Thursday, 9 August 2007

My utterly, utterly beautiful compost heap

I am being nagged unmercifully by Ann yet again. I've been told to get on and write another post. So today's offering is about my glorious and wondrous compost heap, but first I must get rid of Scaredy who is insisting on sitting on my lap while I type.

I just love making compost. There is something so earthy and wholesome about messing about in the heap, digging it, turning it and watching the worms chomping their way through all the crap.

This is the compost heap currently in use.

My latest toy is a shredder. When The Wren was here last time, she suggested I bought one to dispose of any paperwork of a personal or confidential nature. (Oh, I wish). I've taken to shredding like a duck to water and everything goes in it, all the junk mail, bills, receipts etc. I have also discovered that the shredded paper makes excellent compost. I mix it in and it does wonders to the texture of the heap.

This is the heap that I am still building complete with a topping of sheddries.

And this is the heap which is complete and is slowly going off.

Peter is well known for losing things, and I don't think he has twigged yet that the lost items have probably gone through the shredder. Whoops, there goes the gas bill.

I have a number of heaps scattered around the garden in secret places. There is one hiding behind the Acanthus. I'm rather proud of this plant as I originally pinched a cutting from Peter's sister's garden and it certainly likes it's position in front of the heap.

The Wren and I have long and technical discussions debating the pros and cons of compost heaps versus compost bins. She owns a couple of bins and whereas her compost goes off quicker than mine does, mine is so much easier to get at with a spade. The contents of her bin that is in the process of going off, smells and looks like a sewage farm. She says it is something that should be used in I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here! It has been so hot in Brighton recently that the temperature inside the bins has soared. The snails inside have now cooked; l'escargot a la jardin she is calling her new recipe!

Wren's compost bin.

Chopped up comfrey really speeds up the going off time. I grow a lot of it, and as soon as it starts getting too tall and flopperty, I cut it down and shove it in the heap. The comfrey grows so quickly I can usually get three or four harvests a year.

One of my rather moth eaten comfrey plants.

I like to wear little rubber pumps while I'm gardening, a bit like cut-off wellies. If I'm not careful to put these high out of Badger's reach, she steals them and makes off with them. I rescued one from the flower bed yesterday.

Please note the chewed up fashion statement.

Now that it has become hot again, Scaredy's latest favourite place is in the back porch, curled up next to Peter's trainers.

And finally, Badger playing with her favourite toys: a deflated football and a plastic plant pot and Scaredy daintily sitting amongst the bonsai disdainfully watching Badger behave like a hooligan.


Ann said...

Silly you, saying that you had nothing to write about! Oviously you have stinking great heaps!

Loved it sweetie.



lorenzothellama said...

Mmm, how are your heaps, Ann?


today's word is: goodmowing

Merisi said...

Compost heaps look quiet lovely to a girl who grew up playing on dunghills (in the winter, sledding: they were sort of the highest hills where I come from). :-)

Merisi said...

Quite (thinking of dung makes my brain go haywire *g*).

Ex-Shammickite said...

The reason we sift our compost is that sometimes sticks and stones get in it by accident, and I have no idea how they get there, I think they sneak in at night, just so that we'll take notice of them, they are just seeking attention I think.

Rauf said...

Hi LORENZO, i really wish i had some secrets and lots of confidential stuff, many rusty locks and big keys, to a rusty safe, one fine morning i open the safe CLANG DHANGG and burn all my secrets.

Everybody has access to my things i have nothing personal, all my friends know my passwords, i know theirs. All my friends use my cameras.
Hi Badger
Hi Scaredy.
hope you are fine Lorenzo
lots of love

Lavenderlady said...

Yes...I compost...I like your idea about adding shredded paper...I have plenty of that.

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

I think that there is a significant spiritual analogy in the differences in the way you and your friend compost - open to air to make sweet smelling fertilizer versus closed off and making rank, even unusable nasty stuff - it seems to me that this closed in system that is not allowed air it is rather like unconfessed sin in our own lives.. producing putrid rot and never seeing the light of day or confession

But, I am falling alseep at my computer - so what do I know??

Ann said...

Halfmum - do you mean to confess to God, or do you mean to confess to your fellow-man? Or both?

lorenzothellama said...

Halfmom: I don't think your anology about the compost bins bears out in reality. The Wren's compost in the bins breaks down really quickly because it gets hot inside so the chemical reactions occur quickly. The compost she produces at the end, much quicker than I do, is sweet smelling and nutricious. Mine is a long slow process. Incidentally, I just chuck the twigs and unbroken down vegetation onto the next heap!


lorenzothellama said...

I know what you mean about secrets although my secret compost heaps are generally known to all who visit the garden!

I think people who have a lot of secrets keep them as a form of self defence.

Badger and Scaredy say 'Hi' back!

Merisi said...

You asked if I "really did go sledding on dunghills?!". *chuckle*
For sure! "The earth is flat" where I come from and those hills were quite tempting for us kids. They freeze nicely and are covered with clean white snow in winter. Where do British farmers put their cows' dung? Ours each accumulate a pretty little private hill of it. ;-)

Ruth said...

