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woensdag 3 februari 2021

How it started with composting. in the distant past.

 How it started with composting, in the distant past.

We came to live on a farm, by accident, or rather, luckily. We were, Stella and I, just married, the first baby on the way, and the farm was not only a kind of escape, but also an adventure, on the way to a future, but we didn't know that yet. I had found work as a lifeguard in a nearby village, so there was also an income, and besides the fact that we had to get used to the farm life, we also had to furnish the house to our taste, but also find a way in the problems that a house, which is not inhabited for a long time is, with all the inconveniences that this causes. There was no gas connection, which came later (and that in Groningen) and a pump for water. (Later we also got water mains). So it was a bit of a struggle, because we were used to differently, maybe it would now be called off-grid living, but we felt happy, and so did our children. Later we started gardening and keeping goats and cows, but in retrospect we should have left it at gardening. With gardening came composting. Reading books in the evening, gardening and renovating during the day. Rudolf Steiner came along through the books, and also 'gardening without poison' and other such books. But because Stella, my wife, and I had been involved a lot with art and music, we came up with the idea of ​​setting up a foundation. Foundation for the integration of art, craft, agriculture and society. A wonderful goal, but that was it for a long time. From the farm we came to live in a village, and I had become unemployed. I ended up on welfare, and was therefore unemployed. I then got the idea for an unemployment project, to help people find work, because there was not much work in Groningen at the time. Others were also interested, we got into the paper and there was movement. I had also worked out a plan, calculated the costs and benefits, but there was an amount of organic matter short in the whole, because the revenues went to the customers, and that had to be supplemented. The project was based on organic management, and it would work on the basis of workers' self-government, rather progressive at the time. So I came up short in the calculation of an amount of organic matter, so we went to Provincial Water Management to see if we could get ditch cuttings from that. But they made a different proposal, here you have 2 ha of land and you can start composting. The foundation also had a turnover, participants had found work, and that's how the compost company came into the picture. We had to find money to do it from scratch. It took a few years for that to come about, but it worked, and it involved a lot of money. There were also a number of major shareholders with their own backgrounds. But the company, as B.V. has come. In addition to provincial water management, Staatsbosbeheer was also a good customer of ours. Birdland was a natural crop and was easy to compost, in addition to ditch waste and reed. But the market was not yet ready for it. The Netherlands ran on peat potting soil, and we did not interfere. Ultimately, the VAM bought our company, and the company 'Tellus Natuurcompost' was sold to them. I got sick then, Stella did not want to work for them, and then we left for our house to start living 'normal' again. I also turned 65 and retired, and being sick, Stella became my caregiver. But then Portugal came into view, and we went there, and I am still there. This is where the idea came up again, to start composting. But because the circumstances here are completely different than in the Netherlands, we also had to find a different way of composting here. The air dryness is very strong here, and the compost threatens to dry out at start-up. So covering is very important. The soil is good, is in fact mineral-rich soil, only needs organic matter to feed the bacteria, to serve the plant. Stella died, even though of cancer, who not? And I try to keep up with the blog, the garden, the greenhouse and composting for a while. The environment is peaceful, and not many people live here, and now, with the corona it is so safe. This in short the story of how composting started. Just sighs out of adventure, the challenge of living outside, being active in nature (for which there is still), and growing your own vegetables, and I am still quite successful :) Hendrik.

donderdag 31 december 2020

Adventures, in an uninhabited area in, Alentejo, Portugal.

In the morning when I do my (meditation) walk, on the way to the river, I come across all kinds of things, which are amazingly interesting. First I have to go down the hill, past the compost and get the area. The site, which I have at my disposal, is 2 hectares in size, is full of olive trees and on the river side grows bamboo with blackberry bushes, here and there a cork tree with holm oak, and even cattail. The total area is about 30 hectares, where I can walk undisturbed. Centuries ago the river silted up the ground, close to the hill on which our house stands, and where the olive trees are. It is flat, with good soil, and further in the area there are hills, rocks and sometimes paths where you can walk. The river has been able to wear itself in over centuries and curves through the landscape. It is marked with large rocky outcrops, and to the side of it are tracts of land grazed by sheep.

