Friday, September 13, 2013

Wasted Food

I got off early today and stopped by the grocery store to pick up a few things.  We needed all our dairy products: milk, yogurt, cheese, sour cream, ice cream.  When I buy these I remind myself that I don't have time to keep a goat or cow.  Those animals take a commitment of twice a day every day.  While I'm working I just don't have the time.  Some people can squeeze it all in.  I probably could have 20-30 years ago when I was raising the first set of kids.  Now, I can't.  I'm too tired at the end of the day.

After shopping I drove home and got it all put away.  Wow, home for several hours before the grand kids get home.  I guess it's chore time.  Either that or a nap!  No, chores win out once again. 

I went out to the chicken and chucker coops.  They had very little water.  It's not that they don't get watered, they do.  But the chickens especially, when they get hot, will jump into the water tubs and splash in the water to cool off.  That works well except they splash out all the water.  Then they get over heated while they are waiting for me to give them more water, which may be several hours later.  They are stupid chickens, after all. 

As I had the water running, I put another 50 pounds of lay pellets into the feeder.  With the price of pellets I'm just about breaking even with the amount of eggs I'm getting.  That's OK, I suppose.  I don't want to lose money.  But, I also look at the chickens as sort of an insurance policy.  You always lose money on insurance, unless you have an accident and the insurance pays up.  Same with the chickens.  You may lose money on them but if there's a shortage of eggs, or of anything at the grocery store, now they will be paying up.  Their eggs will be worth their weight in gold (Figure of speech, I hope they are never worth that much!).

Then I went over to the fruit trees to pick some pears and apples to put into the green salad we were having with dinner.  I noticed a bunch of fruit laying on the ground.  Normally I don't get too upset about that, but today was different.  I raked a bunch of the dropped fruit up and fed it to the chickens and the rest to the sheep.  Sure, feeding the chickens fruit will cut down on their food bill, but what about our food bill?  Chicken food is about $15 for the 50 pounds.  That's about 30 cents per pound.  The fruit is worth more than 30 cents per pound.  I don't think there's anything at the store I can buy for 30 cents a pound!  I shouldn't be letting fruit drop to the ground.  It should be getting canned, dried, frozen, made into fruit leather, or eaten fresh! 

The chickens get the trimmings so it's not like they aren't getting fresh fruits and vegetables.  Tonight for dinner I made a vegetable mixture of tomatoes, eggplant, green beans, garlic, and onions.  All the trimmings from that went to the chickens.  They eat plenty of fresh stuff.  When I include the weeds I split between the sheep and chickens they eat very well.  I've been foolish with the fruit.  Just because the pantry is full doesn't mean I should be wasteful.  Next summer may be a bad fruit year.  This year we had a bumper crop of fruit, but considering the previous two years we got almost nothing, who knows what the future may bring. 

If I bought it from the store I'd sure pay more attention to the fruit and not throw it away.  The same should be said about what grows on the tree.  It's like the store only more convenient! I guess I've had the same mentality as Son and Daughter-in-law.  They are on food stamps and are very wasteful with their food.  They over serve food to the kids and themselves and then throw half of it away. I always believe it's because they don't pay for it.  It's "free".  Sort of the same attitude I've had with the fruit trees.  But that is going to change. 

We have four pear trees and three apple trees that are filled with fruit.  Between this weekend and next I'm going to make sure I put up enough apple sauce and pear sauce to last a year or two.  I'll also cut up apple chunks and pear chunks.  I can them in a light syrup and use them for everything from pies to fritters to cakes to fruit salad!  After that, if there's fruit left that falls to the ground I won't be feeling so wasteful when I feed it to the chickens, chuckars, and sheep.


  1. Even if you don't have a dehydrator, you can slice and dehydrate your apples in a slow oven. I core them slice between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick and toss in a mix of water, lemon juice and sugar to retard browning. (About a cup of this goes a long way: juice of 1 lemon, add water to make 1 cup and add a couple tablespoons of white sugar) Lay them on a rack they won't fall through when they shrink and bake at 200 F for several hours. Great snacks as is, or rehydrate for pies or sauce.

  2. Our chickens get everything we don't use from the garden. They love the tomato plants after we've harvested. After throwing the plants into the chicken area I'll wait a few days or so, then rake up what is left and put into the compost. The chicken manure and the plant material helps the compost.

    The chicken area is near a fence garden area. Once that area is done for the season, the chickens are let in to eat what is left, scratch and stir the ground and spread their manure.

    We've never calculated the savings in chicken food. Maybe it's time to do that.