Yay! I'm quite happy to see your post about compost. We are debating between heaps and bins ourselves, so your discussion is helpful. I like the idea of it taking longer and not being as smelly. I had never heard of composting shredded paper, but it is grand to think of that along with food waste.

Raelha said...

What lovely heaps!

We'll have to think about adding shredded paper to ours. We have open ones, but only because we can't find suitable bins - we had two wonderful ones in Wales, free from Merthyr council too - they were big plastic cones, open at the bottom and with a lid on. You could just lift them up over the compost once it was ready. The trouble with the open ones now is, being in the middle of the country, they attract mice and rats. We've had to stop putting eggshells in them for this reason.

Raelha said...

That was a quick reply! I had a quick trip to Wordimperfect - congrats on the win! - and then there it it was!

Matt refuses to put eggshells in the compost now - we don't need any more mice in the house he says, which is true, especially given how pathetic the cats are at catching them indoors. I do try and sneak the occasional one in though.

Raelha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Raelha said...

Ooops, sorry, I accidentally posted the comment before I'd finished.

I didn't add in the post that Elbi swatting my face to make me get up and fill up the food bowl, is a very common way for me to be woken up - has Scaredy been giving her tips?

Anonymous said...

"...rather like unconfessed sin in our own lives.."

Now I don't know much about compost heaps but I know a big pile of shite when I see it!

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

Humm, your friend must have a different source of air circulation because good compositing requires oxygen so you get decomposition rather than putrification -

hense the need, for those of us who don't use commercial composters, for stirring the pile every now and again, turning it over and over and around and get some addititional oxygen stirred in.

Without the oxygen, all your raw ingredients just rot - and do not make the lovely composte you were trying for in the first place.

For our anonymous friend, I think that Kind David said it best in Psalm 32 when referring to his hidden sin, "when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long, for your hand was heavy on me an my strenght was sapped as in the heat of summer. THen I acknowledged my sin to you, my iniquity I did not cover. I said, my sins I will confess to the Lord and you forgave the guilt of my sin."

Seems to me that if unconfessed sin troubled David, a man who God said was His friend and a man after His own heart, how much more does it weight me down.


Craver Vii said...

Tell me about the worms. Did you put them in or did they just find their own way? And if you put them in yourself, where does a person buy worms for composting? Any special kind of worms?

I'm new at composting, and not very good at it yet. So far, I have a big bunch of grass clippings. I've come to discover that those are "greens" and I also need an equal proportion of "browns." Not only that, but I recently read that perrenial seed heads from dandelions or thistle should NOT go in. (I didn't think it would make a difference.) Grrrr! I especially hate making mistakes when I have already invested a good chunk of time in something.

Oh, by the way, I like that table that Scaredy is sitting at.

Ann said...

Dear Half-Mum

Isn't it a bit of a get-out to confess your sins to God? For one thing, he knows already doesn't he? And then he always lets you off.

Whereas, you could confess your sins to your fellow man and be suitably punished, and then you would feel better wouldn't you? Or have I misunderstood something somewhere?

For example, you could confess some stuff on this blog and then we could all decide on a good old soul purging punishment. Unfortunately, I cant get the ball rolling because I am completely without sin, But then I do come in handy for casting the first stone. What do you think?

Ex-Shammickite said...

Good idea, Ann.

Anonymous said...

Miki likes paper shredding too.

Wren's composter has the same shape as a dalek.


Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

Dear Ann,

What do I think - I think you are quite hilarious! I am so very glad that you can cast stones in glass houses - I certainly must be careful not to even kick up any dust for fear of dislodging a pebble and breaking all the glass walls for my sins are great. I think, perhaps, I would be quite afraid of the purging punishment you would design for my soul - it's already rather battered and bruised.

If Lorenzo doesn't mind, I will answer both your questions here but a bit later - right now, my poor old body is quite exhausted - way too many hours at a microscope this week have given me quite an ache in the neck!

ann said...


I am sorry to hear that your sins are great. What have you been upto?!

If you confess to me, you wont have to go round with creaky old bones like that bible-chappy. Perhaps that's what's wrong with your neck?

Come on, you know you want to. If you confess to God, he will let you straight off. Then you will go away and sin your head off for a while and simply confess again. It doesnt work, does it?

There would be no such flabby liberalism from me! With my method, re-offending is much less likely. Tempted?

Gill said...

Have replied to "see you there" so maybe a good idea to post meaning of jupiter.
Love Gillie x

lorenzothellama said...

Of course it's a get out to confess sins; that's why Catholics are so good at it!

I think Ann, the whole point is that you confess in good faith, and you then actually TRY to make an effort not to do the same thing again, and again, and again and....

I'm with you with a mass blog confession though! Try to think up some good purges and we'll compare notes over one of Berky's Industrial Strength frothy ones at the Deli later!

LtL xx

lorenzothellama said...

Well spotted Jack! She got it cheap from an old Dr Who set. She had to set about it first with a hacksaw to get all the little arms and things off before she could use it, but it has proved both decorative and reliable.
Mum. x

Ann said...

Ah I see! So as long as I am 'trying' and 'confessing', sin is okky dokky. Do you know, you might have a convert on your hands. Hmmmm.

Barbara said...

