On-farm composting methods

“Composting may be divided into two categories by the nature of the decomposition process. In anaerobic composting, decomposition occurs where oxygen (O) is absent or in limited supply. Under this method, anaerobic micro-organisms dominate and develop intermediate compounds including methane, organic acids, hydrogen sulphide and other substances. In the absence of O, these compounds accumulate and are not metabolized further. Many of these compounds have strong odours and some present phytotoxicity. As anaerobic composting is a low-temperature process, it leaves weed seeds and pathogens intact. Moreover, the process usually takes longer than aerobic composting. These drawbacks often offset the merits of this process, viz. little work involved and fewer nutrients lost during the process.

Aerobic composting takes place in the presence of ample O. In this process, aerobic microorganisms break down organic matter and produce carbon dioxide (CO2), ammonia, water, heat and humus, the relatively stable organic end product. Although aerobic composting may produce intermediate compounds such as organic acids, aerobic micro-organisms decompose them further. The resultant compost, with its relatively unstable form of organic matter, has little risk of phytotoxicity. The heat generated accelerates the breakdown of proteins, fats and complex carbohydrates such as cellulose and hemi-cellulose. Hence, the processing time is shorter. Moreover, this process destroys many micro-organisms that are human or plant pathogens, as well as weed seeds, provided it undergoes sufficiently high temperature. Although more nutrients are lost from the materials by aerobic composting, it is considered more efficient and useful than anaerobic composting for agricultural production. Most of this publication focuses on aerobic composting.

Composting objectives may also be achieved through the enzymatic degradation of organic materials as they pass through the digestive system of earthworms. This process is termed vermicomposting.”

Source: On-farm composting methods

Andrew Weissmann | Merrick Garland Should Investigate Trump’s 2020 Election Schemes as a ‘Hub and Spoke’ Conspiracy – The New York Times

Mr. Weissmann was a senior prosecutor in the special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

“The tenacious work of the Jan. 6 committee has transformed how we think about the Jan. 6 rebellion. It should also transform the Justice Department’s investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

Before the hearings, federal agents and prosecutors were performing a classic “bottom up” criminal investigation of the Jan. 6 rioters, which means prosecuting the lowest-ranking members of a conspiracy, flipping people as it proceeds and following the evidence as high as it goes. It was what I did at the Justice Department for investigations of the Genovese and Colombo crime families, Enron and Volkswagen as well as for my part in the investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election led by the special counsel Robert Mueller.

But that is actually the wrong approach for investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection. That approach sees the attack on the Capitol as a single event — an isolated riot, separate from other efforts by Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the election.”

Meet the Peecyclers. Their Idea to Help Farmers Is No. 1. – The New York Times

For this article Catrin Einhorn traveled to Vermont, where she saw many different kinds of toilets.

“BRATTLEBORO, Vt. — When Kate Lucy saw a poster in town inviting people to learn about something known as peecycling, she was mystified. “Why would someone pee in a jug and save it?” she wondered. “It sounds like such a wacky idea.”

She had to work the evening of the information session, so she sent her husband, Jon Sellers, to assuage her curiosity. He came home with a jug and funnel.

Human urine, Mr. Sellers learned that night seven years ago, is full of the same nutrients that plants need to flourish. It has a lot more, in fact, than Number Two, with almost none of the pathogens. Farmers typically apply those nutrients — nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium — to crops in the form of chemical fertilizers. But that comes with a high environmental cost from fossil fuels and mining.”

Want to Sleep Like a Baby? 60-67 F  Try a Smart Thermostat. | Wirecutter

. . . .  Who can do this

“There are a few factors to think about when you’re picking a smart thermostat (we go over them in-depth in our guide to the best smart thermostat), but the first is whether the particulars of your home, and your existing climate-control system, are even compatible with a given model. In general, if you have central air, a Nest or Ecobee model is likely to be compatible—you can confirm in advance on the Nest and Ecobee sites—and the same is true of forced-air heating. Hot-water hydronic and steam heating systems may require additional wiring or the use of an adapter, which is typically DIY-able. Electrical heating typically includes a thermostat in each location already.”

