Mort Mather Author Writer Organic Farmer Philosopher Thinker Restauranteur

How to improve your life and save the world.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Compost bins

I am building a compost box (from non treated hardwoods) as our neighbor complained about the "pile" (which is all it is right now)...I found a design that screens in the sides and the top of the box - which I need to do as my neighbor is concerned about bugs (though I haven't noticed a problem).
What kind of "hardware cloth" or screening do you think is safe for compost for an organic garden? --Thank you so much, Ash

If you are talking about screening like that used on screen doors, that would not be strong enough to hold the compost. The only bugs that might be a problem for your neighbor would be flies and those only if you compost meat or fish. Meat and fish can also be an odor problem so if you have close neighbors, I suggest you not put these on the compost. We keep a plastic bag in the freezer where we put meat and fish scraps. These can be composted by burying them either in the compost if you have enough going or in the ground. These scraps may attract animals (raccoons, skunks and dogs) that will dig them up. An open top bin such as I use will be enough to protect against most animals but if you have a problem, just put on a top.

The purpose of the compost bin is to keep the area looking neat, keep animals out, and keep the sides of the pile vertical which improves air circulation. I use about an 8 foot length of half inch wire mesh held together to make a drum shaped circle with wire. You can see a picture of this at go to “Farm” and at the bottom of that page you will find me turning compost. Before this I stapled the wire mesh onto wood frames which were screwed together to make a cube-shaped bin.

As far as materials that might not be OK to use, I can’t think of anything I’d worry about except treated wood.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

How to Lose Weight

My wife has a double chin in our wedding pictures. She had gained weight in just the four months since I had asked her to marry me. She wasn’t really fat but if I hadn’t already decided that I wanted to live with her wrinkles or fat or whatever, I would have been having some second thoughts. The first couple of years of our marriage calories were in the forefront of her thinking. Weight Watchers seemed to work best for her during this period. She would frequently give me some Weight Watchers concoction like a milk shake saying, “Taste this. It’s really good.”
“Mmmmm. Yeah, that’s tasty,” I dutifully replied but shortly afterward I would notice an unpleasant taste in my mouth. To get rid of the taste, I would eat or drink something. I pointed that out to her but I don’t think that caused the change but change did come shortly thereafter.
Barbara started thinking about food and how to make it taste good. She focused on organic and natural food and culinary delights rather than calories. The calories she ate were complex rather than empty. We define empty calories as those found in refined foods like white flour and sugar. The concept is that our bodies need a variety of nutrients. I don’t know how many different nutrients humans need but plants need at least sixteen. Our theory is that if the body is not getting something it needs, it will send out a signal asking for more food until the deficient nutrient is ingested. Since our body is not specific in its request we just keep eating. Actually we have found that we sometimes crave something that we figure our body needs, but it is safer to just provide the body with complex food regularly.
Whole wheat has got more nutrients than white flour. Likewise for honey and maple syrup versus sugar. Fruits and vegetables are loaded with what in the garden we call micro nutrients.
Barbara and I were married in 1969. Today we are in partnership with our son in a restaurant. Josh is an excellent chef using the best ingredients he can find. He is a great fan of the organic vegetables I supply. Barbara never got any fatter than she was on our wedding day. She is a trim sixty year old and I’m a fairly trim seventy in spite of eating a lot of great food at the restaurant. Many of our customers will ask how we stay so trim with all that good food. The answer may be found in another frequently heard comment. “I never eat vegetables but I ate all the vegetables on my plate.” The secret behind Josh’s vegetables? They are fresh, organic, cooked to order, and cooked perfectly. When we eat them we don’t leave any emptiness.
If you want to know more about the restaurant,