Friday, June 29, 2012

Honest labor

I'm harvesting romaine, broccoli and basil. Even though they aren't quite mature, when I need an onion or a bulb of garlic I pull one. Michelle Obama is right to encourage more people to do this. It doesn't necessarily represent much of a monetary gain, unless you get really ambitious. But it does encourage you to make fresh vegetables the centerpiece of your meals. And, once my Brandywine tomatoes start to ripen, it will give me something that is impossible to buy in the grocery store. As the summer matures, I'll be bringing in unlimited quantities of peas, lima beans and sweet corn.

It's also a bit of physical work, which most people don't do any more, which is a major reason we are dying of fatness. I also spent a bit of time today digging out rocks, which I must do to expand the extent of lawnmower friendly regime and ultimately create the orchards and gardens of my dreams.

If you pay attention to the world around you, it will become apparent, without the effort of getting a geology degree, that creationists are nuts. The story the geologists tell is that the formation to my south and east once called the Outer Lands -- Long Island, Block Island, Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard and Cape Cod, along with the smaller island and shallow seas around them, is the terminal moraine of the Laurentide Ice Sheet. Here in my little part of the Shetucket River valley, on the steep hillsides including right behind my house, are exposures of the bedrock, which is a beautiful shale filled with mica, gray with ruddy stripes. It spalls apart over the centuries into flat and square pieces.

I have the notoriously rocky New England soil. Anywhere I put down a shovel, I hit rock. A lot of it is that local bedrock, but a lot of it is not -- there are chunks of granite, quartz cobbles, all sorts of stuff I can't name offhand. But it all obviously came from somewhere else, and got dumped here in a big pile that eventually got covered over with soil and silt and clay washed down the hill and vegetation grew and died. I can easily uncover that story with a few swings of the pick.

True enough, I need somebody to explain to me that this was all scraped out of New Hampshire and Massachusetts by a glacier that flowed through this valley until 14,000 years ago. But that makes sense. It is consistent with what I see. That a supernatural being put it there for no apparent reason is not an explanation.

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