Making Barrel Compost

Making Barrel Compost

In December Jesse and I made barrel compost and buried it in the hollow of an ancient oak that fell last May. We “stirred” eggshells and basalt dust into Biodynamic cow manure that Jesse got from his friend Seth (we do not have cows on our ranch) for a full hour, and then packed it into the buried hollow of the Valley oak that had shaded the old pioneer home Donald and I lived in while we built our house. The story of this oak (“When an Old Friend Dies”) will be published in the 2015 summer issue of Psychological Perspectives.

The buried cross section of the Valley Oak with another to use as a lid

We then inserted the six biodynamic compost preps, and after six weeks, stirred it again. We will check in another six weeks and it should be ready for our spring spraying.

We understand that the practice of resting manure within tree hollows was first practiced in eastern Europe before the Second World War, but the records of the results were lost (Klocek, Sacred Agriculture, p. 361). The energies of the cosmos are infused into the manure in that hollow, a true holding of opposite energies for something entirely new to form. Alchemy at work, the essence of biodynamic practices!

This tree in particular is one Donald and I loved. Perhaps this infusion of spirit into the fertility of our land is its parting gift.