September 19, 2014
Today I see clearer. Things I would have never noticed before now have arrows pointed at them or appear lit up with neon lights. I’ve learned how much I have wasted in the past and how I can make best of what is available. Before I had the farm, I thought nothing of throwing away vegetable scraps or running the faucet while water washed away down the drain. Life is different now. Life feels more real now. Life is more present.
I finally realized that I had changed today as I drove down my country road. There under a neighbor’s oak tree sat a bounty of acorns just laying there for the taking. A year ago I would have just driven past without a second glance at this pot of gold just ripe for the picking. I realized that instead of paying fifty dollars for peanuts from the feed store, my goats would have one of their favorite treats for free. Experience is teaching me now as I look at the surrounding world with new eyes. I see food differently now. The chicken bag is a permanent fixture on my counter. Our guests are trained to know what this bag is for and to use it. All vegetable scrapes go to feed the chickens or compost bins letting almost nothing go to waste. Meat scraps are fed to the dogs. Nothing goes in the trash unless it cannot be used and I am surprised how empty my trashcans have become.
Horse manure makes the fields richer, chicken poop becomes fertilizer and coffee grinds help the compost bin. Today I find myself repurposing even household materials. Old doors are the new goat playgrounds and empty dressers become the chickens’ nesting boxes. I thought it was strange when dining out with Mary Ann how she always took leftovers home, even the smallest things. I now understand that extra food can go to feed the dogs or treat the chickens. Farming has made me appreciate more. I also always drain my wine glass in the spirit of zero waste…
Let’s not get crazy. I am not the guy returning to a food vendor at a convention asking where the used “fork return” is located, yes that did happen. I don’t reuse my old water bottles but do recycle them. And I am certainly not that guy judging other people and getting in their face like some zero waste “save the plant” martyr. I’m just saying I’m better and more conscious today than in the past while doing my part for my farm. It makes financial and environmental sense to cut down on waste and figure out reuse. I guess I’ve become on of those “do your own part guys but don’t preach it” people and that I’m OK with. I still do not want to eat with a used fork or share some dental floss with another human but I’m making baby steps in the right direction. Now do you want some used gum?