One pea bed in the home garden is ready for planting. I took finished compost, which is basically now a rich topsoil, from various piles around the place and spread it — at least two inches deep and eight feet wide for about 60 feet.

Maggie wants the peas in Good Friday, tomorrow as I write.

I’m going to have to make a few more pea beds. I’ll have to fence them as well, probably with portable electric netting. The deer people, the poultry people, and the goat people must not be allowed in.

Maggie wants snap peas and edible pod peas. She feels like regular peas just take too much time. The edible pod types give our freezer a spring boost.

I have to admit, getting them to eat through the winter is a real plus. Frozen vegetables — what did we do without them a century ago up here in the North?

Talking about spring boost, I don’t think the Adirondacks have much of a spring. We are like Iceland, but with trees. The seasons are winter and summer.

As far as I’m concerned, summer could have come sooner.

Even though I can still see patches of ice in the woods, and there is some ice still in compost heaps, I can put in fence posts, and spread manure and compost, and for the most part frost is out of the gardens.

In the past week of digging out sheds and feeding areas, I have created two small mountains of compost. One will be finished in a month. I put the stuff that was already heating up in that.

The other, made up of hay and chafe, stuff raked up from around the yard, fresher stuff, all went into the pile that will be finished by fall.

No compost rollers for me. Just mighty piles that I work in with my pitch fork and the bucket loader every now and then. After that, I invite the poultry to climb and work and eat the worms and all the other stuff I’ve churned up, and continue flipping the pile for me.

I read recently that if all the world’s farms used traditional organic methods, enough carbon would be captured from the atmosphere that we could reverse the carbon atmospheric build up within a year.

I believe it.

When I first started gardening here it was sand. Now it looks like Palatine black soil or black prairie soil.

That black is carbon. The more we add to the soil, the less there is in the air. We don’t need to build machines to pump carbon out of the air. We just need to take advantage of nature, and enjoy the benefits.

There is no down side, unless you think physical labor is a down side.

Of course it’s not. If I didn’t work for long hours, I’d probably be dead by now. But I feel pretty good when I spend day’s working, from can until can’t.

We are built to use our bodies. If we don’t we are guaranteed to start falling apart.

Plus, we’ll get to eat good, non-poisoned peas from the freezer next winter.

Forrest Hartley lives in Hadley. He is happy his children are home for Easter. You can leave a message at new_americangothic@yahoo.com.


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