Coal In The Stocking

Urban Farm Lifestyle

  Healthy Regenerative Lifestyle 

Biochar

Some claim that Biochar is the pathway to carbon sequestration and a way to end global warming.  Others say Biochar is the quickest way to rid ourselves of oxygen on this earth.

David Proctor

 

 
  
 
 
 
From Seed To Fork, Egg To Plate.

    We may not live on a farm, but we can grow where we live.

 

 

 

 


Biochar

by David Proctor


December 13, 2018

Urban Farm Lifestyle Magazine    Published Weekly


When Molly and I lived back in Missouri, we use to supplement the heating system with a wood stove.  We could damper the stove down to where wood would stay burning for many hours.  Was this charcoal or Biochar? Actually both.

We even had a producer of biochar that was one of the biggest employers in Lebanon, MO  The Independent Stave Mill, which produces the chard staves that are used to make whiskey barrels.

Biochar is charcoal produced from plant matter and stored in the soil as a means of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. It is produced by pyrolysis, which is the burning of organic material at elevated temperatures with the absence of oxygen.

This process of pyrolysis produces organic matter to a carbon state that is stable, some say for a very long time. This is how carbon is sequestered from the atmosphere to a more stable form to be stored in the earth instead of the atmosphere.

When we dampened the stove, the fire was retarded by lack of oxygen but would still burn down to an ash, most of the time.  When biochar was made in the past,  a green plant was burned and covered with soil so that the process smothers the fire but still produces a char.
 
The interest in biochar came about many years ago, from studying the biochar dark earth soils in the Amazon called  terra preta (“dark earth” in Portuguese). 

 It was found that these soils are very productive for microbial life; like mycorrhizal fungi, a symbiotic phosphorus seeking microbe. The soils also helped hold in nutrients for plants due to its porous state.  Other areas without this amendment did not have nearly as desirable soils for plant growth and were more prone to erosion.

 

How Biochar Improves Soil

How Biochar Improves Soil

The porous state of the char allows water to penetrate and be absorbed by the char, thus helping to stabilize the soil.  Biochar will also absorb nutrients from the soil like a sponge, that may be retrieved by plants later.  This is where the other side of the discussion says that this absorptive nature will also absorb and hold oxygen.

Biochar

Biochar

If a great global push was made to create biochar to stop global warming, the opponents say, that we may end up losing our oxygen at such a rate that the earth could be doomed. There are groups that have been pushing for a huge upturn in the use of biochar.

I like the idea of carbon sequestration but have doubts in the human management of the process.  I do not think that biochar is the savior or the demon.  As with most things, it seems moderation of use to be the most pertinent way to use biochar.  I am a firm believer that nature and the natural processes are the most stable and beneficial way to go.

The old saying, “You’ll get coal in your stocking” may be because you have been good instead of bad!

Check It Out!

 

Biochar – the future of sustainable agriculture: Lauren Hale at TEDxUCR   10:33
Published on Dec 14, 2013


Quick Tip

 

Here’s the breakdown:
• Ash and charcoal have many uses in a garden
• Use on rich soil with no deficiencies
• Use to correct acidic soils, or amend the pH of the char before application
• Never use on acid loving plants like blueberries
• Add to compost after composting has finished, not during composting.
• Use in moderation
• Never use char from pressure-treated or painted wood.
• Don’t use petroleum based fire starters or fluids if you intend to reuse the ash.
• Fires started with alcohol or non-paraffin wax are acceptable for garden use.
• Be mindful of your nutrient levels and pH when using char, test regularly for best results.
• Not all char is equal, refuse from wood gasifiers or efficient wood stoves is preferable to that from your campfire, fireplace or grill, but all are acceptable for use given the correct use of your discretion.


Bibliography:

“The Survival Podcast Forum.” Misconceptions about Ash, Charcoal, and “BioChar” The Survival Podcast Forum, 05 Jan. 2011. Web. 29 Nov. 2016.

“What Is Biochar?” What Is Biochar? | International Biochar Initiative. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2016.

“Biochar.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2016.

Ho, Dr. Mae-Wan. “Beware the Biochar Initiative – The Permaculture Research Institute.” The Permaculture Research Institute. Permaculturenews.org, 23 Nov. 2016. Web. 29 Nov. 2016.

Tenenbaum, David J. “Biochar: Carbon Mitigation from the Ground Up.” Environmental Health Perspectives. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Feb. 2009. Web. 29 Nov. 2016.

