Nature Is an EXTREME Composter—You Can Be Too!

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Learning From Nature

I admit it: I get a kick out of shaking things up. For years I listened to the rules on composting … then I shrugged, threw away the rule book, and decided to watch what happened in nature and copy the design I found there.

Basically everything organic can be returned to the soil. Paper, sewage, logs, animal carcasses, chicken soup … you name it.

And isn’t it much better to return these items to the soil than it is to dump them in a landfill? It’s a no-brainer!

In 2015, my years of experimentation and the knowledge I have gained were distilled down into the book Compost Everything: The Good Guide to Extreme Composting. The response was excellent, and the sales still continue to amaze me. It is transforming the way gardeners think about composting. Just throwing things away isn’t good enough anymore.

david-the-good-doing-some-extreme-composting

Unlearning the ‘Rules’

When I wrote the book I had no idea so many people would be willing to come along for the ride. It’s thrilling.

For years, we’ve been told not to compost meat … and then we’re told to use blood meal as a great organic source of nitrogen for our gardens.

We’re told to turn our compost piles regularly … but when we walk through the woods the leaves have created rich humus everywhere, no turning required.

We’re warned that human waste is incredibly dangerous … but every other creature on the planet fails to use a flush toilet with no ill effect.

People love recycling because it’s easy and feels like a good deed … yet those same people will often throw away a banana peel or a ham bone because composting is “too hard.”

It’s not hard when you do it like nature does. Composting is recycling “trash” into soil—and we should all be doing it.

Extreme Composting

Some of the ideas in Compost Everything are certainly extreme compared to the nice, safe restrictions foisted on us by well-meaning agricultural extensions and fuddy-duddy garden writers, yet nature itself is an EXTREME composter!

Why not see what she does and do the same?

TGN Bi-Weekly Newsletter

(This article was originally published on March 9, 2016.)

 

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Fire & Security.

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This post is brought about from a link that was recommended by lonewolf. At that link & saw a popular image of an “all night burning fire”. Now on a winters night an all night fire may seem like a good idea, & there are several ways of accomplishing this, but post shtf an all night fire in my opinion is not a good idea.

Any fire small or large, day or night has the potential to attract unwanted guests, so an all night fire is going to at least double that risk. Post shtf, there will be no safe wilderness areas, people will be on the move, raiders are opportunists & a fire glowing in the night or the smell of smoke will draw them like ants to honey. Because I am a living historian, my historical treks have to be as authentic as possible. Now even today there are risks in camping out, but back in the 18th century those risks were far greater. So I set myself scenarios. Some nights I have camped with no fire, this requires knowledge of how to stay alive in winter with little bedding, because bedding is bulky & adds weight to your pack. It also requires knowledge regarding what foods to carry, because with no fire, you can not cook food, so you need to carry some food that can be eaten without having to cook it.

Other nights I do light a small fire in a fire hole. This is a scrape in the ground to contain the fire surrounded by rocks back & sides. The heat reflects off the rocks back into my shelter, & they help hide the fire from prying eyes. But a small fire does not last long once I have fallen asleep, & at some time in the night the cold will wake me & I will stoke the fire from my supplies under cover behind my bed & from a supply of wood at the end of my shelter. Despite the fact that I am always mindful & therefore alert to sounds in the forest, this waking up from the cold is for me a security measure. It is an opportunity to look & listen to the sounds around me before I make up my mind as to whether or not I should re light or stoke the fire.

If I had placed a large log on the fire to keep it going all night I would probably sleep soundly, certainly I would not be waking frequently because of the chill seeping through my bedding. This would create a security risk, one because as I have already said, the fire would be noticeably visible from a distance at night, & secondly because I would not be so alert. Just something for you to think about next time you are camping out & practicing your skills.

Keith.

How to Run the Economy on the Weather. An interesting read.

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Stoneferry (detail), a painting by John Ward of Hull.

7 Stupid Things People Do In Survival & Doomsday Shows

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Over the past few years, the number of survival-related TV Shows has grown by leaps and bounds. On the one hand, you have the survivalist shows like Alone, Dual Survival, and Doomsday Preppers. And on the other hand, you have doomsday shows like The Strain, Falling Skies, and of course, The Walking Dead. Perhaps it’s […]

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6 Ways To Make Coffee When The Power Is Out

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Coffee can be the one staple that adds a sense of normalcy in hard times. You might even be one of those diehard coffee lovers who ritualize their coffee brewing. But what happens when the electricity goes out? There will come a time when the shit hits the fan and you find yourself facing the […]

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25 Items That Will Be Worth Their Weight In Gold After The SHTF

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When thinking about what to stockpile in case of a major collapse, it’s easy to get caught up in the big stuff and forget about all the little things. I’m talking about small items we use almost every single day and never think twice about until they’re gone. Things like soap, trash bags, toilet paper, […]

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