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sources for cow-horns?

 
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Anyone in north Texas (near Dallas/Ft Worth) know where to source the cow's horns and etc. that are needed for the biodynamic preparations?
I live in a suburb and while I like to play at urban farming, no one i know has cows.
 
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It's all online. Just do a simple google/yahoo search. Or look up local slaughter houses.
 
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My vet offered to provide me with some after seeing the craft work i did  with the pair he dehorned for  me.

Its been a year and none have been offered though.

 
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hau Kristen,
I am curious as to why you need the cow horns, Steiner came up with using cow horns for some preparations because they could be reused, not because they did anything for the preparation.
Cow horn is keratin over bone, the bone is removed, so you are actually only using the keratin as a container for Steiner's preparations. (it also makes it easy to locate the horn container for re-use)

I use heavy cardboard tubing or even toilet paper rolls as the containers and the preparations work just as well.

Redhawk
 
pollinator
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:hau Kristen,
I am curious as to why you need the cow horns, Steiner came up with using cow horns for some preparations because they could be reused, not because they did anything for the preparation.
Cow horn is keratin over bone, the bone is removed, so you are actually only using the keratin as a container for Steiner's preparations. (it also makes it easy to locate the horn container for re-use)

I use heavy cardboard tubing or even toilet paper rolls as the containers and the preparations work just as well.

Redhawk



I thought Steiner considered the cow horn as pretty important due to the shape and certain forces are meant to flow in through the horns and this becomes the 'expression' of the prep. The cow horn metaphysics alone is the reason most people think biodynamics is all pseudoscience.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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hau Henry,

I have found, through experimentation, that Steiner's preparations work, most of them do not need special containers to do the job they are meant to do.
I am very conscious of the energy flows of the earth mother, my position in my nation is because of that.  

While Steiner seems to be thought of by many as a scientific man, he was not, his field was philosophy, he developed his techniques and theories because he was asked to give his thoughts on the subject.
That is the reason, to my mind, of why so many proclaim his methodology "woo, woo", however much of it holds up to scientific experimentation with repeatability.
His preparations work because they promote bacterial and fungal life, which is the basis of all life on the planet.

I have been studying Steiner for many years now and while I do not subscribe particularly to spending the time and effort, I do not oppose those that are.
The way I look at the world is; if it works, do it. I personally don't have the time to spend to create some of the Steiner preparations and have come up with faster ways to reach the same end.

I have even checked electric flow with the prep that uses the cow horn (supposed to actually increase electric currents but if it does, they aren't measurable) I have done an experiment with the prep and different containers, all worked the same in two series of experiments, all had the same electrical conductivity except for cardboard, which registered a slight increase.

Redhawk
 
Henry Jabel
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That's interesting to hear you have discovered no discernable difference, especially as it seems a little out there and it is a great deal easier to source other materials. I competely agree you should go with what works. Out of interest do you store your preps in the typical biodynamic way in a box lined with peat moss or can you dig them up as you need them?
 
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If you ask nicely, most abattoirs will give free cow horns.  A smaller one is your best bet.  
 
Bryant RedHawk
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hau Henry,
I try to use any preparation as soon as it is ready, I tend to use up the batch I've made in a first application since I have fairly large (in relation to what I can take care of) amounts of land in gardens and pasture.
 
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Please forgive y ignorance as I am just beginning to explore Biodynamics.  I am reading the Agriculture Course lectures. I have a great deal more to read and learn.   At first, I was very skeptical.  When the preparations are seen as homeopathy for the soil though, it makes a lot of sense.  I am definitely a do it yourself, on sight, type of person and have seen obtaining and using the bovine and stag parts as an impediment.  Am I to understand, from the preceding conversation,  that stag bladders, cow horns, intestines, etc are unnecessary? Can any type of natural container be substituted?  Is the burying of chamomile, yarrow, nettles, etc in the ground necessary or may they be  just aged in a dark place for a time?  Would simple decoctions be as effective?  How much effect does the process have, as opposed to the substance itself?
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Hau Wj, since you are just at the beginning of the world of Biodynamic education, I want to say that you are on a wonderful exploration trip, enjoy the knowledge you are gaining.

The biggest thing many of the "followers" of biodynamics either don't think about, or just ignore, is that the founding of this "movement" (actually more of a methodology) is that it was first brought up as the result of a challenge put to a philosopher, not a scientist or agriculture person.

The resulting science was from the explorations by that philosopher (Steiner) into the science as it pertained to nature, this isn't to say he didn't come up with great ideas and concepts, he  most certainly did.

Some times though, Steiner came up with parts of what became his "method" through insight as perceived by a philosopher, and things like the cow horn, stag bladders, antlers, etc., while being useful, are not entirely necessary.

Lets look at the science behind some of these items to discover his thought process.

Cow horn is made of; keratin, carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur. So cow horn contains three items we know are needed for plant growth and soil health.
Stag bladder is made of; 1) mucosa layer that lines the hollow lumen, 2) the submucosa, a layer of connective tissue with blood vessels and nervous tissue, 3)  visceral muscles of the muscularis layer. So it is muscle tissue (protein chains) for the most part.
Antlers are bone so we know they are a good source of calcium.

See the connections here?
Each of Steiner's "delivery systems" was thought to provide not only a container for one of his preparations but the container would, over time, also provide some nutrient values to the soil.
Now, given the length of time it takes for these items to decompose, you would get many uses of them or if simply left along after installing them, they would eventually become part of the soil matrix, some faster than others.
Are they necessary? yes and no is the answer.
On the one hand, if you desire to rigidly follow Steiner's methods the answer is yes you do need these items for your delivery system.
If on the other hand you simply want the main benefits of his method but don't want to go to the trouble of gathering these somewhat obscure items of the delivery systems, then they aren't so vital that you can't substitute or eliminate the prescribed delivery system container.

Things like the herbaceous items (chamomile, yarrow, nettle, etc.) were specified to be buried because that speeds up the decay process and provides the microorganisms not only foods but also housing.
These same items can be made part of a "brew" by chopping and using like tea leaves, same as you would use compost, manure, or burnt bones.
In the end the objectives are to build the soil biota and thus improve the soil and thus allow plants to grow to their best ability and nutritional values.

Items like the cow horn are rather handy, they can be placed then recovered to be refilled, many times over, until their decay advances so much that they fall apart.
Antler can be placed but be aware that there are animals that will dig them up and gnaw them for the calcium, but then they poop and that returns some of the calcium to the soil in a better form for plant use.
Organ parts will decompose fairly rapidly, but if you aren't a farmer/rancher, you probably would not be able to find bladders or stomachs to use, most offal is not particularly available (except for intestines (chitterlings)).

Redhawk
 
Wj Carroll
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Thanks, cousin - that all makes a lot of sense!
 
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