To make a grazing area for the sheep, it is the custom here to work the soil with a disc harrow in August, then the young bushes die from the heat, and the grass and herbs just come up again, like the rain. coming. The hills are easily 20 to 30 m high and with their sometimes protruding rocks, they look dangerous. Sometimes a rock sticks out in the area, and you get the idea that it could fall at any moment. The grass that grows here and there is eaten by the pastor's sheep, that's what they call a shepherd here. The grazing of the sheep creates a walking area, with paths here and there, created by the sheep, because Mom is in front and the children behind. Such a herd usually consists of a hundred sheep, here in the area, and so the land is grazed to prevent afforestation. When the disc harrow has done its job, there remains a landscape with all clods of earth, where you can hardly walk over it. The tires of the tractor then make a gully, which then becomes a path, after a while of walking. And the sheep also make use of that.During my walk, while walking along the river, which has all kinds of rapids, and which you can clearly hear, I also encounter widening areas, where the rocks determine how wide the river can be. Gradually, and determined by the rocks, the hills then go up, with here and there on the rocks, lichens, which light up pale when the sun shines on them. When no rain had fallen this year, the river actually consisted of only stones and rocks. These are often rounded off by the flowing water, which has been flowing past it for centuries and which determine the shape of the stone or rock. There are loose rocks that look amazingly smooth, are often oval shaped, are superimposed, and weigh maybe tons. The rocks also consist of different types of rock and apparently there are differences between harder and soft types. I think the soft rock types also make a difference in the shape, they suffer more from the water in terms of wear and tear. The harder types of rock are blue in color, the softer types more yellow and red. And besides that, they are sometimes, in lower parts, overgrown with mossy undergrowth, which dry up in the summer, but when there is water again, come to life or the seed of it.In the winter, some water is left behind in pools, where the young and small fish get the chance to grow, also the frogs and sometimes a river crap. I can then sit on the rocks and watch all that life unfolding and moving in front of me. 

But one night there is still the long-awaited rain, and then the river is suddenly filled. An enormous amount of water flows through it, with all kinds of torn off shrubs, hay and leaves. The water is then brown in color, due to the soil that was flushed along, which also ends up in the barragem.Before the pastor came with his sheep, I had come across a sheep running free, from another pastor, who had crossed the then dry river, and I spoke with that in my way. But she didn't continue to trust me no matter how I spoke to her. I met her on a narrow path, and she stamped her paw on the ground to show me that she was there too. She then walked around me via a platform. One day she had a lamb with her, suddenly there was a sheep with eight legs :). The lamb kept turning around her, like a good lamb does. Staying close to the mother, because that's where the milk comes from. But a day later I found the sheep lying on its back, among the bushes, neatly with its legs tucked up. At first I thought she was dead, but when I found a path to it, it moved. I then pulled her out of the bushes, and then she was able to get up on her feet, and she walked away from me, chewing the cud. I did look forward to the lamb then, but I didn't see that anywhere then.

After a few days I found it, dead in the grass. The intestines had already been eaten out, and flies, fat mopeds, were on her skin. Then you see that nature leaves nothing unused. I think a wild pig killed it, or a fox, they are here too. But as time went on, more and more maggots emerged from the corpse. And the pig has already eaten it a few times. Bones were eaten away, the skeleton protruded more and more clearly from the skin. The maggots too. A pig must have a strong stomach to eat both the meat, which is long overdue, and the maggots that are also in it. I can imagine that this is not a story that is pleasant on your stomach, but that is how it goes in nature. Nothing is lost.

In the meantime, the river continues to flow as usual, millions of m3 of water are on their way to the barragem, the reservoir that collects all the rainwater, to provide horticulturists, agriculture and villages with water.The area I walk through, along the Mira River, comes from a long way, and there are even mines that use the water to wash the ore that is mined there. The area is characterized by the cork and holm oak, although many die from the heat. The holm oak is widely used for firewood. It burns for a long time and gives off considerable heat. This is how people warm themselves here, for centuries. The cork oak is for the cork, the wood is not suitable for burning. If the trees are left, only the bark remains. It can last a long time. But per square kilometer, sometimes only a few people live there. And one of them is me.

