Carbon and nitrogen are amazing basic components of life to exist and grow. Carbon is important because it is an energy-producing factor, and nitrogen because it builds tissue. Carbon to nitrogen ratio (C:N ratio) is an important parameter during composting of organic matter, it is related to the beneficial soil microbial biomass and activities for human sustainability through the natural way of farming or organic farming.

Soil microorganisms need a good balance of carbon and nitrogen (ranging from 25 to 35) to remain active. High C:N ratios can lead to prolonged composting duration and low C:N ratios enhance nitrogen loss. For example, a C:N ratio of 10:1 means there are ten units of carbon for each unit of nitrogen in the substance. The C:N ratio of everything above and in the soil can have a significant effect on crop residue decomposition, particularly residue cover on the soil and crop nutrient cycling (predominantly nitrogen).

According to USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (2011), soil microorganisms have a C:N ratio near 8:1. They must acquire enough carbon and nitrogen from the environment in which they live to maintain that ratio of carbon and nitrogen in their cells. Soils with a C:N ratio of 24:1 have the optimum ratio for beneficial soil microbes to stimulate release of nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and zinc to crops. This ratio influences the amount of soil-protecting residue cover that remains on the soil.

It is important to understand these ratios when planning crop rotations and the use of cover crops in agricultural systems. Most farms produce carbon as a by-product by the end of the cycle and accumulate nitrogen as the main product during the productive, harvesting, and post harvesting cycle.

It has been proven that the excess of the carbon in the atmosphere causes global warming, unpredictable weather, and global catastrophe. In this case carbon capture and storage or sequestration by capturing carbon dioxide before entering the atmosphere and storing in the soil and plants are utmost important.

The recent problem with the regulation of the excess of nitrogen can be seen by the protest of the Dutch modern farmer last Summer. The Dutch government’s proposal to halve nitrogen oxide and ammonia pollution in the country by 2030 will likely make many farmers drastically reduce their number of livestock and crops.

Scientists around the globe estimate that humans can pour roughly a “reasonable” 565 gigatons until the scariest number is 2795 gigatons of carbon dioxide by this midcentury. The official position of planet Earth at the moment is that we cannot raise the temperature more than two degrees Celsius – it’s become the bottom line. Two degrees.

Meanwhile The most abundant naturally occurring gas is nitrogen (N2), which makes up about 78% of air. Nitrogen makes up almost four fifths of the air we breathe but being unreactive is not used in respiration at all – we simply breathe the nitrogen back out again, unchanged. However, nitrogen is essential for the growth of most living things and is found as a vital ingredient of proteins.

Starting composting with thermophilic (high temperature) process and vermicomposting with mesophilic (medium temperature) process in the family using beneficial soil microbes and earthworms and their decomposer friends may help to prolong the long live on the earth and comfortable healthy and happy community.  

The table carbon to nitrogen ratios of crop residues and other organic materials is courtesy of USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

-Bintoro Gunadi-


The Nobel prize in physiology or medicine 1973 was granted jointly to Karl von Frisch (1886-1982), Konrad Lorenz (1903-1989), and Nikolaas Tinbergen (1907-1988) for their discoveries concerning organization and elicitation of individual and social behavior patterns. Three of them are the founders of Ethology, the scientific and objective study of animal behavior, especially under the natural conditions. Ethology is dealing with human character and with its formation and evolution.

It is well documented in the books, photos, and videos that Konrad Lorenz practically and scientifically had a long study on the behavior of geese and their goslings. Lorenz in 1935 published one of his famous studies, he showed that young ducks (ducklings) and geese (goslings) could be “imprinted” and virtually anything, from people to colored balls, during the first days of life. He discovered that newly hatched goslings would follow the first moving object they saw – often Lorenz himself. So, they follow the appropriate adult, providing them with safety.

Canada geese (Branta canadensis) need open water where they can swim away from land predators, as well as for food. Frozen Winter water doesn’t suit the birds. In the mild climate from southwestern British Columbia to California, some of the population has become non migratory due to adequate, open water, Winter food supply, and limited predators.

These geese will travel from 3,000 to 5,000 kilometers during the Winter if they can’t find open water, returning to their birthplace in Spring. Canada geese can travel about 2,000 kilometers per day if the weather permits and tend to fly around 60 kilometers per hour during migration, though that can increase up to 110 kilometers per hour if they catch a strong tailwind. Migrating in groups tends to have 30 to 100 geese.