Ah! beautiful compost. We made ours for years and years but in recent times have stopped making it as I had enough of digging out tomatoe seedlings etc from my flower beds.
We used to use peat for cat litter when we had cats and that allwent on the compost heap too.
Your cats are darling as I keep saying.

The Lone Beader said...

I've always wanted to have my own compost pile, but you kinda need a yard to do that. LOL.

Also, Scaredy is adorable:)

Naturegirl said...

I have thouroughly enjoyed this post and getting to know a bit about you! I love your idea of the compost heap and the shredded paper is genius!!You surely are doing ~your part~ in helping out the enviroment!!
I am so pleased to meet you all the way over in Britian thank you for introducing yourself to me!! :)NG

Barbara said...

Thought abput you when at Leigh. I will be doing some posts.
We just found the compost toohard work these days. All the sifting and turning etc. I miss it in one sense but I had so much in my garden we just had to start thinking where we could cut the work down. We used to have the most beautiful dark brown compost as we were very committed to it.

Martin Stickland said...

You little green fingered people!

Thanks for your oh so funny comments on my blog! I am away having a new brain put in for the next two weeks so see you soon lorypoopanickle!


Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

Lorenzo, I think he was quoteing from Lewis' "The Weight of Glory"

Ann - you really are quite funny - yes, my sins are great - I suppose it is a good thing that some of them are actually in my mind. However, the problem is that the presence of the sin so separates me from my relationship with Christ that I actually feel empty and miss Him - not that He's gone anywhere - He's just there waiting for me to come back.

I really like the Greek better than the English when you get to this idea of confession - what you really need is repentence - it's rather like being sorry you actually stole the cookie rather than just being sorry that you got caught stealing the cookie and now have consequences. Well, the Greek workd for repentence is actually a traveling term - it means to turn around and go the other way - so something even more dramatic than Lorenzo's trying hard not to do it again.

The analogy I like to use is traveling too - you are going down the highway and you realize you are going the wrong way - well, that doesn't really help you any - to fix the problem, you not only need to realize that you are headed the wrong way, you need to acknowledge it, stop going the wrong way, figure out what the right way is and head in that direction. So, repentence means to totally change directions. Now, do you occassionally get lost and turned around and head in the wrong direction again - yes, sometimes - but that is where the verse from the book of 1st John chpt 1 verse 9 comes in - "if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness".

As to whether to confess in public or not - I think that depends on the nature of the sin - certainly, even based on 1John1:9 - you do have to confess everyting to God - to agree with Him that His way is right and yours is wrong. But to who else - well, I would say to anyone you harmed. Say if you gossiped about someone to a bunch of people - you'd have to confess to the person you gosspied about and would need to go back to all the individual people and ask their forgiveness too because you involved them in your sin. On other hand, say that I have found that I care a lot about someone elses husband - and that is wrong - but I have done nothing about it - should I go confess it to his wife - not necessarily -

so, I guess my short answer is - it depends - the part about confessing to man, not the confessing to God part - that is always useful.

TIme for some sleep!!

Libbys Blog said...

I hate composting it never goes right for me!!!

Ann said...

Half-mum -
Thank you for such a long answer, I'm not sure I deserve it.

I am totally with you about confessing on the gossiping thing -everyone would love you and think you were nice and trustworthy.

Whereas, with the 'coveting your neighbour's husband', you're much more likely to get a frying pan round your head.

Good thinking.

OMYWORD! said...

OMYGOD - rubber pumps. I must have some. I must. I love the name of your cat. My cat doesn't try and sit in my lap because of my huge laptop. So instead she is in her "tent" under my legs, which I prop up just so she can climb under. What a sap.

Thanks for visiting my blog. :-)

Merisi said...

Oopsie daisy,
all of a sudden you went from compost heap to sins. They go into the compost too?
For Lorenzo:
I will snap a picture of a nice fat Upper Austrian cow's dung pile as soon as I get a chance to. Your British liquid type is something else entirely, ours are made partly of the straw that the cows sleep on, and which is changed every morning and thrown on the heap, transporting the unpleasant parts, i.e. digested grass, too. :-)
Put every care in the timing of my post, so it arrives after breakfast time in GB. Hopefully. Cheers! :-)

lorenzothellama said...

Hello Merisi,
Actually you just missed brekky time. I have just come back from the deli after having Weapons Grade coffee with that little minx Ann!
The farmers do mix straw bedding up with the dung too, but the slurry I was talking about is the liquid manure the cows crap out during the milking. This is washed out of the milking parlour and into a slurry pit. Incidentally I once read an amazing book by Gillian White where someone gets murdered. She was pushed into a slurry pit and drowned. Just fancy that filling your lungs!

One farmer I read about trained his cows to crap in unison. When he clapped his hands at the end of milking, they all performed at once with a huge splat. It made it easier to clear up as the liquid just run into the channels rather than being deposited about in random positions!

We learn something every day!
Love Lorenzo.

Kiwi Nomad 2006 said...

My goodness what a pile of dung and waste I have been missing!
I read a story today that had a little tidbit about worms in compost heaps. There was this little kiwi who broke some of her beak, so they were nursing her back to health, and had to find many many worms each day. But she didn't like the kind that usually lurk in our compost bins. Fussy wee kiwi!

Raelha said...