The sheep eat the grass, which is currently still rich in protein, hence the turds. Normally a sheep poops marble balls, like poo. If there is a turd in the grass, a pile of soil will be added from below. Then an animal will lay its eggs or maggots in it. Then, after a few days, the birds come to eat those eggs or maggots. They then poke out those eggs or maggots with their beaks and spread the turd in small pieces in the area where it was laid. Again nothing is lost. Then flies come to this and then lay eggs again.So nothing is lost in nature. Actually, there is a whole horde of eaters ready to strike at every easily digestible bit of food. And, after that, the animals come and eat the more difficult to digest food, until nothing is left. In addition to the grazers, pigs, birds, flies, caterpillars, butterflies, then there are the bacteria to finish the job. And so the landscape is kept clean, and here in Portugal, in the rainy season, the landscape gets its green, fresh color. 

Until summer comes again, and then that same landscape dries up to a brownish yellow area, where only the thorny trees and herbs can survive, until the rain comes. And in between, I try to find my way around perceiving it. During my walk, every morning, afternoon and sometimes evening, I experience that landscape and try to experience it. I often dream away in my mind, but often I can clearly see the different shapes of the trees, shrubs, rocks and stones. Especially the latter are also on my path, and sometimes I stumble over them, if I don't pay attention. There is one rock rising above the path that I keep an eye on every time I get there. Imagine him coming down, then what? Then I get pulverized and smashed down into the river. Don't think about it, yes, just keep going.

The rocks consist of layers of slate, which break easily and can be taken apart, trees can easily grow through them with their roots. The hills consist of stone dust that has decomposed into soil and rocks that are built from the same slate. You can also clearly see those differences merge into each other. In between are some trees and shrubs, and here and there grass, which is kept short by those sheep. Then, during the summer, the sun burns on it, and in the winter the rain makes it wet again, and so the soil washes down to the river. In a few centuries the landscape here will also become flat, but there are still a few seasons in between :). From Bega the ground is fairly flat, with dips here and there. The area where I live starts in the hills and continues to the west coast. Apart from the grazing of the sheep, nature is left to itself here. The heat of the summer and the rain in the winter make the area hot and cool. Overwintering is perfect here, and if you are lucky there is a lot of sunlight, with the accompanying heat. On my walks, I regularly pass by my lake, (that's how I consider it), and walk along the river, which, overnight, can increase enormously in strength and volume, and then also the noise, where the water flows. clears a road, between trees, shrubs and rocks. After a few days I found it, dead in the grass. The intestines had already been eaten out, and flies, fat mopeds, were on her skin. Then you see that nature leaves nothing unused. I think a wild pig killed it, or a fox, they are here too. But as time went on, more and more maggots emerged from the corpse. And the pig has already eaten it a few times. Bones were eaten away, the skeleton protruded more and more clearly from the skin. The maggots too. A pig must have a strong stomach to eat both the meat, which is long overdue, and the maggots that are also in it. I can imagine that this is not a story that is pleasant on your stomach, but that is how it goes in nature. Nothing is lost.

In the meantime, the river continues to flow as usual, millions of m3 of water are on their way to the barragem, the reservoir that collects all the rainwater, to provide horticulturists, agriculture and villages with water.

The area I walk through, along the Mira River, comes from a long way, and there are even mines that use the water to wash the ore that is mined there. The area is characterized by the cork and holm oak, although many die from the heat. The holm oak is widely used for firewood. It burns for a long time and gives off considerable heat. This is how people warm themselves here, for centuries. The cork oak is for the cork, the wood is not suitable for burning. If the trees are left, only the bark remains. It can last a long time. But per square kilometer, sometimes only a few people live there. And one of them is me.

The sheep eat the grass, which is currently still rich in protein, hence the turds. Normally a sheep poops marble balls, like poo. If there is a turd in the grass, a pile of soil will be added from below. Then an animal will lay its eggs or maggots in it. Then, after a few days, the birds come to eat those eggs or maggots. They then poke out those eggs or maggots with their beaks and spread the turd in small pieces in the area where it was laid. Again nothing is lost. Then flies come to this and then lay eggs again.

