Chelsea Green Publishing

Holy Shit

Pages:272 pages
Book Art:Black and white line drawings
Size: 5.5 x 7.5 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Paperback: 9781603582513
Pub. Date August 30, 2010
eBook: 9781603583107
Pub. Date August 30, 2010

Holy Shit

Managing Manure to Save Mankind

By Gene Logsdon
Illustrated by Brooke Budner

Availability: In Stock

Paperback

Available Date:
August 30, 2010

$17.50

Availability: In Stock

eBook

Available Date:
August 30, 2010

$17.50

In his insightful new book, Holy Shit: Managing Manure to Save Mankind, contrary farmer Gene Logsdon provides the inside story of manure-our greatest, yet most misunderstood, natural resource. He begins by lamenting a modern society that not only throws away both animal and human manure-worth billions of dollars in fertilizer value-but that spends a staggering amount of money to do so. This wastefulness makes even less sense as the supply of mined or chemically synthesized fertilizers dwindles and their cost skyrockets. In fact, he argues, if we do not learn how to turn our manures into fertilizer to keep food production in line with increasing population, our civilization, like so many that went before it, will inevitably decline.

With his trademark humor, his years of experience writing about both farming and waste management, and his uncanny eye for the small but important details, Logsdon artfully describes how to manage farm manure, pet manure and human manure to make fertilizer and humus. He covers the field, so to speak, discussing topics like:

  • How to select the right pitchfork for the job and use it correctly
  • How to operate a small manure spreader
  • How to build a barn manure pack with farm animal manure
  • How to compost cat and dog waste
  • How to recycle toilet water for irrigation purposes, and
  • How to get rid ourselves of our irrational paranoia about feces and urine.

Gene Logsdon does not mince words. This fresh, fascinating and entertaining look at an earthy, but absolutely crucial subject, is a small gem and is destined to become a classic of our agricultural literature.

REVIEWS AND PRAISE

Holy Shit is a national treasure, a book so right it rings the Liberty Bell on every other page. What carries this book along is how Logsdon disarms you with his wit, his country charm, and his experience—this book would mean next to nothing had it come from a research department at a university. However, reading about Gene on his family’s farm, spreading manure on the fields, or putting down additional bedding in the chicken coop, makes his answers to our wrongly perceived problems seem like the only answers. I can see many, many people taking issue with what Logsdon has written, and if he didn’t have experience—both his own and human history dating back thousands of years—Logsdon might be banished to the outhouse. However, history is with Logsdon, and we would all do well to get to know manure a little more intimately. Who would have thought our salvation could come through shit?”--Todd Simmons, MatterDaily

"In the revolution Gene Logsdon envisions, we need pitchforks, but not to mount the barricades. And what a joyful, reverent, irreverent, hard-working, down-to-earth, realistic, Whitmanesque, animal-loving, microbe-nurturing, compost-making, farmer-sensical, manure-pitching revolution it is!"--Woody Tasch, author of Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money: Investing as if Food, Farms, and Fertility Mattered

"In our family we have a standard joke that every conversation, even around the dinner table, eventually winds up about manure. And Gene Logsdon, in his naughty and inimical style, has captured the essence of soil building, pathogen control, food ecology, and farm economics by explaining the elegantly simple symbiosis between manure and carbon. What a great addition to the eco-food and farming movement. Logsdon's deep bedding approach for livestock housing, elegantly explained and defended, is the primary fertility engine that drives all of us beyond organic farmers. Read and heed."--Joel Salatin, Author of You Can Farm and The Sheer Ecstasy of Being a Lunatic Farmer

"With a combination of deep knowledge, longtime farming experience, and great humor, Gene Logsdon tells us everything we don't know about human and animal wastes, and what to do about it. As the author writes, 'Sooner or later we have to live in the same world as our colons.' Not to mention the wastes of all the animals we raise for food! This is the book to read if you give a crap about crap."--Sim Van der Ryn, Author of The Toilet Papers

"No one knows more about the backside of agriculture (and the front side, and everything in between) than Gene Logsdon, truly one of the shrewdest practitioners and wisest observers of farming and agriculture. He doesn't care much for social taboos or politeness, and challenges us to see land, animals, ourselves, and yeah, shit, as parts of one system--whole and undefiled--and maybe discover the Holy in the excremental. This is Logsdon at his best; Holy Shit is a national treasure."--David Orr, Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics, and Senior Adviser to the President, Oberlin College

