Here are some of our apprentices turning a pile of compost that had reached 160 degrees. What you see is the metabolic oxidation of hard-working microbes in the pile as they 'burn up' or digest, carbon-based organic matter, respiring carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. By layering our piles in healthy proportions of 'greens' and 'browns' (or nitrogen materials and carbon materials), adding air and moisture- we encourage legions of heat-loving bacteria, or 'thermophiles', to decompose prunings and food scraps and other organic matter into a rich, brown compost that we amend back into our vegetable beds.
Hooray for compost and building healthy soil!
"From my rotting body, flowers shall grow and I am in them and that is eternity."