We can learn about teamwork and fast learner from the Canada geese using the approach on Ethology:

The iconic flying V formation has been reported many times. The front position is rotated since flying in front consumes the most energy. Each bird, as it flaps its wings, is creating lift for their fellow birds, allowing them to fly further with less effort. When a goose falls out of formation, they quickly realize that it takes a lot of energy to fly alone. They will move back quickly into formation and work together in the group again.

Canada geese support each other when times are tough. When a goose gets tired, injured, or sick, two other geese will fall out of formation to stay with the goose and stay with it until it is able to fly again. When they head back out, they work together to catch up with the rest of the flock.

These geese sometimes can be hard honking loudly while they fly. Scientists speculate that this honking is a way to communicate with and encourage the flock on their long flight. It seems the geese encourage each other to maintain their speed, keep flying toward their goal, and cherish the progress. Their goal remains the same, move the flock from the North to the South to protect the flock from the cold and to find food in Winter. Then they are back in Spring to their birthplace for breeding.

Baby geese called goslings are impressionable and impressive little birds. They have been known to follow just about anything, from dogs to humans, mistaking the creature for their parents. The goslings mimic the adults, learning how to swim just 24 hours after hatching. At only one day old goslings can dive. Parent geese teach their young how to fly when the goslings are 2 to 3 months old. As they continue to grow and become more independent of their parents, they may group together with other young geese. The group called “gang brood” can consist of up to 100 goslings.

Due to the unpredictable weather (snowing and freezing in Autumn) and global warming (warm weather in winter), the Canada geese cancelled their long journey migration to the warmer places of America in early 2023. Sure that this human-made phenomenon caused by the global warming will influence their ancient genes for the survival of the fittest of their new generation. Not sure yet if they can adapt with the frequent unpredictable weather. Their “energy recession” in “comfort zone” can be fatal for the population.

The photo above was taken at Central Park, Burnaby last Summer. At least 3 families of Canada geese gather having “potluck” on the tracks in the early morning. They left a nice story behind about teamwork, friendly security, and a good time. They eat the greens, seeds, and minerals and leave an organic fertilizer to the land.

Most people will be happy seeing these happy families and never mind the organic waste produced during their journey. And the decomposers (beneficial soil microbes, earthworms and their friends) will do their job to support one of the most important cycles in nature, decomposition and nutrient cycling of their manure.

-Bintoro Gunadi   

The mystery of berries’ flavor and smell in the universe has been discovered by scientists. Ethyl formate, which gives raspberries their flavor and smells of rum, has recently been found in deep space. Ethyl formate is formed when an alcohol reacts with formic acid. In nature, formic acid is found in certain ants and naturally occurring components of the atmosphere due primarily to forest emissions. Raspberries can be found in five contingents.

Raspberry derives its name from raspise, “a sweet rose-colored wine” in the mid-15 century. The most common raspberry species are Rubus idaeus var. idaeus (European raspberry) and Rubus idaeus var. strigosus (North American red raspberry). A close relative of the raspberry plant Rubus rosifolius is native plant to open forest of the Himalayas, East Asia including in highland along Indonesia (local name ucen-ucen), eastern Australia, and also can be found in South Africa.

The difference between raspberry and blackberry relatives is when picking a raspberry fruit, the torus or receptacle or stem remains on the plant, leaving a hollow core; while a blackberry fruit, the torus stays with the fruit. The Rubus fruit, sometimes called a bramble fruit, is an aggregate or drupelet, one berry or fruit made of many smaller fruits.

Rubus idaeus are perennials, which bear biennial stems or canes from a perennial root system. In its first year, a primocane or new unbranched stem grows vigorously with no flowers. In its second year, a floricane or side branch shoots grow with smaller leaves, three or five leaflets, and it will produce flowers and fruits.

These super fruit raspberries have a wonderful intense, awesome taste, and many consider them to be the finest flavored of all the berries. An 80 g or 2 handfuls serving of raspberries provides: 20 kcals or 87 KJ, 1 g protein, 2 g fat, 7 g carbohydrates, 7 g fiber, 136 mg potassium, 26 mcg folate, and 26 mg vitamin C.