"This could very well be one of the most important books ever written. Few people realize that the subject of excrement is so critically important, complex, and timely. Thankfully, Gene Logsdon has provided humanity with a literary gift that addresses this most basic and fundamental subject with wisdom, humor, poetry and reverence. Holy Shit belongs in every bathroom in every home. The book is great. I love it."--Joseph Jenkins, Author of The Humanure Handbook

"Gene Logsdon is one of only three people I know who are able to make a living exclusively out of writing what should be common sense. Here he has done it again."--Wes Jackson, President of The Land Institute

Publishers Weekly-
Common sense and just the right amount of folksy humor make this treatise on feces a pleasure to read whether or not you've ever knowingly come within 50 miles of a compost heap. Logsdon writes for a wide scope: how to recognize a manure spreader for those who don't know; the finer points of old-fashioned pitchfork tines, for readers who actually use them. In addition to lots of clear DIY instructions for utilizing waste, Logsdon, a blogging farmer in Ohio, draws from his boyhood experience during the days of the privy, his Amish neighbors, and his understanding of how ancient China saw agricultural productivity rates the likes of which we've never had in the U.S. Ultimately, the real coup here is that this book overcomes the yuck factor and illustrates how, as with many things American, we've taken a natural, healthy, efficient system and replaced it with something expensive, toxic, and marketable - in this case, chemical fertilizers. As food locavores gain visibility and popularity, so too should the rear end of sustainable farming practices.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gene Logsdon

Over the course of his long life and career as a writer, farmer, and journalist, Gene Logsdon published more than two dozen books, both practical and philosophical, on all aspects of rural life and affairs. His nonfiction works include Gene Everlasting, A Sanctuary of Trees, and Living at Nature’s Pace. He wrote a popular blog, The Contrary Farmer, as well as an award-winning column for the Carey, Ohio, Progressor Times. Gene was also a contributor to Farming Magazine and The Draft Horse Journal. He lived and farmed in Upper Sandusky, Ohio, where he died in 2016, a few weeks after finishing his final book, Letter to a Young Farmer.

ALSO BY THIS AUTHOR

Gene Everlasting

Gene Everlasting

By Gene Logsdon

Author Gene Logsdon—whom Wendell Berry once called “the most experienced and best observer of agriculture we have”—has a notion: That it is a little easier for gardeners and farmers to accept death than the rest of the populace. Why? Because every day, farmers and gardeners help plants and animals begin life and help plants and animals end life. They are intimately attuned to the food chain. They understand how all living things are seated around a dining table, eating while being eaten. They realize that all of nature is in flux.

Gene Everlasting contains Logsdon’s reflections, by turns both humorous and heart-wrenching, on nature, death, and eternity, all from a contrary farmer’s perspective. He recounts joys and tragedies from his childhood in the 1930s and ‘40s spent on an Ohio farm, through adulthood and child-raising, all the way up to his recent bout with cancer, always with an eye toward the lessons that farming has taught him about life and its mysteries.

Whether his subject is parsnips, pigweed, immortality, irises, green burial, buzzards, or compound interest, Logsdon generously applies as much heart and wit to his words as he does care and expertise to his fields. 

Available in: Paperback, eBook

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Letter to a Young Farmer

Letter to a Young Farmer

By Gene Logsdon

For more than four decades, the self-described “contrary farmer” and writer Gene Logsdon has commented on the state of American agriculture. In Letter to a Young Farmer, his final book of essays, Logsdon addresses the next generation—young people who are moving back to the land to enjoy a better way of life as small-scale “garden farmers.” It’s a lifestyle that isn’t defined by accumulating wealth or by the “get big or get out” agribusiness mindset. Instead, it’s one that recognizes the beauty of nature, cherishes the land, respects our fellow creatures, and values rural traditions. It’s one that also looks forward and embraces “right technologies,” including new and innovative ways of working smarter, not harder, and avoiding premature burnout.

Completed only a few weeks before the author’s death, Letter to a Young Farmer is a remarkable testament to the life and wisdom of one of the greatest rural philosophers and writers of our time. Gene’s earthy wit and sometimes irreverent humor combines with his valuable perspectives on many wide-ranging subjects—everything from how to show a ram who’s boss to enjoying the almost churchlike calmness of a well-built livestock barn.

