Waste Not, Want Not

Bamboo Compost Pail

Bamboo Compost Pail

It’s funny how your view of food changes when you start growing and processing it yourself. Not only do you become more aware of where your food comes from, and what’s in your food (rather, what’s not in your food), but you also become more appreciative of every tiny morsel.

When you raise a hen from a hatchling, feed it, water it, protect it from predators, gather eggs from it for a couple of years, and then butcher it, you are keenly aware of the life that has been sacrificed for your nourishment. It isn’t just a hunk of meat you picked up from the refrigerator section of the grocery store- a faceless, meaningless piece of meat… it was a life, a beautiful creature, and the meat from that bird becomes almost sacred. Cherished.

Wire Egg Basket from Lehman's

Wire Egg Basket

Wasting any of it feels like a crime. You don’t take it for granted, and you truly appreciate every ounce of the life that was given.

The same goes for growing your own produce. You put a lot of time, sweat, love, and effort into those plants. When you are finally able to reap the rewards of your labor, however meager they may be, you are truly thankful and even excited about your harvest, and want to make the most of it all, letting nothing go to waste.
Not a drop of milk from our goats goes to waste either. If my kids (the human kind) don’t drink the full glass with their meal, I make sure to put it in the fridge for later. Even when I have to withhold the milk due to de-worming or something, I still freeze it for making soap with later on.

And when I was hand-grinding all of our wheat, I was a thousand times more conscious of not wasting a single speck of flour. Grinding grain is hard work! If any spilled onto the counter I was quick to rake it back into the bowl. And I definitely didn’t flippantly experiment with baked goods.

Recycled Plastic Compost Tumbler

Recycled Plastic Compost Tumbler

It took entirely too long to obtain those 4 cups of flour I need to make a loaf of bread; I just couldn’t bring myself to waste it on trying something “just for fun.” (Thank goodness I now have an electric mill!)

Yes, I have found a new appreciation for everything on my plate. I’m not saying we never have any food scraps leftover. We do. But, they definitely aren’t wasted. What can’t be composted is fed to the chickens. Which, in turn, produce waste which can be composted and then fed to the garden. Which eventually feeds us again.

It’s a beautiful cycle. And I am thankful for learning it.  But most of all, I am thankful that my children are learning it with me.

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