|Tuesday, December 15, 2009|
In early summer the delicate flowers of chamomile bloom profusely, creating a pretty, yellow and white carpet over their lacy leaves.
In early summer the delicate flowers of chamomile bloom profusely, creating a pretty, yellow and white carpet over their lacy leaves. We harvest them every few days and lay them on a table in a dark room to dry. Chamomile blossoms aid digestion and are used medicinally for stomachaches and insomnia. They are also one of the flowers buried in an animal part and put into our compost piles.
Yarrow, with its unique potassium and sulfur combination, helps give the compost the power to receive so much life into itself that it is able to transmit life to the soil. But we must also make the compost able to bind together the calcium compounds. Chamomile assimilates calcium, along with sulfur, which keeps the plants healthy and free from the harmful effects of fruiting. Calcium is important for moving nitrogen into the plant, and plants need this continual flow during reproduction to remain in good health.
Seeing that chamomile heals our digestion, we want to bury it enclosed in a piece of intestines. The cow is the supreme example of digestion in the animal world. Unlike the nervous deer sensing every sound and ready to leap away, a cow contentedly chews its cud and allows for human contact. You can hardly find two mammals with more opposite natures.
For eighteen days, grass gradually turns to manure inside the cow. First it goes into a large stomach, the rumen, which looks like a shag carpet inside. There must be miles of surface area, engendering amazing micro flora and fauna. Then the cow coughs it back up and chews it again. This time it goes down to the reticulum, and then to the omasum and finally the abomasums.
Each stomach lining is more refined than the one before, and the grass gets to looking more and more like manure. That’s what we find in the intestines. This whole process of digestion in ruminants created the possibility of agriculture, because these animals make more fertilizer than needed for the plants they graze on. The miraculous microbial activity generated inside a cow deserves our awe and respect.
The intestines hang on the isles of messentaria, and I cut them off with a sharp knife, being careful not to puncture them. They are a hundred feet long! I rinse them and cut foot long sections and tie one end off.
Chamomile tea moistens the dried flowers, and a small funnel is inserted into the open end. I stuff the chamomile into the section of intestines and pack it tight. Sometimes I have a blowout where the tie comes off the other end, or a hole opens in the side. But eventually I have a bunch of sausages, with chamomile in them instead of meat.
You may have noticed I did the yarrow two different ways, one with fresh yarrow in a reconstituted, dried stag bladder, and the other with dried flowers, moistened, and sewn up in a fresh bladder. Rudolf Steiner gave the simple instructions for making compost preparations in 1924 and then died soon after. I could kill him! Biodynamic practitioners ever since have been experimenting because we couldn’t get more specific answers to all the questions which arise and the different ways it could be done.
Sometimes I bury the sausage directly, but this time I decided to hang them up like the bladders for a few months. Then I find a place with real rich soil to bury them over the winter. The transformation when I dig them in the spring is obvious, the flowers are gone and a deep brown humus like substance is inside, slick, shiny, and ready to go into the compost heap.
We get a compost with a more stable nitrogen content with the added virtue of kindling the life in the earth. The earth itself will have a wonderfully stimulating effect on the plant growth, creating conditions for truly healthy plants. Chamomile’s tiny amount of sulfur attracts calcium compounds and draws them into the organic process. It’s the perfect flower to make sausages with to help enliven the compost piles.