Cox, Jeff. “Biochar.” Rodale’s Organic Life. N.p., 10 Nov. 2015. Web. 05 Dec. 2016.




 

Posted in Magazine Issues, Plants Tagged with:

Cooking With Cast Iron

Urban Farm Lifestyle

  Healthy Regenerative Lifestyle 

 

 

Cooking With Cast Iron

I purchased my first cast iron, a #5, which is about 5 1/2” at the bottom and 8 ½” at the top, in 1976.

 

 

David Proctor

 

 
  
 
 
 
From Seed To Fork, Egg To Plate.

    We may not live on a farm, but we can grow where we live.

 

 

 

 


Cooking With Cast Iron

by David Proctor


December 6, 2018

Urban Farm Lifestyle Magazine    Published Weekly


I purchased my first cast iron, a #5, which is about 5 1/2” at the bottom and 8 ½” at the top, when I transferred from William Jewell College to University of Missouri in 1976.

#5 Cast Iron#5 Cast Iron – Fry Potatoes & Cook Eggs

I needed something to cook breakfast in, that could hold up  to a college student.  I didn’t cook too much at that time, but this gave me a good start.  I had other pans, but none like this skillet.

I soon went into telephone contracting (college dropout) after running out of money for school.

 

#3 Cast Iron#3 Cast Iron – Eggs

Since I was on my own, and working, I use to value a good breakfast to start the day.

I would get up each morning and slice up and fry potatoes and then cook eggs, as the start to the day.

 

#8 Cast Iron
#8 Cast Iron – Frying

I don’t follow the same regime today, but I still have the same cast iron skillet, 42 years later.  Still cooking with it.

What else can you buy that will last that long and is good for you to use?

I have several cast irons that mainly came from Molly’s grandmother’s farm in Burns Kansas.

 

Oval
Oval

Molly’s grandmother told us about how the men would come out to the farm to play cards.  She did not allow card playing, smoking or drinking in the house so they played in a different house on the farm.
 
She would cook steaks for them the next morning in the cast iron skillets, if she didn’t need it to hit someone up the side of the head with.

 

Breakfast Skillets
Breakfast Skillets

I had a cast iron raised at me a few times, well deserved I’m sure, but never hit buy one.

Even though cast iron can be used to get a point across to the mule headed sort, the main intention is for cooking.

If you take care of the cast iron cookware, they can be handed down for generations.

If you are starting out with new cast iron, the cast iron needs to be seasoned. 

You do that by wiping it down with cooking oil or lard.  Then place it in the oven at a low temperature, not anymore than 350 degrees, and cook the cast iron for about 15 minutes.

 

Divided
Divided

If you see smoke the temperature is too hot.  Let cool.  Do not wash!!

I have never placed any cast iron in dishwater or even worse a dishwasher.  The oils need time to penetrate the metal.

To clean the cast iron, rinse it out with hot water and clean with a nonabrasive cloth. 

Do not use the metal cleaning pads with soap in them.  I know, you germaphobes are going yuck, where is the bleach, the comet, at the least dish washing liquid.

I’m telling you, it is not needed.  You just have to be sure all the food is wipe off of the cast iron, rinse, oil, put in oven if you want, and you are ready to go.

 

Dutch Oven Cast Iron
Dutch Oven Cast Iron

I have been doing it this way for over 40 years.  But if you don’t feel comfortable with this way, then go ahead and use your dish washing liquid, but that is it. Now you have to re-season the cast iron.
 
The more you cook with it the more seasoned it will get.  Unless you cook acidic food, like pasta sauce.  Tomatoes seem to just eat away at the seasoning.

That is alright though, just oil it up and put it back in the oven to season again.

Cast iron is very forgiving, unless you leave it on the stove top with nothing in it and the burner turned up. It will warp, no names being mentioned here!

 

#10 Warped
#10 – Warped

Besides longevity, you have the added benefit of not ingesting Teflon.  You may be thinking, but how will I cook with cast iron and not have everything stick and burn to the bottom?

Seasoning the cast iron prevents sticking.  The burning comes from the heat being too high.  I have cooked many a corned bread without sticking or burning.  I don’t even know how to fix cornbread without using cast iron.

For Corn Bread
For Corn Bread 

Along with not ingesting Teflon or whatever they use now a days for nonstick cookware, you will end up ingesting minute quantities of iron.  Yes, what many people take a pill for, you get just by using cast iron.

I only use metal spatulas or metal utensils when cooking with cast iron so I don’t ingest plastic.

