I drew a thing

Today I spent hours helping a friend with his freshmen thesis for his Technical Writing and Professional Composition course for his engineering degree. He decided to write his thesis on a design for using human and cow manure in integrated crop growing systems to recycle and preserve nutrients and soil quality.

I spent the day helping him with this report, digging out sources and helping him with citations. This is the sort of stuff I do for funsies in my free time after all.

Somewhere down the line I ended up drawing a nice diagram for him of a complete nutrient cycle. I figured I’d throw it on my blog for… I don’t know. Posterity?

Nutrientcycle.png

Yep. Exciting.

Eat up.

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4 thoughts on “I drew a thing

  1. Great diagram. Your brown cow looks mad. Maybe because he is going to be turned into food? Does bone breakdown in composting? Is that where we get bone meal from? Random questions that require more coffee and Google.

    • Bone does break down in compost but it takes a very, VERY long time (years). Bone meal usually is made by cleaning and drying the bones, sometimes heat-treating them, and then grinding them. By breaking them into smaller pieces they break down much easier and are more nutrient-available for plants.
      I know one person who makes bone meal in a piece of field equipment for breaking up ground by composting a carcass and then feeding the bones through to be cracked and shattered. Those are big bones, like horse and cow bones. Another person I know lives in the suburbs and bakes his bones in the oven until they start to char and then crushes them with a hammer inside of a sack. Most of my bones end up in the chicken pen where the birds eat all the meat off and they slowly get pulverized by the birds kicking them around in the wood chips. Sometimes I go out and find that they have unearthed beautiful, pristine rabbit skulls completely in tact. Some of my bones end up being eaten by my dogs or just sit forever in the compost. I should probably care more about processing my bones into bone meal… I have a bit of a calcium problem in my garden beds and get blossom end rot on my zucchini.

  2. I drew a similar analogy for my grandchildren when they were worried about me dying. I explained that when I die I’ll be put into the ground, which in turn fertilises the soil so that the grass and veggies grow, the cow then comes along and eats the grass and veggies, then the cow passes wind (which the grandchildren loved to hear, of course) and leaves a pat which fertilises the ground and the cycle resumes once again. So I will always be around. I just hope I haven’t put them off their veggies!!!!

    • Ha! Let me tell you, The Lion King really shaped my world view on death for that exact reason. It was my first real experience with death in media and to this day I still cry when Mufasa dies, but it really helped me comprehend the whole subject in a healthy way.

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