So nothing is lost in nature. Actually, there is a whole horde of eaters ready to strike at every easily digestible bit of food. And, after that, the animals come and eat the more difficult to digest food, until nothing is left. In addition to the grazers, pigs, birds, flies, caterpillars, butterflies, then there are the bacteria to finish the job. And so the landscape is kept clean, and here in Portugal, in the rainy season, the landscape gets its green, fresh color. Until summer comes again, and then that same landscape dries up to a brownish yellow area, where only the thorny trees and herbs can survive, until the rain comes. And in between, I try to find my way around perceiving it. During my walk, every morning, afternoon and sometimes evening, I experience that landscape and try to experience it. I often dream away in my mind, but often I can clearly see the different shapes of the trees, shrubs, rocks and stones. Especially the latter are also on my path, and sometimes I stumble over them, if I don't pay attention. There is one rock rising above the path that I keep an eye on every time I get there. Imagine him coming down, then what? Then I get pulverized and smashed down into the river. Don't think about it, yes, just keep going.

The rocks consist of layers of slate, which break easily and can be taken apart, trees can easily grow through them with their roots. The hills consist of stone dust that has decomposed into soil and rocks that are built from the same slate. You can also clearly see those differences merge into each other. In between are some trees and shrubs, and here and there grass, which is kept short by those sheep. Then, during the summer, the sun burns on it, and in the winter the rain makes it wet again, and so the soil washes down to the river. In a few centuries the landscape here will also become flat, but there are still a few seasons in between :). From Bega the ground is fairly flat, with dips here and there. The area where I live starts in the hills and continues to the west coast. Apart from the grazing of the sheep, nature is left to itself here. The heat of the summer and the rain in the winter make the area hot and cool. Overwintering is perfect here, and if you are lucky there is a lot of sunlight, with the accompanying heat. On my walks, I regularly pass by my lake, (that's how I consider it), and walk along the river, which, overnight, can increase enormously in strength and volume, and then also the noise, where the water flows. clears a road, between trees, shrubs and rocks.The river does not run along the same route every day. When it rains more, that same river will have to choose a different route due to more volume. And every time I find that fascinating. When I am back home, safe in my hundred-year-old history house, I feel liberated from all the ups and downs that I still have. The hilly landscape is full of different shrubs, trees, herbs and grasses, of which I don't even know the name, but my eyes recognize them, and that is important to me, more than a name. Especially the last bit up the mountain , takes me less and less effort, as a plain spoiled Dutchman :).

Hendrik.










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dinsdag 28 juli 2020

Composting garden waste, and the loss of what is be eaten.

Composting garden waste, and the loss of what is be eaten.

Why compost or an equivalent substance should be placed on a garden to compensate for the losses,
assuming that the garden soil contains sufficient rock dust.

Assuming that the waste generated by a garden is enough to produce enough organic matter after composting to compensate for losses, one must also include all losses that the body uses to do its activities, which are common in a normal life.

And there is a considerable loss in that. After all, all our movements, our emotions and our thinking cost energy. That is a loss on what can be returned to the garden. Only our poo and pies can be reused, and only after composting. And if one also counts the smell, then that composting can only take place well if there is a mixed substance, in that composting, that is purely organic, such as hay flour, straw flour, or sawdust. This concerns the nitrogen content in the mix, in addition to the nitrogen in the poo and piss.

Hay flour has a nitrate content of 19 to 1, straw flour 40 to 1, and sawdust 60 to 1. So if you want to avoid the odor, during use and composting, you will have to use a mixture that does not damage the composting, due to a nitrogen deficiency. Only hay flour comes closest to the ideal mixed product, more of straw and sawdust should be used more to compensate for the odor emission, but that is not possible because the nitrate content in these products is on the low side, so less straw and sawdust, but then the smell increases again. Even if you compost poo and pies with the garden waste, this will cause odor nuisance. But also the scalding, of the waste to be composted, also causes a loss in CO2.

The garden waste in itself has more water than organic matter in it, and cannot contribute to what has been extracted from the garden, through what has been used as food for humans. So in fact there is only loss, and the organic matter content of the soil will decrease. This can only be supplemented by purchasing organic matter in the form of green compost, or what goes for it. Only if one has an extraction area, from which one can extract hay to make compost, can one maintain a garden, in terms of organic matter.

In all kinds of methods, but especially with the Permaculture method, the losses can increase considerably by not using composting, and adding this to the garden and agricultural soil. It only takes time to find out that this has happened.

