help to insulate the windows much?

  2. Hey! I think it must help a bit, but being an old house there are so many places for the cold air to get in. We had snow blowing directly into the kitchen last year! I think we've found most of the gaps now though and covered them up with that foam tape stuff, so this year we should be a lot warmer right from the beginning!

  3. Battening down the hatches hey? Hopefully it won't be too hard a winter. Looking forward to some sweet potato and pumpkin recipes! lou x