Love the story about the farmer clapping. Now if only our neighbour could train his cows to poo over our fence - just above the manure heap, that would be perfect.

Maalie said...

>where the verse from the book of 1st John chpt 1 verse 9 comes in

To Halfmom, I would say that quoting the bible as an authority for your assertions is that the book has fallen into disrepute. At the time it was written (no doubt by very wise men in their day) it sought to explain the universe with facts and understanding that was available at the time. Gaps in understanding (like, "how did we get here") were filled by some rather vivid imagination (e.g. "It appeared to me in a dream" LOL!).

Our understanding of the workings of the universe has thankfully advanced a great deal since then, and we don't need to invoke the supernatural (or our imagination or our dreams).

For example, the bible claims that a bat is a sort of bird (Deu 11-18). At the time it was written, taxonomy was not understood and it was presumably classed as a bird because it flies. With greater taxonomic understanding we now know that a bat is a mammal and evolutionarily is more closely related to whales (or to us) than it is to a bird.

There are many other such examples where modern understanding of science belies impossible assertions made in the bible.

Merisi said...

Oh, Lorenzo, slurry pits, now I understand (my vocabulary in this special field is a bit .... ahem ... blurry). I misunderstood you, since I know of some modern cow dung management systems that have the poor animals stand on wooden slats, without straw, and everything is swept away by water into a sort of holding tank.
You do not need to actually fall and drown in a slurry pit, climbing in alone is quiet risky. Every year I hear about tragedies, sometimes the death of more than one person, when somebody stays in too long and gets overcome by the gasses in there. Sadly, oftentimes even rescuers befalls the same destiny when the rush in to help and are overcome themselves. :-(

Merisi said...

(Note. I have had no gin in years. I manage to make my mistakes the genuine way, without doping, so to speak. *g*)

lorenzothellama said...

If any of my friends are trying to email me, I'm afraid I've gone and lost my password and I can't get into my mail. I am very frustrated about this and cross with my server, as when I try the help line, I get told that my new password has been sent to my email address, but without the password I can't get into my bleedin' emails to see what my password is!
Yours, more in anger than in sorry, Lorenzo.

ann said...

LtL - What a silly old 'mammal that is evolutionarily related to whales' you are for losing your password.

Maalie said...

To keep 'on topic', compost heaps are extremely interesting and complex heterotrophic (i.e. don't depend on the sun as an energy source) ecosystems in their own right. A whole community of detritivores (eats dead things) has evolved to process them. Without this detritivore system the earth would be overtaken by dead material. Evolution by natural selection copes with everything!

Maalie said...

ANN: And bats!

Anonymous said...

"...gossiped about someone to a bunch of people..."

Since when has 'bunch' been the accepted collective noun for people?!

Halfmom - living proof that some people are bananas!

Merisi said...

Usually one has to give an already existing email-adress as a reference when opening a new account, meaning the mail with the passport was very probably sent to a pre-existing mail-address of yours. Any help?
Been there, done that,
M. :-)

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

Ahh, dear anon again - I must apologize for not appropriately using the Kings - or is it Queen's English- properly - I am an American, and a Southern one at that - so I'm quite sure that I will abuse your language quite often without even realizing it and put in phrases that even those in Chicago do not recognize as being a proper part of American English!

Lorenzo - just click on "forgotten account name" - that has saved me more than once. I also have taken to keeping a word document with account numbers, passwords etc because I really am an absent-minded professor.

To Ann - you are right, I would deserve, in the least, a frying pan ( a good solid cast iron one at that) straight to my head!

Maalie - to some of us, the bible is still the authoritative word of god - and you might be amazed at who we are - neuroscientists, physicists, physicians, physiologists. It is still the one source of truth that I stake my life, both present and future on.

Maalie said...

> It is still the one source of truth that I stake my life, both present and future on.

So, Halfmom, please tell me outright, yes or no, if you believe the particular "truth" of the bible (Deu 11-18) that asserts that a bat is a bird? Is that what you would teach to children?

Sadly, believing in something, however passionately, does not make it true.

Kalyan said...

Thats a very nice explanation of making compost along with the photos. I tried a few times but could and eventually it became so stinky that we have to give up the idea and settle for commercially available ones.zrihy

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
lorenzothellama said...

Maalie: You sound like Jeremy Paxman.
Love Lorenzo

today's word is lilette

Ann said...

Dear Half-mum

I cant really tell yet, whether or not you are going to take up my offer of the confessional. I cant sit in this stuffy box, wearing this silly black cap and cloak all day you know! (although I do look pretty good in it)

I promise that if you subject yourself to my suggested purges, you will think many times before sinning again.

Last chance. I have a date with my neighbours oxe in exactly an hour.

Anonymous; reveal yourself, you are commiting the sin of 'incognitus' (Mathew, chap 3 Appendix b; item 2). My purges are available to all.

lorenzothellama said...

Ann: Is it your neighbour's ox as well as his ass you covet?

Maalie said...

I confess in public that I once coveted my neighbour's wife's ass.

Well, JP hasn't done too badly has he? That is what annoys me about these fundamentalist types: they never tell you what they actually think. They fall back on tautological arguments: "It's true because it's in the bible" hence, "it's in the bible so it must be true".

