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On Oct 7, 2013, at 11:51 PM, john heitman <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> You mine sulfur out of the ground. The easiest way to find it is by smell.  the stuff shows up in wells with a REALLY bad odor.  most often they are salt springs as well.

Okay. I do remember some mineral springs that smelled strongly of sulfur. I'd forgotten about that. Much easier than I would have suspected.

> Its a nice pretty yellow powder.

Yep. Today you can probably buy it in powdered form in most garden stores.

> Potasium nitrate is made by pouring this morning's urine over last nights ashes, turning a bowl over the slush, and allowing it to evaporate. At the end of the day, turn the bowl right side up and collect the crystals that have formed on the surface (use a pottery bowl!). the crystals are the salt peter you seek.

Oh! Again, much easier than I was suspecting. Maybe it has to do with the quantity that you can extract, but I believe that many caverns and caves were mined for their bat guano through history. To make gunpowder during the American War between the States and at other times for nitrogen, for fertilizer.

> have you become amazed at the ingenuity of the alchemist yet?  I mean, who in their right mind would have thought to do that?

Not as much as by the folks that figured out how to make raw, poisonous items into edible food. Often by using complex, multi-step processes.

Stefan
(Of course, now I'm drawing a blank on the examples I know of. :-(  ) Puffer fish? fuego? taro?
--------
THLord Stefan li Rous    Barony of Bryn Gwlad    Kingdom of Ansteorra
   Mark S. Harris           Austin, Texas          [log in to unmask]
http://www.linkedin.com/in/marksharris
**** See Stefan's Florilegium files at:  http://www.florilegium.org ****