The top 5 health benefits of raspberries: May improve blood sugar management with low glycaemic index and high fiber content. May have colon, prostate, breast, and liver cancer protective properties as proved by the animal studies. May alleviate arthritis as loaded with anti-inflammatory compounds such as anthocyanins. May reduce signs of aging because being rich in protective plant compounds called polyphenols and vitamin C. May protect against metabolic syndrome (diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity).

As raspberries contain natural chemicals called salicylates, some people who are sensitive to these compounds may experience an allergic reaction, such as skin rash or swelling. Please consult your medical doctor if you are concerned about fruit allergies.

Permission is needed to reproduce the photo.

-Bintoro Gunadi

Worm composting bins can be placed nearby recycle bins at a cool place outdoors in hot Summer. Always remember 3Rs + 1R: reuse, recycle, reduce, plus renew with composting – vermicomposting on-site. Burnaby Red Wigglers and Kuna Red Wigglers, Idaho are grateful to share this activity in creating living soil for the community using red wigglers, reuse or recycle woods, and resource organic wastes: kitchen waste, garden waste, and farm waste.

The size of the bin is at least 1 X 0.5 X 0.75 meter in order to create heat at the peak of the Winter. Tarp is needed during the wet season, also watering during the dry Summer. The minimum temperature inside the bedding should be around 0°C during the winter and maximum 30°C during the Summer. Some organic wastes rich in carbon source can create heat at the peak of the Winter while the outdoor temperature is around -15°C. Insulation may be needed during the harsh Winter.

The density of the red wigglers in the bin can be started with 4 or 6 handfuls, or about 1000 – 1500 bed run worms; a mix of baby, juvenile, and adult size worms. Regular compost and shredded paper can be placed at the bottom of the bin at about 10cm depth. Feeding the worms with kitchen scraps, farm wastes, and selected wastes for example brewery waste. Former home of the red wigglers or worm castings (vermicompost) is needed as a microbe’s starter to cover the organic waste and speed-up the process of decomposition by the red wigglers and their friend’s decomposer.

This type of worm composting bin has been tested over the last Winter while the outdoor temperature was about -19°C. It is challenging to keep cool inside the bin in this hot Summer above 35°C. The photo can be zoomed to see ventilation in detail. 

I have just received good news that our hard worker red wigglers can survive well during the harsh Winter and hot Summer in the unpredictable prairies weather; with the range of the temperature can be 2 digits different in a day. They are thriving and producing the high quality of fresh worm castings for any plants. Moreover, their worm casting teas (after diluting the worm castings in the aerated water) are amazing for germination, transplanting plants, and make the plants more productive.

-Bintoro Gunadi

Not all ferocious dogs like to bite. If its bunch of hair on the back cheek area is already touched, don’t hesitate to shake it, then okay to see the dog’s teeth, dog’s savage instinct will melt. It needs time to approach it. My record was with a bull terrier of my North American friend. It looked scary and full of suspicion at first. Offering food or drink to make a friendship didn’t work for a fighting dog like the bull terrier.

According to Encyclopedia Britannica, bull terrier is a breed of dog developed in 19th century England from the bulldog, the white English terrier (a breed now extinct), and the Dalmatian. The bull terrier is active, loyal, and playful-even clownish-and is considered for its weight one of the strongest of all dogs. The bull terrier was developed for the dog-fighting pits as a courageous fighter but not an aggressive fight provoker.

I asked my friend what his dog’s hobby was. My friend said: “Bull very much likes playing with his master or Boss using a special thick and heavy ball that is like a baseball, a little bigger”. Boss also said: “Unfortunately, I haven’t played for a while with Bull”. I told him while looking at Bull:  Can I play with Bull? Boss with a grinning face answered shortly: “Sure, if you want”.

Boss called the fierce Bull, took the ball, and threw it there. Bull ran, caught it, brought the ball closer to his Boss, crouched for a while, and the ball was then placed slowly in the hand of his master. After several times then I was told to try to play with Bull that had a special fixed long chain hanging on his neck.

When for the first time I threw the ball, Bull didn’t want to catch it, he didn’t even look at the ball, let alone at me. Boss shouted: “Come on! Bull takes the ball”. Shocked, after the master gave a command, Bull hesitated to take it, still smelled first the ball then he was too lazy to bite. Might be he smelled my dirty and smelly hand or might be it’s an expression of his introduction to me.