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Paul Krugman | America’s Economy in the European Mirror – The New York Times

“Last week Eurostat, the European Union’s statistical agency, released a revised estimate of the euro area’s February inflation rate. It wasn’t a happy report: Consumer prices were up 5.9 percent from a year earlier, more than most analysts had expected. And it’s going to get worse, as the effects of the Ukraine war weigh on food and energy prices.

Britain hasn’t yet released its February inflation number, but the Bank of England expects it to match the rate in the euro area.

Of course, U.S. inflation is even higher, with February consumer prices up 7.9 percent from a year earlier. These numbers aren’t exactly comparable, for technical reasons, but inflation in the U.S. does seem to be running around two percentage points higher than in Europe. I’ll come back to that difference and what might explain it. But surely the fact that inflation is up a lot in many countries, not just America, is worth noting.

After all, the entire Republican Party and a fair number of conservative Democrats insist that the recent surge in U.S. inflation was caused by President Biden’s big spending policies. Europe, however, had nothing comparable to Biden’s American Rescue Plan; last year the euro area’s structural budget deficit, a standard measure of fiscal stimulus, was only about a third as large, as a percentage of G.D.P., as America’s.”

How Long Does Pasta Sauce Last in the Refrigerator? | Martha Stewart

Learn how long marinara sauce and alfredo sauce last in the refrigerator. Plus, get tips for storing and reheating them.

“Most jarred pasta sauces have a shelf life of about one year. However, once they’re opened, they should be used quickly. “After opening a high-acid canned food, like a tomato sauce, it can be stored safely in the refrigerator for five to seven days before being used,” says Shelley Feist, executive director of partnership for Food Safety Education. Aside from mold, there are no other visible signs that tomato sauce is past its peak. “You can’t see, smell, or taste the bacteria that can cause a foodborne illness,” says Feist. She recommends always reheating sauce to 145 degrees before using it to kill any bacteria that is a result of mild spoilage.

One way to retain the life of marinara sauce is by removing it from its original packaging. “While it is safe to store the food in the can, it will retain better flavor if transferred to a glass or plastic storage container,” says Fiest.”

Source: How Long Does Pasta Sauce Last in the Refrigerator? | Martha Stewart

David Lindsay:  I got food poisoning from the meat and vegetable marinara I made last night, and I’m confident that the culprit was the 8 day old marinara sauce. I asked google if I could wash the meat and vegetables, and reuse them with new marinara. Google couldn’t process this level of complexity.

I called my doctor, Robert Henry’s office, and it was 10 minutes before closing. I was put through to a nurse, but she didn’t take my call. Henry’s office is all business, and no customer service.

I called Dr. Bill Fischer, who hasn’t practiced in 26 years, and he said the question was weird, but he had no idea, but he eats old and out of date food all the time with out ever having any consequences. He recommended I leave the questionable food out  in the compost, or near the compost for the animals.

I then called Dr. Susan Gobel, and the pathologist thought it was an excellent question. She said, “The most common causes of food poisoning are killed by heat: salmonella, E.coli etc.  Blast everything with heat. Broil the remains in a flat pan at say 500 degrees till it all turns a little crispy.”

I will report back with the results of this little almost scientific experiment. As they say in Star Trek, Live dangerously and Prosper.

Jamelle Bouie | Why We Are Not Facing the Prospect of a Second Civil War – The New York Times

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/15/opinion/why-we-are-not-facing-the-prospect-of-a-second-civil-war.html

“. . . .  Plantation agriculture rapidly exhausted the soil. The sectional balance of Congress aside, planters needed new land to grow the cotton that secured their influence on the national (and international) stage. As Karp explains, “Slaveholders in the 1850s seldom passed up an opportunity to sketch the inexorable syllogism of King Cotton: the American South produced nearly all the world’s usable raw cotton; this cotton fueled the industrial development of the North Atlantic; therefore, the advanced economies of France, the northern United States, and Great Britain were ruled, in effect, by southern planters.” The backlash to slavery — the effort to restrain its growth and contain its spread — was an existential threat to the Southern elite.

