Bone Sauce and Alternative Preparations for Biodynamic Farming

Bone sauce… is precisely what it sounds like, a tarlike substance that is painted or flickered onto the bole, trunk, branches and base of trees to deter those herbivorous fauna that often frequent their grazing hours in a crop garden or fruit forest orchard. This is a preparation used for protection and acts as a chemical barrier to deter damage on vegetation. The product of bone sauce in fact separates the organic (marrow/blood) and the inorganic (bones), and renders them alchemically using the ashing technique espoused by Steiner. The result of which yields perfectly black bones, which supple the carboniferous, phosphoric, and calcined material for fertilizer fortifying, and the organic subconstituent of the bone sauce tar or Dippel’s oil. This is done by destructively distilling the bones using fire, from outside the vessel in which it is store. Made famous by Sepp Holzer, I make no claims to this idea as original, and stayed true to the ‘cooking’ recipe, the information about bone sauce however is gleaned elsewhere.

By heating up the bones without oxygen to temperatures in excess of 600 degrees C, the bones that are laid up in the vessel will ‘crack’, and melt out the marrow inside. I recommend using large cut bones, such as those acquired from a cattle butcher, femur and tibia bones would be optimal from a large mammal. To put together the bone sauce stove, you need two iron pots, or fireproof vessels, that fit on top of each other, one upside down on the other, a clay flu or crock may also work, in one pot the fresh bones are placed, these can be taking directly out of the cooking pot after making bone broth  but would yield less sauce because the marrow fat would have dissolved a little into the broth, or they can be placed in completely frozen, there is still moisture and ice crystals on the bone and so this will allow some water when they melt out. The other pot/vessel remains empty. One should cover the bone pot with a chicken mesh or other fire proof metal mesh, and flip it on top of the other. Then dig a hole and bury the pots halfway so the seem between the two pots is at ground level, and fill in with dirt while trying to tightly seal the seam between the two pots so no air can get into the chamber, hard packed dirt or mud works. Build your best tipi fire about 2 feet high around the pots, so now the top one is surrounded by wood, light it up from beneath and let it burn down to coals. Rake the coals onto the pot, and stack another tipi fire around it, and let it burn again, this took me six hours for the complete burn even while it lightly misted/rained outside, and I used mostly hardwoods like ash. Pictures are below in the slideshow of each stage. Leave it overnight to cool off, and settle, then unearth the pots while being careful to not scrape any dirt into your bottom submerged pot which is holding the tar. Just brush around it under the lip before pulling it out, and take the mesh off with the bones. They are now very fragile and should be black, with a slightly silver shine, this is almost pure carbon, and if the filaments and pores can be seen, it has been done perfectly, and no oxygen entered the chamber. If the bones are white and ashy it means there was fire in the pots and the bones were pyrolized and came in contact with the flames.

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When you get the bone sauce, now what to do with it? Pour it in a glass mason for easy storage, I personally keep it in a treasure chest filled with dirt in a basement, along with the jar of crushed of bone char which was easy to powder once it came out of the fire. It can be used raw or mixed with sawdust which contains much of the same nutrients. You can also urinate on it, and use that in the soil. Urine is a strong deterrent and the marking territory tricks works the same for humans with animals. The dust will bring carbon and phosphorous to the soil or your fertilizer, and can be diluted using the Steiner methods of stirring in a bucket or using a Verbela flowflorm. The sauce will ooze and should be used with an old paintbrush to selectively target the trees and crop you wish to form the protective force on.

It is effective not only for domestic herbivores like sheep, bison, goats, cows, but also browsers like moose, deer, elk. It would not kill them but they would certainly not love eating it and the sauce is meant to mimic the essence of death, and can come out smelling more like carrion or like soot, depending on conditions. Use it in tandem with thick woody, or senescent mulches like dead sunflowers, chipped trees, or glass stone mulch as another physical barrier. If you have understory plants it is more likely to deter the animals from become desperate for what is growing above their heads which requires more energy expenditure to acquire. I don’t think this would work on birds, and you would not want to put this too close to the actual fruit. Timing is important too. Put it on before flowering and budding of fruit, like in midwinter, or early spring before there is greenery. This is extremely important because the bone sauce can burn the flowers/buds while they may die or deform. If leaves are already growing, only apply this lightly to the trunk, the way you would paint limewash on the base of the tree, and you don’t need to lather it, simple stroke it on lightly with the bone tar. It is made of volative compounds and is very strong, so rationing is okay. So far, there does not seem to suggest any species specific problems about applying the sauce to certain trees. The thick bone sauce can be cut with tallow, 50/50 the fat should be animal based. This also makes the less desirous parts of the cow, pig, goat, be used in an effective and farm health promoting way, as not everyone wants to make soap from the tallows. This may also not work on generalist/omnivorous eaters like rats, coyotes or vultures, as they seem to like the carrion scent on their food. That said, the later are primarily meat eaters, and there would be no worries about them scavenging from your paw paw tree, or your kale garden.

The other two preps which I have collected are horn dust and bear scat. The bear manure was found on a foraging walk while looking for ramps, in our woods, there are black bears, who feast on blueberries before hibernation and start their spring diet forage looking for roots, tubers, moths and edible plants. The bear, like the cow also has an amazing and unique stomach that produces a bile that is stored in the gall bladder, this has profound digestive qualities, and everything that passes through a bear uses some of this bile to break down its food, making its manure particularly pure. I decided to collect a small pile of sun dried bear scat, that had only a slight sweet odor, to grind up with a stick for use as a fertilizer ration. Like a homeopathic dose for small plants who need a pure boost of energy in their first stage as a seedling. The experiment can be done with plants before they have been transplanted, and applied surrounding or scattered onto the new seeds while in the single pots or trays.

bear scat and horn dustThe second one is horn dust, which is mostly keratin, the same material our hair, and nails are made of. These were the dusts that came off of the external parts of the horn while making drinking vessels, and carry the same forces as the horn. It needs to be cured first, by aerating it in the sun, and perhaps stirring the small amount of powder with a spoon, so no moisture remains while storing, otherwise the fats in the horn(dust) go rancid, and smell like sulfur and rotting flesh. This was learned the inconvenient way by opening an old jar inside the kitchen and the smell lingered for several hours. These are both experimental preps to add to our curio of biodynamic preps. I am interested in exploring other organic options of building soil using other materials like elk antler, or different types of animal hair. Only time and experience will tell the benefits.


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