I threw the ball again. Bull glanced at the master first and was still reluctant to take the ball. I tried to ask Bull for the ball, he just glanced not at me but always at his Boss. Boss shocked again: “Bull come on!”. I was waiting for Bull to place the ball in my hand, but instead the ball was rather lazily placed in the master’s hand. As if Bull protested to his master: ”Why didn’t you, Boss, throw the ball for me”.

After a few rounds of playing chain ball: I threw the ball, Bull took it, then gave the ball to his Boss, Boss grinning and the ball given to me, I threw the ball etc. etc. It seemed Bull started to be excited to play with me.

After Boss felt okay and secure, he said: “Excuse me, I have something to do inside”. What.. would I be playing alone with Bull? As Bull was already excited, I didn’t have the heart to walk out.

Bull was still suspicious and cheated on me by playing a ball. After I threw it and he took it, he didn’t give the ball to me. Bull crouched the ball a meter distance in front of me, with the ball still bitten tightly. I offered my hands out, just a glance cool, and didn’t hesitate to report to the Boss, if necessary, even though he often looked out of the window. “Bull, do you still want to play ball with me or not?”.

Boss shouted from inside the house: “Hooi… just take the ball from his mouth!! It will be okay; I give you my words “100% warranty”. Boss knew my problem in receiving the ball, but he only played with words. I realized the command was very complicated from inside the house, saying that Bull won’t cheat, attack me, and he would put the ball in my hand.

From the behavior and style of play, I suspected Bull wanted to play more and more with me. I am also curious. While Bull crouched, I put my hand in front of his mouth to receive the ball, just like his Boss who received the ball from Bull’s mouth directly. But I couldn’t manage it.

“Harder! Harder! take the ball from his mouth. he is excited, it will be okay”. With easy words Boss screaming from inside his house. This time, if I got the ball from Bull’s mouth with a harder power, it’s crazy, it’s also scary if Bull would let go of the ball and instead bite my hand. Why should I fight for the ball with the famous fierce and stubborn dog?

It was common sense. It’s my turn to slack off as if I want to go. That’s right, Bull released the ball and put it on the grass. Okay, let’s play again. I took the ball, threw it, and Bull ran fast to pick it up. I repeated several times to the four corners.

We just needed more time when sharing the ball. Bull crouched with the ball in his mouth a meter in front of me and looked at each other. I was forced to go forward to take the ball, he kept the ball tightly in his mouth. I showed him that I didn’t want to play ball with him, as if I wanted to go away. Bull released the ball on the grass, I took the ball and threw it etc. etc.

When we were together quietly, I knelt and Bull crouched with his nose closest to the ball, I touched his hair behind his cheek with two hands and I shaked it a bit hard. Good pig… uh… dog. Bull remained indifferent and didn’t care, he was just excited playing with the ball, even though I picked and threw the ball for him.

The peace and friendship were lit. “Chain may be released” my friend said then, so that the ball was thrown further away, and Bull was getting more excited. Instead, I tried to cheat as if the ball was thrown far but not, in different directions. Bull felt foolish several times, and never got angry. So, even though I felt free to do so, I worried too if it offended his true instinct as a reliable attacker and ferocious dog.

I was tired, Bull was like a diesel engine, getting hotter just becoming more agile. Okay stop, I was slowly going out of the arena. Bull’s gaze followed me, somehow, I didn’t look at his eyes. Instead, I glanced at the Boss in the house, asking for help if necessary.

How could it be that my human feeling wasn’t in purity to a new friend? I stopped playing ball with Bull and was afraid of being attacked. Later I was sure that Bull wouldn’t attack me.

Until the game ended, what I didn’t make it was to receive the ball pass directly from his mouth to my hand. Boss got it, I didn’t.

I don’t know when I can play with the Bull again there. I received the latest news that Bull had a malignant tumor in one of his testicles that had been castrated. The verdict doctor is waiting to die or is put to death by injection. So the last score doesn’t matter.

-Bintoro Gunadi

The very first berry can be found in nature in British Columbia is salmonberry followed by raspberry, thimbleberry and then blackberry. Salmonberry is endemic to Alaska and the Pacific Northwest (British Columbia, Washington, parts of Idaho, Oregon, and parts of California). Surprisingly, it can also be found in East Asia (Japan).

Incidentally, the salmonberry plants can abundantly be found along the Pacific Ring of Fire with the fertile volcanic soil from the Cascades mountains from British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, and the northern part of California supported by the awesome climate of the Pacific Northwest.

