It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year . . . at the Village Compost Site!

We’ve been at it again. My chickies require pumpkin flesh at this time of the year, plenty of beta carotene to make up for the colder temps and lack of sunlight. I don’t buy or grow pumpkins, but no matter. Plenty of other people do and dispose of them in good condition (for the most part) at the village composting site at this time of the year.

Nothing beats free I always say. When it comes to getting what my pets or family need, I am more than willing to color outside the lines.

You may think it a tad indelicate to glean in this manner, but I just can’t stand the waste. There is plenty of animal (and human) feed being literally thrown away at this time of the year when everyone’s thoughts are turning toward Christmas decorating and away from the fall harvest theme.  All those pumpkins, gourds, corn shocks, and winter squash have to go somewhere! I find them curbside, but my greatest hauls are always at the village compost site.

This trip we found food, feed, and building supplies, as well as a red rose bush! I did pass up quite a few waterlogged bails of straw. (It hurts me to load and move them.) The rough-milled pine will come in handy when it has dried out a bit. The corn I will share with a friend who needs chicken feed. The pie pumpkins are mostly for my chickens to keep their naughty beaks busy until their new feathers come in completely. The winter squash we humans will eat. People pay lip service to “these tough financial times” and world hunger. I don’t believe that times are hard enough or that people really are concerned about hunger if they aren’t hauling some of this stuff to their local food pantry or eating it themselves. (There! That’s my righteous rant [RR] for the day.) I was appalled at the waste. People took the most attractive and edible fruits and smashed them for sport. There were at least a hundred pounds of split and ruined Hubbard, butternut, buttercup, Turks Turban, and big gray and orange princess pumpkins. I managed to salvage a delacata, a sweet dumpling, a Hubbard, a butternut, and one princess pumpkin.

Pumpkins and other winter squash (with the exception of delacata and acorn types) keep well at room temperature with low humidity. I keep my pumpkins in our garage and the squash in a couple of baskets in our finished basement. We eat the bruised or scarred specimens first, and March will find us eating the last of the sound squash. Baked squash and pumpkin also freezes well. (See my blog “Eating in Season: Winter Squash, “ Nov. 14, 2010.)

Keep your eyes peeled for opportunities to pick up some discarded fall decorations and add them to your stash of good nutritious winter food. Begonia

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