Our schoolhouse has a root cellar which is my saving grace and a thorn in my side all hiding under a heavy wooden door in my kitchen floor.
OK so it isn’t as bad as the one in the photo. I’m pretty sure no terrorists have ever been holed up there (other than that cadre of mice I’ve mentioned before) and Geraldo Rivera isn’t going to find any hidden treasure in there beyond a few old stubbies (old Canadian beer bottles) and our sump and water pumps.
Accessible only by a wooden door in the kitchen floor, it is about four and a half feet tall at the best spot and a few inches in other areas. It covers the entire footprint of the original house though it is cut off by the centre beam and the less than exotic pipes to and from the bathroom.
Access is gained via a rickety wooden ladder that my colleagues in health and safety would grimace over. Once down there you realize we’ve got wooden floor, a few inches or feet of air and then dirt (mud in some parts come spring).
That pocket of air stays warm even in the winter. That’s the saving grace. We never used to turn off the water and with a small amount of heat the house is good to go all winter long.
The thorn bit comes from when you get a really cold few days (last January) and a propane company that doesn’t deliver on time and the pipes… well the pipes start calling. Then they start freezing. Then we have to pee outside all spring until you find plumbers willing to go deep. And so this year when Ontario shows its bitter cold side off we’ll be shutting the water off for a few months.
My grandparents used to keep apples and potatoes and root vegetables holed up in bushel baskets down here. I’ve thought about doing something similar but it is quite frankly, gross and icky down there. I know all the hipster foodie morons (also gross and icky) are hip to this now and building root cellars in their condos beside their Ikea chicken coops but at least I’ve got olde tyme experience on the subject and I’ll be able to get down the ladder as I won’t be hindered by skinny jeans.
Here’s my inspiration:
My cellar isn’t all white and pretty like the hip chick in that article. But it could be. At least I hope so. I’ve dreamt of such a place and I’ve seen proof it can be done.
Every time I drive past Flynn’s turn I see these people’s clean and pristine billboard:
I can only assume this is expensive and involves oompa loompas with small buckets skipping up the ladder as they build a mountain of dirt in my backyard.
In the meantime I’ll continue my research. I found this great information on the National (American) Gardening Association site.
Some people will buy a Porsche when they win their millions or, like Pat, will build something called a “nacho cheese lazy river”. When I get to enact the millionaire clause I will dig the basement out and make it the biggest, most awesome root cellar with shelves lined with my veggie bins and mason jars of my preserves. There may also be a still but that is another story, another blog and likely criminal charges. Is www.beerbaron.wordpress.com taken yet? Dammit!