I read in the paper the other day yet another article about how much food we waste – at home, that is, as well as what’s thrown away from shops and restaurants. It’s an alarming quantity, but surely the figures are guesswork? How does anyone know what food is thrown away if you bag up your rubbish? Or whether it’s really waste or simply inedible, in the sense of genuinely useless rather than gone bad because you didn’t use it up?

As I said the other day, we’re pretty good about using up food. If I’m preparing vegetables for a casserole, for example, I keep suitable peelings and make stock at the same time, with any meat trimmings or bones etc and this gets used at once or frozen. After that, they go to the chickens or on the compost heap (which the chickens pick over anyway) and only bare bones go in the bin. So is that counted as thrown away food or is only stuff that’s gone bad counted, I wonder – and again, how do they think they know?

Where food is wasted is in too much being served at restaurants, I think. At the lunch club I go to monthly, a big bowl of vegetables and another of potatoes is always put on each table and at least half of them are left uneaten. They may be able to use the potatoes, I suppose, but the other veg are certainly thrown away, as are uneaten bread rolls etc. And if ever you’re served chips anywhere, there are always too many and the same with a burger bun, which is always huge and discarded at once, most of it.

Russell always used to clear our plates when we ate out. Not to eat the leftovers but to secrete them in a paper napkin and feed them to the chickens later. I was usually expected to keep the package in my handbag, which wasn’t any great joy, frankly, so I haven’t been doing that since he died – but I think it’s time I started. I’ll try to remember to take a bag with me. I know one can ask for a doggybag but it rather depends where you are, especially if you specify you want the vegetables and potato; if you are sensitive to funny looks.

Talking of the chickens, I wonder if one of the young girls is getting broody. She seems to have become a fixture in her nest box – I haven’t checked during the day for a few days, but she’s there morning and evening and she swears at me, using language that such a young hen should not know, when I reach under her. Thing is, she hasn’t laid an egg for a few days either. She is sitting on two, but they’re pot eggs. That is, they’re decoys, to kid your chickens that you haven’t stolen all their own eggs, so that they don’t lay away to hide them. They are real bought eggs – I’ve tried several sorts of fake ones but they know perfectly well that’s what they are. So I’ve drawn black crosses on the bought eggs and don’t pick them up.

I’ve looked on the skip hire website and they don’t specify glass, either to be put in or not, but they do mention it in their recycling information. So if that’s possible, it would be ideal. Still no hurry though, it can certainly wait until summer and not necessarily this summer…..

2 comments on “Chickenfeed

  1. Glenda

    why don’t you replace the glass panes if the building is still sound? I would love a glass greenhouse. I agree about the estimated food waste. How can anyone know what we throw away.

    1. Z Post author

      I’ve got a greenhouse – it’s three greenhouses, in fact, end to end, 30 feet in total, which has an electrical supply so I can have a propagator and raise seedlings as well as grow on what I want. This one is not beyond repair but it’s a vast amount of work and I’ll never use it for growing things again, I just don’t need that much space any more. It was given to us years ago, then was 30+ years old and where the glass is secured is not very stable, so it slips, and then there’s a strong wind and glass breaks. Even glass gets more brittle once it’s 50 years old.


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