Bare Bones Biology 235 – Compost

Today I leave home and again and head for the hills, where the air is clean and my body rejoices in being alive.


Of course, I came home for the election which is my contribution to the welfare of the community – and some good things are happening in the State, as well as at the University that I don’t have time here to talk about, but while I was gone, apparently the entire University library changed over from journals to computers. Well, I have a computer, and if I don’t forget how to make the connections and they don’t change the system again, I can now once again rejoice in reading my journals.

I would look up compost (
bare-bones-biology-234-soil/) except I doubt the journals have as much good practical information as you can find for yourself on the web. Composting is the art, science and craft of piling up organic waste from this year – I mean the leftovers from your living, like food and garden plants and leaves and whatever is Non-GMO and otherwise clean of man-made chemicals and pile it all up and let it decay. Add some dirt, or better some good rich compost from the years before, stir it from time to time, and let nature do her work.

It’s not hard at all, it’s nature’s way. The most important part of nature’s work – I mean the most important part if we want to nurture Life – is the process of death, decay and revival of living things, and as is true of all living processes, it’s the cycle of Life. So if you do a good job with the composting of last year’s living things, and then put them on the garden to nourish next year’s living things, and if you carefully select your plants and give them what they need to be healthy, then next year they will help you to live healthy.

In Life, what goes around comes around.

141128-Sette-ASC_2872RLSs copyHowever, my compost is not decaying well at all. It’s cold in the mountains. That’s one thing. The little micro-organisms that live in compost are probably cold. Another problem I can see is that I’ve used too much of big old stiff weeds that will take a long time for the micro-organisms to break down, but they can decay trees, if they have time enough, so I expect it might need another year to get a good start, and then it probably needs to be watered and I should add more of coffee grounds. Food scraps tend to attract bigger organisms that I don’t want wandering through my yard (like bears, rats, raccoons) so maybe I’ll move it farther away and put it in a metal barrel. Then I would probably have to punch some holes to let in air for the combustion process.

The micro-organisms need air, just as we do, because they are are doing the same sort of digestion process in the compost as we do in our digestive system. Nearly all organisms on earth today get energy from eating and digesting organic materials. That is, substances that are made of things like carbohydrates, lipids, proteins and nucleic acids. We do this in our digestive systems, and, in the body of the Earth, if it is healthy, the same thing happens. Plants and animals die and fall to the forest floor, or wherever they live, and all the organisms that are part of the soil, they eat the dead organisms, and the result is good soil, out of which new life grows.

That is the cycle of how we stay alive. We eat plants, micro-organisms eat our organic wastes to make soil, water and air — the plants eat the soil, air and water to make more food for us. The sun gives energy to the plants to keep the whole cycle going. It is the cycle of the whole, healthy Earth.

The best way for us to be healthy is to participate in this cycle –


This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of FactFictionFancy and KEOS Radio, 89.1, in Bryan, Texas.

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