If we do not permit the earth to produce beauty and joy, it will in the end not produce food, either. Joseph Wood Krutch

Monday, September 10, 2007

Ruminate on this!

I love the smell of a farm. There is something pleasing about the aroma of fresh dung in a field coupled with the bellering of cows and the cackling of chickens. Perhaps not all share my view but if you grew up around this smell it holds a particular sentiment and nostalgia. I honestly do love the smell.

But just exactly how much sentiment and nostalgia comes out of the back of a cow. Here are a few statistics that will probably surprise you as much as they did me.

They typical dairy cow produces 120 pounds of sentiment every day. Let's see, 120 times 365, give or take a pound or two, throw in a leap year every four, average for water content differences and divide the result by 2000. There it is, each cow produces 22 tons of sentiment every year. In Oregon alone, according to the Dairy Farmers of Oregon*, there are roughly 122,000 dairy cows creating such nostalgia. That means 2,684,000 TONS of new sentiment are created every year. I think if you are the guy with the shovel, this sentiment may quickly lose it's nostalgia though. Either way that is a lot of sentiment and there are not that many people, like myself, that wax nostalgic about this stuff. So, what to do, what to do?

Here is one idea. NW Natural, (our local natural gas company) has hatched a new plan to pick up all this sentiment, let it decompose in a sealed environment, and create BioGas which will then turn a turbine and generate electricity. There is even a plan that it could be "cleaned" and mixed with the the regular natural gas supply as well. I guess gas doesn't actually come much more natural than that anyhow. I'll ruminate on this a while and get back to you when I find out more.

(*Source: Portland Tribune: Friday September 7, 2007, Page:A 10)

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