In order to compensate for the losses that can occur when using food production, it is assumed from this that in the total plan of action, a fetching area is included, in order to nullify those losses in the form of hay composting. Composting garden waste, poo and pies yourself requires meat-free and medicine-free eating behavior, because otherwise the residues also end up in the waste. The total waste to be composted will eventually have to be used on the collection area, to fill any shortages there, and to let crop diseases go as long as possible, so that they can no longer hurt on their way to organic matter. It must be assumed that the collection area is approximately 15 times larger than the garden and agricultural area. This is because hay mainly consists of air, with a stem around it. Adding fertilizer in the fetching area is of no use either, because it adds more nitrate to the soil, causing a disturbance in the absorption of minerals by the plant, which in turn is passed on to the garden and agricultural area. Which causes a disturbance there again. Only in a forest, where everything that grows there, also remains, including the corpses of the animals, etc., storage of organic matter can continue to accumulate, until coal starts to form, or oil. So a collection area must also be included in the total of a garden or agricultural area. One cannot do without it, otherwise one has to rely on the purchase of organic matter, from Far away istan :).

The book gives a good insight; Four Thousand Years of Circular Agriculture, by F.H. King. Translation and editing Sietz Leeflang. King recounts Chinese agriculture here before the road indicated by Mao.

Hendrik.

vrijdag 24 juli 2020

Thinking about thinking.

Thinking about thinking,

and the people who appear in it,
and my love for the silence that I now experience, now that I am with it,
and fill my days.

Why I think that people, who are serious about the environment and humanity, should retreat to the countryside to save a part of humanity, and nature from the great slaughter to come, including through coronavirus, the shortage of healthy food, the environmental problems that have already been set in motion, and the serious stresses that you experience from living in a city.

It is precisely the corona crisis that has shown that people in general cannot keep to any agreements, no matter how well intended, to achieve their safety and run away with it. Revolt and see it as their right to infect each other, under the heading that it is the government that deprives them of freedom.

This back to nature, back to the countryside, and back to the values ​​that arise from a way of living together, which comes from producing your own grown food, supplies, tools and consumer goods. With or without the use of intelligent systems such as internet and computer technology. Even though that will increase the footprint, in the beginning.

I think that life in balance with nature, has a steering influence on being human, and will therefore reduce our footprint to a minimum, precisely because the distance between man, environment and nature is shortened, by this way of living together . And I do not mean that the family has to be undermined by its way of living together, but that there are also possibilities for other forms to flourish, according to preference. What really matters is an agricultural and horticultural method, which gives the people who are going to embody it the opportunity to produce their own products, so that they are not dependent on industrially produced goods, services and food. The entire industry deprives people of its development and opportunities to live in balance with nature. The share of physical and psychological diseases, in the current social system, testifies to this. Everyday work with the hands and feet should be felt as normal again. And that is possible with a clear communication system. So living in small groups, surrounded by nature and with opportunities to communicate with others, who also live that way, gives a lot of possibilities. On the one hand, it will simplify our lives, thereby freeing us from the excessive pressures that our society is now putting on us, due to the surplus of people we have to deal with, because there is no more room, for space.

From this thinking, partly, my method arose, to compost grass-hay, to provide groups of people with the knowledge and skills, to grow their one food, and not to be dependent on society. Central to this thinking is the principle that organic matter serves the bacterial life, in the garden and agricultural land, to provide the same bacteria with energy to break down minerals for the plant, which then serves the same person, as food . Also the way that food takes through our body, not only gives us the vitamins, carbohydrates, proteins and minerals, but also directs the body, as part of the total nature and its influences. It is not without reason that the body consists of a large amount of water, and is therefore in direct connection with the environment. Thinking and dreams also affect digestion, and digestion influences our thinking and dreams.
So everything is connected to everything.

This thinking was co-driven by "The Report, of the Club of Rome", presented in 1970, and by reading, among others, Stephen King's book, "The Stand," published in 1978 , where very finely the coronavirus is already predicted.
Hendrik.

maandag 27 april 2020

Coronavirus, overall.

Coronavirus, overall.