The scientific name of salmonberry is Rubus spectabilis, the member of the rose family with about 88 genera and 3,000 species. Salmonberry more specifically belongs to the genus Rubus in North America, which is simplified to only 37 species. It is a spectacular berry with a beautiful shape and color, supported by natural unforgettable taste.

In the wild, salmonberry fruits are typically eaten by birds, small mammals, bears, and humans, while the leaves, twigs, stems are grazed on by deer, elks, and rabbits. Salmonberry stems are not with thorns, so it makes the harvest enjoyable. The dense and thicket growth of the plants can provide escape for small animals, as well as nesting sites for birds.

Salmonberry plants love rich nitrogen, nutrient-dense soil found in the coastal areas. They easily can be transplanted and cultivated. Apply a thick layer of compost, typically 15-20 cm or worm castings or vermicompost just 1.5-2 cm to grow the salmonberry plants. The plants prefer plenty of moisture. The salmonberries ripen mostly in late Spring until early Summer (June – July).

Salmonberry is a shrub ranging in height up to 4 meters. The plant has pink to magenta flowers with 5 delicate petals in a circle. The flowering heads are representative of rose family (bisexual, perfect flower) with 75 – 100 stamens (male part) and many individual pistils (female part) with superior ovaries in one flower. Salmonberry flowers require cross pollination by insects and hummingbirds.

Salmonberry fruit is not a true berry (one fruit one berry), instead it is an aggregate fruit made of many smaller fruits or drupelets. The salmonberry fruits exhibit polymorphism, as berries are often either yellow, orange, or red with similar physical qualities and tastes. The red berries are more commonly consumed by birds.

I like most of the yellow salmonberries because I expect a rather sour taste, surprisingly getting just right sweet and bold tastes. The taste of the salmonberry seeds reminds of the taste of IPA (Indian Pale Ale) beer. Cheers! It is nice to share the first berries of the year with birds and other friends in nature. Some people, especially children, don’t really like salmonberries due to the less sweet taste and high fibre of the seeds. That is how the first lesson of the healthy diet and out of comfort zone come from.

Eat the salmonberries slowly, enjoy the low fructose for diet and the bold taste of the berries, especially the healthy bitter taste of their chewable seeds. First Nations people eat them with dried meat, smoked salmon, and salmon roe. There is speculation how the berry got its name, maybe because of their resemblance shape and color to salmon roe.

As many other endemic berries, salmonberry has several benefits. Salmonberries are said to have the highest manganese content and rich in vitamin A, C, E, K. Manganese helps in many body functions like regulating blood sugar, maintaining metabolism, also helps increasing digestion and reducing inflammation or pain.

According to the report of Kellogg Lab Penn State University, salmonberry producing plants that thrive under inhospitable conditions, such as the cold and wind of Alaska, might have more phytochemicals than the berry grown under gentler growing conditions. This is because the plants, in order to adapt and thrive, produce protective secondary phytochemicals. These chemicals not only help the plant to survive extreme weather but can also have health benefits to the animals, including humans, who go on to consume them.

Permission is needed to reproduce the photo.

-Bintoro Gunadi

I am not color blind, too picky, nor a fanatic in a single color but for the first time I saw these rose flowers, it’s difficult for me to describe the name of this kind of color and search for their name. Surprisingly, among the young generation, especially children, it is easy to describe and call this color as peach color.

Peach is a color that is named from the pale color of the interior flesh of the peach and apricot fruits. This name may also be substituted for “peachy” color and has been formulated primarily to create a pastel palette of colors for interior design. The symbolic meaning of peach color represents immortality, happiness, sensuality, and prosperity.

Actually, peach color in nature appeared much older before the first peach plant found by humans. The peach color first can be found in peach-colored mushrooms, especially in agaric mushrooms, whether it’s poisonous in Amanita (“fly agaric”) or edible in Chanterelle (“girolle”) and Laetiporus (“chicken of the woods”); even they have the smell like a peach.

The Etymology of the color peach and the fruit, the word comes from the Middle English peche, derived from Middle French, in turn derived from Latin persica with the meaning the fruit from Persia. The flowering peach-colored plants can be found in hybrid roses but never in wild roses which mostly have 3 colors white, red, and pink.