The bible is pretty strong on taxonomy, not once but twice it says a bat is a bird: Deuteronomy Ch 14 11-18 and Leviticus Ch 11, 13-19.

Now, you only have to find ONE SINGLE falsehood in the bible and it destroys its entire credibility. What I find really frightening is that idiots like Bush make international policy based on such bullsh*t.

So, Halfmom, please have the guts to tell us in the public domain whether you would instruct your kids (or students) that a bat is a bird "because the bible tells us so"?

Maalie said...

P.S. My last remark is definitely "on topic" because bats eat the insects that emerge from detritivore food chains generated in compost heaps. We need to solve these paradoxes, in the interests of the advancement of science. If the bible has got it right, we biologists need to do some pretty radical rethinking.

Raelha said...

I wondered how you'd suddenly jumped to 60 comments and then I saw Maalie had been at it again.

I'm keeping out of it as it doesn't involve cats!

lorenzothellama said...

Well said Raelha. My cat isn't terribly keen on compost heaps, or the Bible for that matter.

Maalie: of course there is a lot of untruth in the Bible. A lot of the stories are allegories, i.e. the Garden of Eden, the Flood. Do you really think poor old Noah had to trudge all the way up to the Arctic to find a couple of Polar Bears and get them back without being eaten, and then schlep all the way down to Antartic to get two penguins. And what about the Duck Billed Platypus. Where does he fit in, in the great evolutionary jigsaw pattern? Hey?

Maalie said...

Lorenzo: You make my point for me more eloquently than I could. Of course, the whole of the world's biodiversity couldn't possibly have been derived from what a man and his wife could have crammed onto a boat*. Or that snakes can talk. The worrying thing is that some people do actually believe this superstition and make decisions based on it.

* Were the animals put on in twos? Or in sevens? It depends upon which book of the bible you read. Just another biblical contradiction among hundreds...

Ann said...

What if I was to say that with every 2 sins you confess, I will let you off with the third, scott-free. Now I can't say fairer than that. Anybody?

Maalie said...

(i) I coveted my neighbour's wife's ass.

(ii) I enjoyed coveting it.

(iii) I don't think I better confess the third one. It's writing on the wall, i.e. just the usual tablets of stone.

Craver Vii said...

Maalie, I can see how a bird lover would be offended that bats would be lumped in the same category, although my own conclusions about the Bible are different than yours.

I like the point that Halfmom made about being sorry for committing an offense, and not just for being caught. Then come the consequences and restitution.

Trained cows, LtL? Wow! Now if we could teach children to go potty before we all get in the car...

Maalie said...

Craver ii: Your words have intrigued me. So, may I ask, do you think the bible is correct in asserting (twice) that bats are birds? C'mon, now, that is a simple enough question. Tell us what you really think, not what your fundamentalist mates expect you to say...

lorenzothellama said...

Maalie: could you email Tortoiseshell and TCA for their opinion, please?

Ann: you up for a stiff one tomorrow?


Craver Vii said...

Do you mean to ask whether it causes a hiccup (intellectual or spiritual) that the bat was grouped according to the informal common visual classification of the time rather than the formal scientific groupings established later? Not really; not anymore than I have a problem with someone using the term "sunrise."

It is a generally acceptable description, and when anyone says it (sunrise), I don't think they mean that the sun literally rises and falls.

The context of Deuteronomy 14 was dietary law, not zoology, therefore, it was perfectly acceptable to use generally accepted descriptions. Besides, if memory serves correctly, it didn't literally say that a bat is a type of bird.

I am not a scientist-type, but there is a site I sometimes go to called Answers In Genesis. But be warned, these guys take Bible stories at face value... Creation, Noah's Ark... the whole bit. (I do too.)

lorenzothellama said...

Craver: I followed your link to Answers in Genesis but I found the whole site rather irritating.

I didn't realize when I wrote an innocent little posting on my love of composting that I would get 70 comments, and some of them so controversial!

I think my next posting will have to be about 'chickens and eggs' and see where that gets us.


Maalie said...

Craver ii: I see now. Whenever some anomaly or contradiction or scientific impossibility appears in the bible, the stock reply is that it doesn't cause an intellectual or spiritual hiccup.

Does a talking snake give you an intellectual or spiritual hiccup?
Does the fact that you couldn't even get a pair of each species of extant beetle on board a boat of Noah's dimensions give you an intellectual or spiritual hiccup?

There are of course innumerable websites that list interminable mutually exclusive statements in the bible, your Genesis one doesn't impress me, I've heard it all before.

Frankly, I would have more respect for someone who accepted that knowledge and understanding of the universe has moved on since the publication of the First edition of the bible and that, at best, it represents some form of allegorical perspective.

You admit to not being a "scientist-type". May I therefore respectfully suggest that you pick up a biology primer?

lorenzothellama said...

Ooo Maalie. If I can have a (not necessarily intelligent) conversation with Scaredy and Badger, maybe I could manage one with a snake too. One of our friends has a pet snake called 'Dusseldorf'. Perhaps I'll have a go next time I see him. I'll keep you posted.

