Turning Manure into Human Flesh

Forced to stay, mostly indoors; that or go to the gym (!) it’s time to rave about a book I was given as a Christmas present.
“One Man and His Dig” is written by valentine Low and covers, supposedly, his (and his family’s first year as plot holders.
It actually does much more than that. There is something of a very readable history of the movement which became allotments illustrated by well-chosen examples;
talk about techniques, the dilemmas and social etiquette of sites (not the same on every site of course), the small p politics andthe agonising that goes with having an allotment.

Here I reproduce a couple of delightfully non pedagogic paragraphs on composting:

“When we first started composting, it was a casual kind of thing. we needed somewhere to put all the green rubbish you generate on an allotment – the weeds, the old cabbage leaves, the lettuces that have bolted – and it is only sensible to put them on a compost heap so that when they rot down you can use them to improve the soil. It is a rather wonderful arrangement, in fact, this idea that you are constantly recycling the things that grow on your allotment, and that no sooner are you taking the goodness out of your soil than you are putting it back in again. But you cannot just stop at composting your garden waste – there’s all that kitchen waste to consider too: onion skins, potato peelings, carrot tops, less than perfect lettuce leaves that didn’t make it into the salad. There are other kitchen candidates,too, such as tea bags and coffee grounds and even eggshells, as long as you crunch them up a bit. All sorts of things can go into a compost heap, and every time you put something in the compost bucket that would once have gone staright into the bin, on its way to some landfill site or other, you feel a little tingle of staisfaction that, not only are you saving the planet, but you are also fattening up the cabbages for the year after n
My favourite compost ingredient, though, is human hair … we consulted the books, and apparently hair is perfectly alright for the compost heap …. reminds me of a remark Michael made one day, when someone saw him pushing a wheelbarrow full of manure.
“What are you doing with that?” he was asked
“Turning it into human flesh,” he replied.
which, when you think about it for a second, is a pretty succinct summary of the process. If anyone asks, we’rer turning human hair into, well, human hair.”

Thanks to those who gave me this book amongst all the others (about variuosly rock stars, wrestling, Petra). I love reading and the rain (don’t get me thinking that way again please!) has made me concentrate. My reading list for next year is now being opened. Any suggestions?ext.


One response to this post.

  1. Amusing. From dust we came and to dust we shall return – although our spirits live on.


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