Dolomite Limestone, Protecting Books, Maine Winters, and Other Wisdom From Helen and Scott Nearing

In this installment of their regular column, Helen and Scott Nearing discussed the use of dolomite limestone in compost, methods of protecting books, and the severity of Maine winters.

| November/December 1980

The following are questions readers submitted to Helen and Scott Nearing in their regular column on homesteading.  

Q: You have mentioned that you are using dolomite limestone on your compost piles. If we're thinking about the same substance, I've found it to be pretty expensive ... at least here in Quebec, where I've been able to locate it only in small bottles in health food stores.  

I'd like to know how much dolomite you add per compost pile, and whether you can get the limestone in large bags.  

A: We do use dolomite limestone in our alkaline compost piles (a thin scattering on every layer). We buy the material in 50-pound bags at the local farm supply store, and it lasts for years if the sack is kept dry.

Q: I know you have a large library and that your books are probably used quite often. Can you tell me your method for protecting books? (I've tried, in the past, covering mine in plastic, but that wrap has led to the accumulation of moisture and subsequent mildew problems.)  

A: We do have a large library, which covers five walls in our home (we find that floor-to-ceiling bookcases are prettier than wallpaper, and provide good insulation as well!). Though many of the books are more than 50 years old, we've never tried to cover them with plastic. Our "preservation" process simply involves treating every one with respect. (Our books do sometimes get rumpled and damaged, but only when we lend them out. We feel that if you regularly allow others to borrow your volumes, it might indeed be wise to use a protective covering — perhaps brown paper — and to keep your own "library card" system ... so you can keep track of where the books are and, perhaps, eventually get them back.)

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