I think the whole point of the story of the Fall, is just that. It's a story. I really don't think we are supposed to take it literally. I think it tells us what a wonderful perfect world we had until man came upon the scene. And I think it really is does mean Man, homo habilis and all his mates, and not poor little australopithecine.
Of course we are still fouling up the world with un-neccessary wars, global warming, crime, etc. etc.

I would like to hear what Tortoiseshell, TCA and Jack have to contribute.

Merisi said...

Oh, LORENZO, you were kidding, right? (I imagine a discussion about the "and" in the 'chickens and eggs'. *chuckle*)
Is there any known version of the Bible written by The Snake (aka the Julia Caesar of the Animal World)? I imagine her being invited to Oprah's, crying bitter tears about the day she came to regret. ;-)

lorenzothellama said...

Merisi: Bells are ringing. I think there is a story written by the snake from his point of view. In fact I'm sure I've read it. It sounds like a Terry Pratchett type of thing.

I'm off to take some photos of chickens and eggs and try to work out which one came first!

It takes about half an hour to scroll down to read the comments now! My finger is getting tired!

Maalie said...

Lorenzo: >I think the whole point of the story of the Fall, is just that. It's a story

I think you are right, along with the stories about resurrection, choirs of heavenly hosts and no room at the pub. Not for nothing is it called "the greatest story ever told". I'm not saying there are no wise words, or models for behaviour, in the bible. It was evidently constructed by some wise old guys who sometimes got their wires crossed after whatever it was they smoked, or mushrooms they ate to give them such vivid dreams. They certainly didn't study taxonomy.

lorenzothellama said...

Now now Maalie you are getting in a muddle when you talk about mushrooms.

It is generally acknowledged that John wrote the Book of Revelation on the Island of Patmos. Patmos is reknowned for it's mushrooms. Say no more! The Book of Revelation is FANTASTIC. Terry Pratchett with Neil Gaimon wrote an amazing book called 'Good Omens'. One of the amazing facts in this book is that the M25 is based on the ancient symbol of Mu and this is why it is such a devilish road to drive along. I'll lend you the book if you promise to let me have it back.

lorenzothellama said...

It was an Inn, Maalie, AN INN.

Tortoiseshell said...


I thought the silly season only affected journalists nothing to write about.

Seems that it has spread to the blogosphere, too.

From my own "Unitarian Universalist" perspective, I am happy to state categorically that a bat is NOT a bird. Take that, Paxo!

I also share Maalie's concern about the influential role of evangelical Christianity in the policy-making process.

This is one reason why I choose not to describe myself as "Christian" anymore. I sometimes wonder wehether I'm following the same God as the US fundamentalists.

Nevertheless, Maalie really should lie down in a darkened room for half an hour, make a cup of his favourite "Russian Caravan" tea, and try to appreciate the possibilities of understanding the allegories of religious text (or Chinese proverbs, or the Mabinogion, or whatever).

One of my favourite allegories is of Jesus turning the water into wine at the wedding in Cana.

I don't believe for a second that he actually performed this miracle.

Nevertheless, the HISTORICAL CONTEXT and METAPHORE of the story is important.

In my opinion, what "water into wine" represents is the replacement of the rotten & corrupt religious structures of the day with a more caring, compassionate society.

Tortoiseshell said...

PS good luck with the 100 comments, Lorenzo! Here's another one to help you along! Go for it!

Tortoiseshell said...

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

Me and K have just installed a big compost bin at the bottom of our new garden (with the help of Tortoiseshell-in-law).

I commented at the wknd that this is the first time in about 15 years that I have composted anything!

Maalie said...

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Six feet of it before their time.

lorenzothellama said...

I can quote too, Maalie:

"Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled". Righteousness can come in many shapes and forms, Buddhist, Hindu, Judiasmm, Muslim as well as Christianity.

Tortoiseshell: I rather like the story of the water into wine. I often think of the road back from Cana full of singing and stumbling party goers. I agree with you and Maalie about the evangical Christains presidents and prime ministers.

I am torn between carrying on this for a 100 comments or starting a new posting!

lorenzothellama said...

Maalie: When you say you coveted your neighbour's wife's ass, did you mean that literally, i.e. your next door neighbour, or do you mean neighbour in the Biblical sense, in as much that we are all each other's neighbours?

I think we should be told.


TCA said...

Water into wine....

NOW you're talking our language!

...any puncture-related parables we should know of?


Father Ann said...

O.K. I'm back and it's Judgement Day. Form an orderly queue, and I shall deal with your confessions one by one.

Please click on the donation box on your way out.

T.C.A. Do you wish to go first with your alcohol 'issues'

Craver Vii said...

"Stock reply" Maalie? I really thought the phrase "intellectual or spiritual hiccup" was a genuine original. Have you heard it before?

I'm afraid to ask, because I feel a bit like having walked into a beehive. But partly for LtL's 100 comments, and partly for curiosity I'd like to know what you do about Jesus' resurrection, and the subsequent martyrdom of his followers.

Father Ann said...

What is it that you Crave vii? Is it forgiveness for your sins my child?

Maalie said...

Cramer ii: I agree with you, I have not heard the exact expression before. What I meant was adopting an attitude that a biblical anomaly was trivial enough to be disregarded. How big does the anomaly have to be before it is regarded as unacceptable, do you think?