It was the realization of that threat with the election of Abraham Lincoln — whose Republican Party was founded to stop the spread of slavery and who inherited a federal state with the power to do so — that pushed the Southern elite to gamble its future on secession. They would leave the union and attempt to forge a slave empire on their own.”

David Lindsay: This is a great essay, and it had me struggling with the hope it is right. The following comment helped articulate some of my reservations.

haigh

The majority of southerners did not benefit from slavery and even the plantation owners could have paid salaries and possibly made higher profits, as F.L. Olmstead believed he had proven after taking a year off from his practice to study the issue. He was shocked that friends who owned plantations were not interested in his findings- he decided the reason was that it was absolute power and not profit that motivated devotion to slavery. However, civil wars, like traffic accidents, are caused by different things in different countries in different eras, and they are often the result of ethnic hatred, often hatred exploited by politicians seeking power. Ignorance and resentment are key and the GOP donor elite has spent the last 50 years recruiting voters who embrace ignorance and resentment. These mostly boil down to very superstitious religious constructs and resentment, even hatred, of the professional class and “non-whites”. These people, seemingly allergic to exercising deductive reasoning, have never in our history been so concentrated in a single party, and like drunk passengers on a boat, if they all congregate on one side, the boat may capsize. This has led to a largely dysfunctional government, but however well armed many members of the GOP base may be, our military would have to split up against itself to create a civil war. More violent civil unrest is the more likely outcome to our current situation.

4 Replies200 Recommended

Greg Weiner | There Is Another Democrat A.O.C. Should Be Mad At – The New York Times

Mr. Weiner is a political scientist who was a senior Senate aide to Bob Kerrey, Democrat of Nebraska.

“Progressive Democrats in the House of Representatives can be forgiven their anxiety about whether Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona will support the more than $1.8 trillion Build Back Better plan. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, for example, rues the two senators’ outsize influence, while her colleague Rashida Tlaib of Michigan worries that Mr. Manchin and Ms. Sinema are “corporate Dems” led astray by special interests.

But if disappointed progressives are looking for a Democrat to blame, they should consider directing their ire toward one of their party’s founders: James Madison. Madison’s Constitution was built to thwart exactly what Democrats have been attempting: a race against time to impose vast policies with narrow majorities. Madison believed that one important function of the Constitution was to ensure sustained consensus before popular majorities could prevail.

Democrats do represent a popular majority now. But for Madison, that “now” is the problem: He was less interested in a snapshot of a moment in constitutional time than in a time-lapse photograph showing that a majority had cohered. The more significant its desires, Madison thought, the longer that interval of coherence should be. The monumental scale of the Build Back Better plan consequently raises a difficult Madisonian question: Is a fleeting and narrow majority enough for making history?”

Margaret Renkl | For the Butterflies — and the Rest of Us – The New York Times

Ms. Renkl is a contributing Opinion writer who covers flora, fauna, politics and culture in the American South.

“NASHVILLE — For Christmas last year, my husband ordered a sign for my butterfly garden from the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, a nonprofit that works to protect insects and other invertebrates around the world. “Pollinator Habitat,” the sign reads. “This area has been planted with pollinator-friendly flowers and is protected from pesticides to provide valuable habitat for bees and other pollinators.” A note about where to find out more information includes a QR code that takes a smartphone straight to the Xerces Society’s “Bring Back the Pollinators” initiative.

National Pollinator Week begins on June 21, which is also the first full day of summer, a season we associate with bees and butterflies. What better time to launch an awareness campaign for the insects that are directly responsible for food and flowers? And what awareness campaign could be more necessary in an age when insect populations are crashing? Most of us know a butterfly when we see one, but their habits and habitat needs — and the perils they face — are another matter altogether.”

David Lindsay Jr.

David Lindsay Jr.Hamden, CT | NYT comment:

Wonderful essay, thank you. I’ve joined No Mow May, and put up a Pollinator Way sign. To my pleasant surprise, the Republicans on both side of my yard also this spring did not mow their lawns till May was almost over. Bonding with Republicans over lawn care, who would have thought. There are still dozens of neighbors not yet onboard. The best solution would be a town or state ban on pesticides for home owners. We are enjoying fireflies in our back yard, but there are just a few, when there used to be hundreds.