The following is a blog post written by Jeff Poppen in response to the question “Why?” after Kristina’s post about a day spent scooping brains out of a cow’s skull.
An open grown white oak tree can attain a magnificent crown, rounded and easily as wide as it is tall. When you burn the bark, 77% of the left over ashes are the element calcium. Calcium is the element that helps move other elements around, so it is extremely important for the health of plants, animals and humans.
A skull cavity is also round, and houses the brain. The difference is oak bark before and after its time in a skull is the proliferation of enzymes, which are catalysts for biological processes. We put the finished product in small amounts into compost piles, where these new enzymes ( and other microbes) can propagate. The compost will later be spread on fields to support the clay/humus complex.
As plants grow, their root exudates wake up soil microbes that can colonize around these food sources and contribute to the plant’s health. The greater the biological diversity in the soil life, the better chances we have for really health crops. The oak bark preparation contributes to this diversity, and is meant to be used in conjugation with five other preparations; yarrow, chamomile, stinging nettle, dandelion and valerian, all of which undergo a particular process.
Rudolf Steiner gave these preparations as for farms that had the misfortune of applications of artificial fertilizers. They help to bring the soil back up to par. We have found them to be the cheapest way to grow good foods here on our farm.