I, here in Portugal, also have to deal with the Coronavirus. My daily activities take place in the area where I live. And I only come, to the village, once a week to do much needed shopping. In this rainy time, the vegetable grows like cabbage. And the river, which I pass twice every day, fills the reservoir with unprecedented amounts of water. Yet I realize, that this new reality, may take a long time. It is already mentioned the economy, one meter and a half, and I wonder what it does to us. No more shaking hands. No more  hugging. Waving at each other and an elbow kiss, because there is no other option, is just allowed. Telling a joke, what, what everyone  is good at, is lost due to the extreme distance that is needed for that. How long should it go, until we can get back together. I do not know. And the infection can strike at any time, because the signals, that indicate that you are infected are also not clear. You think, I don't have it now, and then suddenly, you do. And then the condition, which counts, and the age. I'm about eighty years old. Eighty is beautiful, we used to say, when you were driving on a back road, but now it starts to itch, when I think about it. And are we going to hold on, that economy one and a half meter, or will we huddle back together when the rules are relaxed? And then the circus starts all over again. The fact is that we are going to get it all, that corona. But not all at the same time, like now. But the virus has built into our existence, we cannot escape that. And an antivirus injection will take a long time. How do you anticipate?
I think we should learn to live with, as little travel as possible. That we should think about growing our own food. That cities must be dismantled because they are unsafe. The countryside will be repopulated. The craft will gain interest again, and the economy will again focus on self-development, whereby the fellow man will no longer be seen as an exploitation object, but, what he or she is, the fellow human being.
But how do you pass the time, if you live in a secluded home, no one is allowed to come by, and boredom strikes. Are we going to call everyone? Gossip about neighbors, acquaintances, relatives and friends. Are we finally going to read, see T.V., or are we going to think how it can go, further? Because there is also a good side, to the story. Before the industrial revolution was a fact, a society was quite used to behaving in its loneliness. They knew no better. We have it in our genes, as it were. Look to the piece; How green was Marx, except for it. So it is indeed about keeping a distance, not touching people again and again, because it is the right thing to do so, or because it is fashion. Fashion itself, too, places unheard of demands on materials and possibilities. The redundancy of the use of things like food, packaging, transport and services will have to be reduced to what is necessary. And the coronavirus, and the economy, one and a half meter, will regulate that. It is one or the other. And after this virus, there will be another one, because we travel too much and hang together too much. As a world we have become too much intertwined, and we now have to pay the price for that.
The many are not good, but the good is many. If we include this in our daily actions, we will make it.
I can now endlessly engage in reading, looking around me, talking to my cat, writing pieces and listening to my inner self. What do my thoughts say, and what do those thoughts say about another who is not there now? Who else can I talk to, because you exist in the eyes of someone else, but I'm still there. I can tell by the letters I type. Do I end up with the other person? Am I coming across, and what am I coming across?  These are the questions, we have in common today.
What does this have to do with composting? Laterally, of course. When I take my walk, especially in the morning, I measure the temperature, of the hay compost heap. It is now 25 degrees, the outside temperature is still 15 degrees, so the bacteria in the hope are still busy. If the heap temperature is equal to the outside temperature, I can move the heap from bottom to top. Where the garden is. The garden also keeps my attention, as do the weeds, the butterflies and caterpillars.
I also come across various things during my walk, especially when I walk along the river. The young fish, who do their best to grow up by eating. The turtles that are sunbathing on a stone. And when I come over and make some noise, they dive into the water. The Flore de Steffe, which shines with large, white flowers in the shiny green. The area, where I will mow, when summer arrives, is now full of flowers. And especially the Poppies, which are glowing orange between the culms. It's a joy to watch every time

What makes life pleasant here today? I think, that I like having so much space, at my disposal. That I don't have to share that with others. It may sound egoistic, but I might as well share it with a neighbor. It's more about sharing with others remotely. Being in nature, dealing only with yourself, also being able to save yourself, and offering help to others, if necessary, is an important part of that.

Nature comes to you when you are quiet, when there is no sound, when you are not making any noise. I notice that the birds, when I am very close, only notice me. Only then, will they fly away.

If you asked me now, do you always want to live like this? I would say yes, but I would like to have someone else around me. But that is not possible now, and that is how I am together with all those others, just as alone, as all those others, who are also alone, together.



Hendrik :).