Mother of invention

When an early hurricane knocked out power to our coastal New England town for 12 days once, the spoiled contents of many a local freezer and fridge were being hauled to the town dump or added to a compost pile.

 I would have none of it. I ran a small livestock operation at the time, and our two freezers held a small fortune in frozen vegetables and goat meat. I remembered from fishing trips to the North Country how old-timers kept ice all summer by burying it in sawdust, so a few days into the blackout, I dug a deep hole in the shade outside our barn, placed all our still-frozen food in plastic bags and laid them in the hole, maybe three feet deep. Then I bought two bales of peat moss, emptied them atop the food as insulation (peat moss has the highest insulating value of any natural material), and covered the whole affair with boards and plastic to keep out the rain.

 And then I waited. Day after warm September day passed, and I waited. A week, then ten days, and then the power came back on. I dug down in the hole, found the meat and vegetables still frozen solid, put them back in the freezers, and went about my business.

Not to understate matters, but that felt good.

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About lifegrower

Peter V. Fossel has been gardening since he was nine, and has been an organic farmer for the last 20 years. His most recent book, “Organic Farming, Everything You Need to know” was published by Voyageur Press, Minneapolis, 2007. He’s written numerous gardening articles for Organic Gardening, Horticulture, Country Journal, Out Here, and American Profile among others. He was Gardens Manager for The Hermitage, home of President Andrew Jackson in Tennessee before returning to Cape Cod to start his newest organic venture, Swan River Farm in Dennisport, MA.
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