Sunday, April 11, 2010

One man's trash is another man's treasure.

It's that time of year: Food saved from last year is almost gone but fresh food in the garden is not here yet. Not that I ran out of food - not by a long shot. But the food choices dwindled down to a few measly meal options

Rice and beans? Rice and venison? Beans and venison? Rice and beans with venison? I could cook it in chicken stock - I still have gallons that. Maybe crack an egg over it? Should I use that last bag of summer squash in the freezer or save it for another day? Hot sauce or sweet & sour? Tortillas or frybread?
Wash it down with coffee or lemonade? Ice water?

You wrack your brain to come up with new variations of the same few basic ingredients. After a month of that kinda culinary monotony, you'd kill somebody for a Cobb salad. If you had fresh mushrooms and a jar of Tom Kha Gai seasoning, you might even kill a chicken.

But this gap between seasons is also the same time other people are getting their spring clean on. They're making room, emptying freezers and pantries. And a number of them are bringing their throwaways to me. Much of it is still fit for human consumption but it also makes fine fodder for the chickens, goats and cats. If I won't eat it, someone else here will. I mean, there's just no way I'm going to be able to eat a whole institutional-sized, six-and-a-half pound can of sliced carrots by myself. Nor would I want to. But I will gladly take it off your hands and give you a dozen fresh organic eggs in the bargain. (There are currently enough eggs in the refrigerator to recreate that famous scene from "Cool Hand Luke.")

I also have a pyramid of unlabeled cans in the kitchen. No idea of what's in them. They're not old or out of date - just mysterious containers of mysterious mystery. Like a pile of food lotto cards. Will it be something yummy or will I dump it outside for the cats and chickens to scrap over? Will it be a dream? Or a dud?

One favorite chicken treat is old junk food snack cakes. Chickenfight Girl knows of a place that sells past-date bread by the truckload. For twenty to thirty bucks, she fills the back of her pickup with bread, bagels and rolls that she feeds to her horses. There are always boxes of individually wrapped junk food snack cakes. She considers unwrapping them a major pain in the ass so she gives them all to me. Can a chicken eat Twinkies and still be called organic?

I also scored half a dozen five-gallon buckets with lids. Man, you can never have too many of those! Now if the universe would just see fit to send me a dozen tarps, a can of butane and two back tires for the riding mower.

Another freebie that recently fell into my lap was two new goats. One of my neighbor-cousins knew a guy who had two pet goats that he didn't want anymore. He introduced us and I became the proud owner of two more kudzu-eating machines.

The white one is a nanny named Bella. The brown and white one is her year-old son, Daisy. Daisy was named by a young child who didn't care that Daisy is not a traditional boy's name. I kinda like it in a
Boy Named Sue sorta way so, for now, the name stays.


siouxzun said...

Keep us posted on the "mystery" cans!

Big mama said...

I agree, mystery cans are the best! Or worst but thats the fun of the can!

Anonymous said...

We miss your posts! Everything ok?