 

Breakfast Skillet
Breakfast Skillet

Remember the scare about BPA’s.  They are not good for you.  When I was in chemistry, we worked with phenol’s in the lab, and even back in the mid 70’s they knew they were carcinogenic.  I try and use plastic as little as possible.  When cooking with a plastic spatula, it wears down and you ingest that.

I have seen new cast iron with an enamel coating on it.  Not sure what they are good for except maybe cooking acidic food in. The enamel can chip, you don’t get the benefit of iron, but for you germaphobes, you can wash in dishwater.  There is no seasoning to this type.

 

What I cook with everyday!
What I cook with everyday!

Cast iron can also be collectible.  I know I have old cast iron, but I would never part with.  Except one cast iron pot I used for only melting lead in.  I decided not to keep that one. 

 

As you can see, I am pretty sold on cast iron.  Take care of it, and it will take care of you for a long time.

 


Check It Out!

JT2 Beef

How to Cook the Perfect Steak in a Cast Iron Skillet 3:55


Quick Tip

 

Cast Iron Care


Bibliography: N/A




Posted in Health, Magazine Issues, Recipes Tagged with:

Saving Pumpkin

Urban Farm Lifestyle

  Healthy Regenerative Lifestyle

Saving Pumpkin

For many years, I, like most of my neighbors and friends, discarded the pumpkins we used for fall decorations. Several years ago, I found that our Jack o’ Lanterns, and other fall pumpkins, did not have to be discarded, but could be used for pies, and many other recipes.

David Proctor

 

 
  
 
 
 
From Seed To Fork, Egg To Plate.

    We may not live on a farm, but we can grow where we live.

 

 

 

 


Saving Pumpkin

by Laurie Calloway


November 29, 2018

Urban Farm Lifestyle Magazine    Published Weekly


This is a rerun of an article that Laurie did in the past.  I thought it was very well done and a timely article!

 

Many of the large pumpkins used for carving at Halloween are not the best to use for cooking, as they have a high water content, but many other varieties that are used for decorating can be used for cooking.

One variety is the Cinderella pumpkin, so called because it resembles the pumpkin turned into a coach by Cinderella’s fairy godmother.

This year, I had a Cinderella pumpkin, and a small, yellow pumpkin, both of which were used on our doorstep as fall decorations.

I knew from past experience that the Cinderella pumpkin is a good cooking pumpkin, but did not know anything about the yellow pumpkin. I decided to cook both pumpkins, and compare them.

 

 The pumpkin on the left is the Cinderella pumpkin.

To roast the pumpkins, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Next, cut the pumpkins in half vertically…sometimes it is easier to cut the stem out first.

Scoop out the seeds, reserving for toasting later. Clean out the pumpkin halves, using a sharp spoon.

Now, place the pumpkins, halved sides down, on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in the 350 degree oven for an hour to an hour and a half, checking for “doneness” by piercing the outer edges with a knife.

Remove, and allow to cool. Remove the pulp with a large spoon, and place in a bowl.

Put the cooked pumpkin, 4 cups at a time in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth.

Part II
The puréed pulp should be nice and thick.

Both the pumpkins cooked down nicely. The Cinderella pumpkin had a beautiful, orange color, and somewhat sweet flavor. The yellow pumpkin’s flavor was a bit more bland, but would be perfect for any recipe calling for canned pumpkin.

The Cinderella pumpkin yielded ten cups of purée, and the small, yellow pumpkin, four cups. I froze the purée in freezer bags, two cups purée in each bag, and will use the purée all winter long for pies, soups, and other recipes.  ( Note: two cups purée is what is needed for one pumpkin pie, and usually the amount needed for soups and casseroles.)

As an added bonus, the pumpkin seeds are tasty roasted!

So, do not throw away that pumpkin…use it!


Check It Out!

 


Quick Tip

by Kelsey Proctor

 

We all want to eat healthfully throughout the holiday season. In-season fruits and vegetables will stay fresh longer and have the most flavor. Continue reading for tips on how to purchase seasonal produce this fall!

The writers at Cleveland Clinic described how seasonal eating, “… connects us to the calendar and often to one another… [seasonal food] generally has more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants than foods harvested before they’re ripe” (Cleveland Clinic Wellness).

Shopping seasonally ensures you are buying food at the peak of ripeness and nutrition.
Eating seasonally will save you money, too! Alan Henry, writer at LifeHacker.com, explained that because food in season is bountiful and costs less to produce, it also costs less for consumers to purchase (Henry).

