This image is (rather,used to be) a very common sight in rural India. Cow excreta is very rich in minerals has a surprising amount of uses; cow urine is used as a disinfectant and biofertilizer, and the dung is used as fuel, for storing seeds, and in summers is spread on the floors and walls of huts as it lowers the ambient temperature,in addition to acting as a disinfectant.
Unfortunately, these practices are slowly disappearing, as houses are being made with "modern" materials, and a number of more convenient (albeit,less sustainable) tools (like gas stoves, are available on the market.
In this tutorial, I'll be illustrating how to prepare the cowpat, and also a few of its uses.
Step 1: Collecting the fresh dung
Collect the dung in small balls, approx 15cm in diameter.
Step 2: A
Hit the dung against a rough stone wall (preferably one under direct sunlight), with enough force so that it sticks. Then flatten and spread it against the surface. Repeat this with all the balls. Leave to dry for about 4 days.
Remove the dung from the wall with the help of a spatula (it comes off easily enough, and doesn't leave much of a stain). It can now be used either for storing seeds, or as fuel.
Step 4: Using the cowdung for storing seeds
The cowdung can be used to store seeds for periods upto a year, until required for the next sowing. This method actually improves the germination and viability of the seeds, in addition to protecting it from pests.
This can be done with both fresh and dried dung, but is more effective when the dung is fresh. To do this, just repeat the first two steps,but this time embedding the seeds in the dung before sticking it to the wall.
Step 5: Using the dried cowpat as fuel
Cowdung is actually a very good option for fuel, especially when it comes to cooking. It burns slowly, and gives a steady flame,allowing food to be kept warm for long periods of time, and, also, lends a very characteristic flavour if the food is being cooked in an earthen pot.