The hybrid rose is also called hybrid tea rose as an informal horticultural classification for a group of garden roses. This rose plant with peach-colored flowers is from Rosa hybrida cultivar Peach Avalanche. It’s elegant, each flower can be with up to 25 petals, and has a fresh sweet fragrance.

The similar peach color rose with the license price of about $5 million to cultivate the plant is named Juliet roses. Juliet rose or Ausleap (from outleap, a surge of feeling, activity, or growth) is created by the renowned rose breeder David Austin of the United Kingdom. He developed this hybrid over a fifteen-year period. The result is disease resistant rose plant with abundant medium-sized, double, shallow-cupped flowers with up to 90 petals, and sweet, delicious peachy-citrus scent.

I am wondering if nature needs those hybrid roses or even if it has a force to create them through natural selection. These relatively new creatures Ausleap roses evolve together with humans in urban areas for the middle-class people. Humans are about to abandon natural selection, the process that develops us, and replace it with volitional selection, to direct our own choices and willingness.

The future of the rose hybrids can be tough as they always depend on humans to cultivate them. They will be tested by nature for the long period ahead. The application of natural organic fertilizers such as solid worm castings and liquid worm castings tea speed up the asexual and sexual reproduction of hybrid roses.

It is interesting. The new hybrid rose from the relatively young action of the volitional evolution to benefit from the natural way of farming. The benefits come from using the product and by-product of the long evolutionary processes of the earthworms (particularly compost worms). The trials can be seen at the slide show on Portfolio and Products in our website

-Bintoro Gunadi

Not many people know about Secwepemc words, but most people understand the meaning of these messages through feeling, common sense, and drawing. Nature gives us everything for free, and we should take care of Her.

The Tk‘emlúpsemc, ‘the people of the confluence’, now known as the Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc are members of the Interior-Salish Secwepemc (Shuswap) speaking peoples of British Columbia.

The Shuswap or Secwepemc (pronounced suh-wep-muhc) people occupy a vast territory of the interior of British Columbia. This traditional territory stretches from the Columbia River valley along the Rocky Mountains, west to the Fraser River, and south to the Arrow Lakes. Most Secwepemc people live in the river valleys.

According to Janice Billy (2015), Secwepemc has a long tradition of storytelling. Traditional stories, or stsptekwle, include the history, landforms, and cultural practices and beliefs of the Secwepemc and share valuable teachings with younger generations. All Secwepemc stories have a close relation with mother nature and positive or good spirits.

The Secwepemc believe that when the world was just beginning it was not a very good place for people to live, there were floods, fires, and great winds; therefore, the Old One (Tqelt Kukwpi7) sent Coyote (Sek’lep) to come to earth and help to set things right.

Kukwpi7 is what Chiefs were called in Secwepemc. The Kukwpi7s role is to work for the people and ensure that the lands and resources were protected for future generations. They did not stand above the people but walked side by side with them.

What does nature give us for free?

Everything humans have needed to survive, and thrive, was provided by the natural world around us: food, water, medicine, materials for shelter, and even natural cycles such as climate and nutrients from soil. In accordance with the Gaia Hypothesis, taking care of mother nature continuously can be done by feeding the earth through composting and vermicomposting activities using leftover organic waste around us together with the soil creatures such as earthworms and beneficial soil microbes.

It’s a great pleasure for me and our team at Burnaby Red Wigglers to supply over 25 thousand hard worker employees of the red wigglers (compost worms), also worm cocoons (compound eggs) and worm castings (vermicompost) for the education and gardening at the Neskonlith Education Center, Chase, British Columbia this late Spring, which is in coincidence with the Earth Day 2022.

I have just received good news from them that their red wigglers are doing great. All the best. Kukwstsétsemc (thank you).

-Bintoro Gunadi

The Cascade Range or Cascades are a mountain range of western North America, extending from southern British Columbia through Washington and Oregon to northern California. There are 18 major mountains along the Cascades: with the total 4375 names of the mountains. The highest peak in the range is Mount Rainier in Washington at 14,411 feet (4,392 m) above sea level.

It was a great pleasure for me to see from above the ice caps near Vancouver area at the southern part of British Columbia, along with the fertile volcanic soil and running fresh water this Summer. It is called the Cascadian bioregion. A bioregion is defined in terms of the unique overall pattern of natural characteristics to support living creatures that are found in a specific place.