Reading this book is like sitting down on the porch with a neighbor who has learned the ways of farming through years of long observation and practice. Someone, in short, who has “seen it all” and has much to say, and much to teach us, if we only take the time to listen and learn. And Gene Logsdon was the best kind of teacher: equal parts storyteller, idealist, and rabble-rouser. His vision of a nation filled with garden farmers, based in cities, towns, and countrysides, will resonate with many people, both young and old, who long to create a more sustainable, meaningful life for themselves and a better world for all of us.

Available in: Hardcover, eBook

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A Sanctuary of Trees

A Sanctuary of Trees

By Gene Logsdon

As author Gene Logsdon puts it, "We are all tree huggers." But not just for sentimental or even environmental reasons. Humans have always depended on trees for our food, shelter, livelihood, and safety. In many ways, despite the Grimm's fairy-tale version of the dark, menacing forest, most people still hold a deep cultural love of woodland settings, and feel right at home in the woods.

In this latest book, A Sanctuary of Trees, Logsdon offers a loving tribute to the woods, tracing the roots of his own home groves in Ohio back to the Native Americans and revealing his own history and experiences living in many locations, each of which was different, yet inextricably linked with trees and the natural world. Whether as an adolescent studying at a seminary or as a journalist living just outside Philadelphia's city limits, Gene has always lived and worked close to the woods, and his curiosity and keen sense of observation have taught him valuable lessons about a wide variety of trees: their distinct characteristics and the multiple benefits and uses they have.

In addition to imparting many fascinating practical details of woods wisdom, A Sanctuary of Trees is infused with a philosophy and descriptive lyricism that is born from the author's passionate and lifelong relationship with nature: There is a point at which the tree shudders before it begins its descent. Then slowly it tips, picks up speed, often with a kind of wailing death cry from rending wood fibers, and hits the ground with a whump that literally shakes the earth underfoot. The air, in the aftermath, seems to shimmy and shiver, as if saturated with static electricity. Then follows an eerie silence, the absolute end to a very long life.

Fitting squarely into the long and proud tradition of American nature writing, A Sanctuary of Trees also reflects Gene Logsdon's unique personality and perspective, which have marked him over the course of his two dozen previous books as the authentic voice of rural life and traditions.

Available in: Paperback, eBook

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Good Spirits

Good Spirits

By Gene Logsdon

Here we go. Gene "The Contrary Farmer" Logsdon has taken on some controversial subjects in his time, but this time he has bitten off ("sipped on" doesn't sound right) a topic bound to raise strong feelings on both sides of society's moral boundary lines. His subject is alcohol and its traditional role on the family homestead. Not surprisingly, Gene speaks the bare-naked truth, and finds a lot more good than bad to say about booze.

Alcohol has historically played a significant role in agricultural life. In colonial times it was the most "liquid" alternative to hard currency as a means of exchange. Alcohol was the most reliable, safest, and most convenient way to store the grain harvest, and was an integral commodity on nearly every farmstead. Because it was so valued--does this surprise us?--the government muscled in, looking for its own piece of the action. George Washington was the first of many politicians to regulate alcohol as a means to generate revenues and gain political control.

Good Spirits is a rare and brave revisionist view of history. Logsdon is a master at exposing the absurdity of the commonplace. Does it really make sense that the government can make it illegal for us to combine common substances (grain, water, and yeast) on our own property? Can it be true that every war effort in the nation's history has been fueled literally and figuratively by alcohol and the tax revenues it produces? Why must the farmer fund the government that oppresses him?

In between good-natured tirades, Logsdon makes sure the reader learns some valuable lessons. He tells us how to make beer; he teaches the rudiments of distilling; he interviews Booker Noe (patron of America's First Family of bourbon) to tell us how to sip and tell; and he adds lively tales from alcohol's quasi-legitimate past. This is vintage Contrary Farmer: 100-proof, single-barrel select. Good Spirits is outrageous, entertaining, enlightening, and an eye-poppingly interesting, natural and holistic look at the role of alcohol. You will savor this book like a snifter of Calvados, the double-distilled apple brandy of Normandy that evaporates on the tongue like a heavenly ambrosia. Heady stuff, but delicious when consumed in moderation.

Available in: Paperback

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AUTHOR VIDEOS

Gene Logsdon's Holy Shit

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