Now that I’ve got you intrigued with the benefits of seasonal produce, you’re probably wondering what to put on your grocery list for the rest of November.

 [Photo courtesy of Buzzfeed.com]

Bibliography:

Cleveland Clinic Wellness. www.clevelandclinicwellnes.com. 2016. Web. 15 November 2016.

Henry, Alan. www.lifehacker.com. April 14 2014. Web. 15 November 2016.




Posted in Health, Magazine Issues, Plants, Recipes Tagged with: ,

Thanksgiving

Urban Farm Lifestyle

  Healthy Regenerative Lifestyle

 

 

Thanksgiving

 

Thanksgiving has always been a holiday for families to take the time to get together and gather around a meal that has been symbolic for the year’s good harvest.  This day gives us a time to appreciate and be with our loved ones.

 

 

David Proctor

 

 
  
 
 
 
From Seed To Fork, Egg To Plate.

    We may not live on a farm, but we can grow where we live.

 

 

 

 


Thanksgiving

by David Proctor


November 22, 2018

Urban Farm Lifestyle Magazine    Published Weekly


This will be the sixth Thanksgiving that we will not have Molly Anne physically with us.  Even though this greatly saddens my heart, I still have the great memories spent with Molly and our family at thanksgiving time.

Thanksgiving
Caitlin, Molly, Carolyn, and Kelsey

My girls have grownup and are starting their own lives, which is great, that is how it should be.  I hope that Thanksgiving will take on a similar meaning to them.  It is so hard to remember what we are thankful about when being hit from all angles of media to buy, buy, and buy some more, to try and find happiness.


Kelsey, Carolyn, myself, and Caitlin

Please remember that the greatest gift you can give will be of your heart and your undivided attention and time given to friends and family.  Life is short, live in the moment.

Candle

My Thanksgiving prayer, is one that I pray for my girls every day.

Heavenly Father, thank you for allowing me to see this beautiful day that you have created. I pray that your healing loving touch will be on Caitlin, Kelsey and Carolyn’s mind, heart and soul. I pray that the holy spirit will provide them the rest that they need, the courage to face the day and what comes their way, the peace, love, joy and comfort that they want and need.  Please be with them this day as they go to and from activities and work.  Please provide a Guardian Angel to be with them as they travel and drive the old cars that I put them in.  In your name, I pray, God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

Please remember that a good harvest is symbolic of more than just crops.  It can mean what blessings we have experienced, what we have gained in knowledge, or in helping others.

Cornucopia

Have a happy Thanksgiving and safe travels.


Check It Out!

How to Carve a Turkey  1:45


Quick Tip

 

Thanksgiving Timed Right




Posted in Magazine Issues Tagged with:

Healthy Living Quiz

Urban Farm Lifestyle

  Healthy Regenerative Lifestyle

Healthy Living Quiz

When it comes to eating organic, natural, wholesome food in order to maintain a healthy regenerative lifestyle, what is the single biggest challenge, frustration or problem you’ve been struggling with?

David Proctor

 

 
  
 
 
 
From Seed To Fork, Egg To Plate.

    We may not live on a farm, but we can grow where we live.

 

 

 

 


Healthy Living Quiz

by David Proctor

 


November 15, 2018

Urban Farm Lifestyle Magazine    Published Weekly


The reason for this quiz is to better understand the individual needs and challenges that keep us from eating organic, natural, wholesome foods so as to maintain a healthy regenerative lifestyle.
 
I want to get to a better understanding of the WHY behind not eating good food and what challenges or frustrations are behind the decisions.
 
I know what my reasons have been in the past, but those reasons may not be your reason.  You may not have a choice due to a particular circumstance that you face in life.
 
Eating healthy, I believe, has so many implications in our enjoyment in and of life, by being able to have a higher quality of life.

Top 10 Superfoods
Brain Food

Proper nutrition plays a big role in how we think, our moods, how our body ages and recovers from or prevents illness and disease.
 
I am not a nutritionist, a doctor, nor a scientist. But I am an observer and researcher that has a keen interest in better health.
 
I never really gave much thought about what I was eating other than did it taste good, and did it fill me up? Not so much thought was given to what I was eating and the effect on my body. Nor did I think about how much I was eating as long as I was full (satiated) when done.
 
What brought my change and focus then you might ask?  My world changed when my wife died.
 
 Molly was not what I considered in bad health.  We traveled, took vacations, raised a family.  Molly was also a very good cook. She would help stretch food dollars as far as she could for our family of five.  We have three girls, that for much of their young lives were on year-round swimming teams (best in backstroke and distance).  I use to say, it was like feeding locust.