What does it mean? The ice caps will continue to supply one of the clearest and cleanest drinking waters around the globe. The volcanic soil will continue to produce the most fertile soil that supports all plants and animals to grow and reproduce. The mountains will continue to create breezy and cooler air naturally.

Can you imagine, near the Cascadian bioregion, in the ocean, there is a tectonic plate called the Pacific plate that can wipe off anything and everything in the water and on the land? The Pacific plate is the largest Oceanic tectonic plate under the Pacific Ocean with the size of 103,300,000 square kilometers.

Along with the Pacific plates in the ocean, the Cascades volcanoes are part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, the ring of volcanoes and associated mountains around the Pacific Ocean. The Cascade Volcanoes have erupted several times in recorded history. Two most recent were Lessen Peak in 1914 to 1921 and a major eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980. It is also the site of Canada’s most recent major eruption about 2,350 years ago at the Mount Meager massif.

As the climate of the Pacific Northwest regions is awesome, the human population is increasing. I hope human disturbance together with global warming are under control; not to trigger the disasters especially during the end of this pandemic. Let us protect and keep them well the soil fertility and productivity, clear and clean water, and air.

The first photo by Young Susanti was taken beside the author above British Columbia, Canada this week. The second map by NASA World Wind.    

-Bintoro Gunadi

One of my close friends, my mentor Cornelius Blomberg (Cees) passed away peacefully a few years ago. He once said that he must have been dead 70 years ago as a teenager in a Japanese prison camp in Semarang, Central Java during World War II. While in Japanese internment, he saw many Dutch friends, family and soldiers starving, falling ill, and dying. Several prisoners remained healthy and survived because they dared to eat tempeh, almost every day.

For those of you who have studied at the exact science faculties (biology, agriculture, science and mathematics, electrical engineering) at the Satya Wacana Christian University, Salatiga Indonesia, you may have heard some of his guest lectures on issues of global pollution and environmental chemistry in the nineties. He was professor of organic chemistry at the University of Botswana and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Cees RIP at 90 years old.

Tempeh is a traditional food made from fermented soybeans. Tempeh was once underestimated even though it is popular and becomes a healthy food in foreign countries. It is a popular vegetarian meat replacement. Unlike other soybean-based foods, such as soy sauce, soybean paste, tofu from China or natto and miso from Japan or meju from Korea, tempeh or soybean cake is originally from Indonesia, especially from Java.

When I was kid, I almost misunderstood when I heard Bung Karno, the first president of Indonesia in his speech said: “…don’t be a soft nation like tempeh…”. Soft tempeh will not last long because the fermentation process continues, it becomes easy to rot (with black spores, semangit in Javanese), and the nutrition is decreased.

The preferred tempeh is the one that its fermentation process is stopped at the right time. When the soybean seeds have been boiled, the texture is still clearly glued and covered by the white mat fungus Rhizopus oligosporus, for a moment it has not yet produced dark colored spores. Harvested when the aroma is appetizing and accompanied by consistent nutrition facts.

For someone who eats tempeh for the first time, they will prefer tempeh that is dry, has a clear shape and texture. So, there is no impression that the food is the result of a fermentation or decomposition process which is the initial stage of the decay process.

For people who like healthy fermented foods, all fermented products that are controlled, clean, and are not contaminated, either those that produce alcohol or organic acids or both, and single cell protein like tempeh, in sufficient quantities will definitely benefit the body.

This is because fermented products such as tempeh are modern human innovations that were not previously experienced by early humans, so that their nutritional content is different from foods that can be eaten directly and are good for supplementing health in this pandemic.

The benefits of tempeh started as a source of highly nutritious protein originating from single cells (microbes), as a probiotic to help the digestive system, antioxidants, strengthen bones, lower cholesterol, and to supply the hormone estrogen which have been widely reported scientifically.

Some time ago, I was worried when I heard that the price of soybeans in Indonesia was almost the same, or even higher than the price of soybeans abroad and many were imported from the United States. Hopefully there will be no tempeh recession because tempeh has been helping many people to be healthy.

Tempeh, along with other fermented soy products, are generally considered safe for most people. However, some individuals may want to consider limiting their intake of tempeh. Those with a soy allergy should avoid tempeh altogether, because tempeh may trigger an allergic response.

Information about the photos: our raw or fresh tempeh and stir fry tempeh with green beans, and the nutrition facts of tempeh according to the FoodData Central USDA.

-Bintoro Gunadi