Homemade Natural Gas

Our cow-manure-and-water slurry began producing gas a week after we half-filled THE MOTHER EARTH NEWS' digester with waste. This was unusually fast action (we had added no special cultures of bacteria or other starters to the slurry) and, as might be expected, we were quite excited by the activity. In the best "safety first" tradition, we bled off the first two bonnetfuls of gas (since the initial flow of methane could mix with air already inside the digestion chamber to form a potentially explosive combination). Dad then ran an ordinary garden hose from a petcock on the bonnet to an old two-burner gas stove, opened the valves, struck a match ... and began frying eggs over a very hot flame.