You see, your comment the bat was grouped according to the informal common visual classification of the time rather than the formal scientific groupings established later?

is exactly what I am getting at: you appear to have accepted that knowledge and understanding (in this case about the avian and mammalian taxonomy) have progressed since the bible was written. Isn't it just a small step to accept this for other concepts, like evolution?

I do not believe in the resurrection so I can't comment. I think it might have been some sort of con to persuade the prophet's evident following that there was something special about him.

However, what has long puzzled me is the position of the dinosaurs in Christian thinking. You would have thought that such awesome creatures would have got a mention somewhere in the bible, wouldn't you? A Tyrannosaurus rex would have made mincemeat of Noah's other creatures, don't you think?

Raelha said...

LtL. I agree with you on Good Omens - an excellent book. And I'm just about to start a Murakami.

If anyone fancies a bit of light refreshment I've recently done a post on bad Spanish drivers - I thought it might appeal to Maalie in particular, given his experiences in Seville.

Tortoiseshell said...

TCA said: "...any puncture-related parables we should know of? I can come up with is that the traveller left for dead in the "Good Samaritan" story may have had his bike nicked.

Maalie said: "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Six feet of it..."

...therefore their bodies will compost (just to keep it on thread!) and contribute to the subsequent development of a small but possibly diverse and beautiful ecosystem in their immediate vicinity.

Not to mention the wonderful memories they leave behind for their friends and relatives - even if there is no "afterlife" as prescribed by orthodox religions.

That's quite a miracle in my book.

RAELHA said: "...If anyone fancies a bit of light refreshment"

Yes please! Maalie's come over all eggy since he got back from France. Don't know what it is - I think he eat something. Brings to mind a childhood memory...

I remember him eating some organic fruit jellies (a present from Lorenzo) one Christmas, when we were on a family day out in London (a medical check-up for TCA, I recall).

Anyway, Maalie downed half of these hideous jellies and ended up with the, err, "runs" but spent the day in complete denial that there was anything wrong!

C'mon Maalie! Give us some soul!

Craver Vii said...


Yes Maalie, the dinosaurs were mentioned. Several times. But in English, they were not called dinosaurs until the 1800's. Your Bible will refer to them as Leviathan and Behemoth. Leviathan was a terror in the waters, and the behemoth moved his tail like a cedar tree. We even find "dragons" in the King James Version of the Bible. I don't know what the word was in the original Hebrew, but since the English word for "dinosaur" did not exist until 18-something, the translators used the closest word they could.

About Scripture, I believe the original writings were inerrant. That doesn't mean that all the translators will automatically know the best word to use when making this resource accessible to modern languages.

Maybe I'm too trusting when it comes to things like semantic anomalies. Otherwise, I would have made a big stink about being called Craver "ii" instead of "vii." (The pseudonym is based on a story of seven cravings.) Then, I was "Cramer." But it's no biggie. I think we were able to understand you just fine.

"Father Ann," one of the seven cravings is for regular people. I have a deep desire to be a friend to all my neighbors. Even if they do not believe the same things I do.

Merisi said...

"I often think of the road back from Cana full of singing and stumbling party goers."

Imagine, if they had blogs back than, the comments, once they did get home! (You had me in stitches, LTL!)

Maalie said...

Craver vii: Thank you for the information, I did not know that. So you think the bible-writers had done some excavations of fossil bones?
But doesn't the bible put the age of the earth at about 4000 years or so? We know that life on earth has existed for much longer than that.

Had they died out before Mr Adam met Miss Eve and the talking snake?

Craver Vii said...


Old dinosaurs were not composted. (yuck) Some were fossilized in a mudslide type of catastrophe. That occurred in the Noahic flood. Our fossils are from Noah's time, not millions of years ago. (Carbon dating doesn't add up.) Long story short, man and the giant lizards once occupied this earth together, since they came on the scene the same week Adam was created.

Craver Vii said...


By the way, if Adam put any of the big-type of dinosaurs on the ark, I'm sure he was smart enough to bring young (smaller) ones, and not full-grown gargantuan cedar-tails. He only needed two of each type to propagate the species, but he brought more than two of some animals. After that, micro-evolution branched-out all these specifics that we see today. They probably did not have a poodle on the ark, but the poodle micro-evolved from a dog kind of ancestor. Wouldn't it be something if old Noah could clap or something and make all the animals poop on command?

Maalie said...

>That occurred in the Noahic flood. Our fossils are from Noah's time, not millions of years ago. (Carbon dating doesn't add up.)

And there, Craver vii, we must part company. A lifetime of scientific study and reviewing the evidence allows me to dump that notion into the realms of fantasy. You are simply wrong, and I'm sorry to say that we have now reached an impasse from which there appears to be no escape.

lorenzothellama said...

What has always bothered me about Noah's Ark was if everything came from just two of each species, why weren't they all terribly in-bred and suffering all sorts of deformorties?

Another thing that worries me, is that the Bible forbids us to indulge in incest. Well, Noah's family certainly must have done that if they were the only ones on the Ark.

Just come back from the cinema with Ann and Peter. Problem was Ann was wearing her black biretta and cloak and she had half the audience queuing up to confess and receive their punishment. I kept trying to shhhh them, but the cries of anguish outdid Tom Courtney. I think Peter only came with us because he wanted to be chastised.

