Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Ashes to Ashes

The phrase "Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust" is often used in funerals but doesn't appear in the Bible. It comes from the funeral service in the Anglican Book of Common Prayer. It is based on Genesis 3:19, Genesis 18:27, Job 30:19 and Ecclesiastes 3:20. Those reference all say we are made from and return to dust. The Bible uses the word dust for the elements of the earth.

When a body decays what is left is compost and minerals. Not trying to be morbid here, those are just the facts.

How do these minerals and other nutrients get into our bodies in the first place. I'll bet you are way ahead of me here. They come from the foods we eat.

Did you know when the cell utilizes nutrients there is an ash formed from the metabolism of the nutrient. Nutritionists talk about some food being alkaline and others being acidic. It is this ash that they are talking about. So when they say limes are alkaline even tho they taste very tart and acidic, it is the ash that is alkaline. I'm getting off track a little here as I wanted to talk about soil.

Soils are formed from the weathered minerals, pyrogenic minerals, and organic matter. Let's dig a little deeper...

Organic in this case means molecules that are carbon based, typically formed by the break down of dead plant and animal material. Humus, lignins and compost are good examples of this. These organic materials contain minerals from the original materials (ashes to ashes) they were made of. Leaves are a great source of compost because trees bring minerals up from deep in the bed rock and "recycle" them to the surface of the soil in their leaves. High in carbon the leaves  either molder (ashes to ashes) by breaking down slowly at the surface of the forest floor, or if there is nitrogen available from green plant or animal manure they heat up from thermogenic bacteria and form compost. Compost is mainly humus, or trillions of dead bodies (ashes to ashes) of the bacteria that feed on the organic matter.

Pyrogenic minerals are from plant materials that remain after the action of fire. They maybe in the form of charcoal or biochar or from wood burned to heat or cook. These minerals have been brought to the surface by the trees or other plant stover. The early American pioneers used ashes from their fires to enrich their gardens.

Weathered minerals are inorganic minerals broken down by the process of weathering from the original bedrock.

All of these processes return minerals to the surface of the soil. It is minerals that make up a strong and healthy body.

Many of these minerals have been mined from our soils by modern agricultural practices and are not returned.

Therefore the food grown in our soils does not have the mineral content that it did even 20 years ago.

We use compost, biochar, clean ashes, kelp meal, fish emulsion, mineralized salt, and rock powders to return  the minerals to the soil.

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