Digging the Potatoes.
The work of digging the potatoes has not fundamentally changed during the last 50 years. Potatoes are usually dug in October as they are then ripe. Potatoes are ripe when the potatoes do not adhere to the roots of the stalks. The potatoes are dug by means of an ordinary spade or with a graipe. The digger stands on the ridge, or sometimes in the farrow, when digging. An experienced digger throws the potatoes out on the ridge, so that the "quire" or "corry" of dug potatoes seems as if the potatoes were arranged by hand. An inexperienced digger, on the other hand, leaves a straggling line of potatoes in his wake, with a certain amount of potatoes left buried in the clay or in the "shough" (furrow) A picker follows the diggers. He picks the large potatoes for human use into a can or bucket When the bucket is filled, he empties it into a creel, and so on until the creel is filled. A creel is a wicker vessel which usually holds about 1 cwt of potatoes. The farmer, however, measures the amount of his potatoes by volume called "barrels." A "barrel" of potatoes contains ten creels, so that by keeping an account of the number of creels dug, a farmer can estimate almost exactly the amount of potatoes he has. A shallow pit, about 3 feet wide and several yards long, is
- Peter Brennan