Craver Vii said...

...we have now reached an impasse from which there appears to be no escape.

I'm sorry to hear that. Thanks for the lively discussion. But must opposing ideologies necessitate social incompatibility? Is there nothing else we could find common ground on? Who wrote the law that says creationists and evolutionists can't be friends. I for one would join the revolution that does not recognize such barriers.

Just as the compost heap functions better by mixing the ingredients together, so too, can the human race achieve greater things if we move past our homogeneous compartments and stir things up. Not that we all end up believing the same thing, just that we get to the point where we can have a cup of coffee at the same table.

Merisi said...

Old Viennese saying:
Pastries and coffee for everyone?
(Nr. 100 has to wash the dishes!)

Ex-Shammickite said...

Does that mean I'm number 100??? oh, yes (counting on fingers) I suppose it does.
Uhoh.... just scooted to the bottom of the page and back, good thing I have a dishwasher!!

Anonymous said...

"Carbon dating doesn't add up".

This seems a bit flipant - please explain why.

I am only too keen to provide you with a comprehensive explaination of the principle if it might free you from your delusion (a fixed false belief used in everyday language to describe a belief that is either false, fanciful or derived from deception).

I suggest that it is your conclusion "...they came on the scene the same week Adam was created" that doesn't add up. And similarly if you are able to offer a fallacy (a component of an argument that is demonstrably flawed in its logic)-free explaination it may be you that frees me from a delusion!

Maalie said...

Craver vii: LOL! I mean just for this post! However when you say something like: But must opposing ideologies necessitate social incompatibility? it really does render discussion futile because scientific views don't comprise an ideology, but are evidence-based. Unlike religious ideology, science is a developing phenomenon, constantly under review and continuously modified as more and more evidence comes to light to support (or maybe reject) a current notion.

Fossil dating, by various means, is actually quite precise with known (and stated) confidence intervals.

The chicken-and-the-egg discussion should be fun :-)

lorenzothellama said...

There are so many things I want to answer but it takes simply ages to scroll down!
Tortoiseshell: How very very dare you suggest that organic jelly babies are horrible! Wash your mouth out you ungrateful little bugger! In no way were they responsible for Maalie's 'runs'. He had probably been eating great hunks of meat again!

Craver: I so agree with you that creationists and evolutionists should get together, because the ensuing debate is fascinating. I love a good discussion especially between two people who are so knowledgeable themselves.

Ex-shammickite: No way will you do the washing up. I say that the washing up should be done by Maalie and Craver so they can sort their differences out over the dirty water.

Raelha: I have read your posting on Spanish drivers and it is more than just 'light' reading. You really have a point there. Mind you Maalie's driving leaves a lot to be desired and he even managed to upset the Spanish drivers while we were there in May! I didn't have time to leave a comment as I was got dragged out to the deli for a Berky Special by Ann! Will get back to you today.

Thank you everyone for bringing my comments to over a hundred. When Tortoiseshell started this blog for me just after Christmas, I never expected to meet so many brilliant and friendly people. But please, Mr Anon (I am assuming you are a Mr) could you not see your way clear to just putting your name at the end of your comments like wot Jack does?

Well, just off to Mass now as it's a Holy Day of Obligation and after that I suggest we all meet up with Merisi for coffee and some fabulous Austrian cakes.

Love and xxx to you all.
Lorenzo T. Llama.

Kiwi Nomad 2006 said...

Oh dear.... I forgot it was the 15th again.... terrible terrible lapsed one that I am ;-) Just as well you were there on my behalf Lorenzo!

Kiwi Nomad 2006 said...

BTW... meant to say... I am so impressed at the length of the comments... even if there was a lot of hogwash and rubbish in the mix ;-)

Merisi said...

"it takes simply ages to scroll down!"

You can get to the bottom of the comments more efficiently:

Instead of using the scroll wheel on the mouse, go with the curser to the right side of your screen, to the little rectangle at the top of your frame (right under the ^ sign). Click it on with a left click and slide that rectangle down all the way to the bottom. Makes for extremely fast scrolling (watch out for speed limits! *g*).

You can also scroll vertically, one screenful at a time, by using the keyboard arrows, pressing "Page Up" or "Page Down".

Cheers! :-)

Ted M. Gossard said...

Hey folks! I know I'm swooping in and out, but you really ought to read your bishop Tom's Wright's book on the Bible. You have to take the Bible for what it purports to be and a scientific textbook, it is not.

One other note I'd like to add here. I personally don't give two hoops for how God created all things as stated poetically in Genesis 1 and 2. Though I don't buy macroevolution, I don't care if that's the way God did it.

Just a thought from another one of those believers in the word of God.

madretz said...

Wow!! Lorenzo! I don't have much to say about composting, in fact I'm completely knowledgeless in the topic, however my parents had one when I grew up. I never partook in the maintenance of it though. I think I stayed as far away from it as possible. But I'm posting because of the impressive amount of comments you've gotten! So I felt like I had to add to the subject, even if I have nothing to add!
I'm obviously quite late in visiting, but I'm glad that I went back to where I left off (The Simpson's.) You really are so very funny!

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