My Girls
My Girls

We had a pretty high carb diet, to help keep up with the huge number of calories being spent during workouts.  The only problem was, Molly and I were not doing the workouts, our girls were.  Molly and I gained weight.  Not to mention we had a fondness for beer, that didn’t help.
 
As time went on, Molly had a really close call one day. She was not able to get her wind, to make it up the stairs from the basement.  With my help, she was able to slowly make it up to the first floor.  She was winded.  I tried to take her blood pressure with our home unit I had gotten for myself a number of years ago, but it malfunctioned.
 
I told Molly she needed to go to the emergency room, she didn’t want to, but I persuaded her to go.  After a long time, just trying to get to the car, we made it to the hospital.  I later found out that my blood pressure machine had not malfunctioned, it just was not able to read how high her blood pressure was, roughly around 220 over 160.  She was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. 
 
Fortunately, she survived and we started making dietary changes to limit salt intake.  That is when I first started reading labels on the food I bought.  I never realized how much salt is in bread, soups, sauces, and the list goes on.

Molly pretty much recovered, but not fully.  She later died.

The other thing that brought my attention to dietary needs, was noticing the general population at schools that my girls went to while growing up. I didn’t pay much attention at first because my girls were in such good shape, and most of their friends were too.

But after Molly passing away, I really started to notice the overall school population was obese.  It wasn’t like when I grew up and the overall population was thin, these kids are really big, and from a very early age.
 
I noticed that Pepsi was a school sponsor.  Would it be a surprise to learn that their product was readily available?
 
I watched a show one time, the “Naked Chef”, where he was trying to get the school system in a town in West Virginia to server healthier lunches.  They would have nothing to do with it.  The kids loved the McNuggets and fries, and didn’t want the healthy meals.  Plus, the healthy meals cost more and the existing menu was approved by the government.
 
In my own personal context, at my peak I weighed 255 lbs., being 6’3 that may not sound too bad, but it was.  Most of it was a spare tire, that was not going flat but inflating.

I decided when I was turning 50, to start making small changes.  I stopped drinking, didn’t quit, just stopped.  I stopped taking a bag of chips in my lunch.  Then I stopped using two pieces of bread on my sandwich and just folded one over.

I started to do stretches.  First in the shower when I would be waking up, I would reach for the ceiling then reach for the toes.

I started to do a small stretch and workout in the morning.  I started losing pounds.  I also started tracking my blood pressure and weight.

As time went on, I even stopped drinking coffee to see if that made any changes to my blood pressure, which it didn’t, but I still don’t drink coffee.  By the way I take no medications, my average blood pressure is 111/78/76 and I weigh 191 lbs.

I did gain almost 20 lbs. when I was on the road and my diet was Sneakers and peanuts.  I love Sneakers and peanuts, I just don’t love what they do to my body.
I realized I also had taken on a big demon (in my mind anyway), and that was sugar. 

Once I started trying to eliminate sugar from my diet, I not only had weight loss, but other benefits started to become noticeable.

Long story short.  This is why I am asking and trying to ethically bribe you to take my quiz.  I want to find out your story, your challenges, your frustrations on your road of life with being healthy.
 
Being healthy encompasses more than what you eat.  It involves your mental state, your physical activity (how mobile you are), and your body’s resistance to illness and disease.  I want to start though with food and drink.  That is what goes into your body and in turn, you are what you eat.
 
So please take the time to fill out the quiz, it will help me write better and more informative articles that hopefully you will want to read.  The time you take and the answers you give will have a huge impact on my own direction in life; personal and in business.

Please take your time, answer from the gut, no pun intended.
 
When it comes to eating organic, natural, wholesome food in order to maintain a healthy regenerative lifestyle, what is the single biggest challenge, frustration or problem you’ve been struggling with?
 
Thank you for your time. 

 

SuperFood List Download At End Of Quiz

 

 

 

 

Quiz link to go to the quiz:

https://go.bucketquizzes.com/ds/2229f614

PS It is still ok to eat big on Thanksgiving, it only comes once a year!


Check It Out!

 

 

Jamie Oliver – TED Talk – 21:43

Quick Tip

 

My own personal experience in life is that I found it very hard to quit something that I really wanted, but was able to walk away from that something if I had the mindset that I was just stopping not quitting.

 




 

Posted in Health, Magazine Issues Tagged with: , ,

Sign Up To Receive The Urban Farm Lifestyle Magazine

Archives

Categories