[identity profile] gailmom.livejournal.com
I have to find the software before my camera can attempt to upload photos to this temp laptop, so this is a pathetically picture free entry, which is why I've been delaying it.

I really hate talking gardening without inundating you with pretties.

Maybe I can come back and add the pictures later and it will look like a real entry. ;)

Lucy has been spotted multiple times in the neighborhood. If there were some way to catch her I would, but alas.

The chicks are grown enough to be in the pen now, but so tiny compared to Top Chicken, who is still my most reliable layer despite being a year older than anyone else in there. The bantams, Fluffy Buffy, Tiger, Nana, and Raven, are adorable in their difference, and absolutely frightened of everything except people. Rooster is huge, but has not yet crowed, so we'll see. Rooster thinks sie is a duck; plays in water and walks on the female ducks. Little Red thinks that Rooster is the bestest thing EVER. They are inseparable, they even sleep together. 0.o

The ducks need their own entry, because watching multiple marriage, fowl style, is just hysterical.

The tomatoes are doing well. I've gotten four large tomatoes off the Patio tomato, the Roma has a ton of fruit on it, several of which are starting to ripen, and the various heirloom tomatoes are looking good. I have baby tomato plants doing fairly well in my kitchen window, taken from the...thing...the little branch that tries to grow that you pull off...I forget what that is; I've been putting the ones from the heirloom varieties in seed starter mix and seeing how many want to become new plants. 8 so far are looking good. No idea whether they are Mr Stripey, Homestead, of Black Krim though, because I don't label things sufficiently. ;P

I think I have proven the fact of companion planting. One bed has two tomatoes, a Black Krim and a Homestead (I have four Homesteads, two Black Krims). Those two tomatoes are INSANELY tall. I've had to tie up the cages, because the plants were tipping over the cages and crushing the other bedding plants. Why are those two so tall and such a darker green then their compatriots? I strongly suspect it is because there are two basil plants and a tansy in that bed. Tansy to keep away insects, Basil to make nightshade happy. There will be more basil here soon. Oh, no! Don't throw me in that brier patch! Anything but that! (A reference the current generation of children will not get-along with clapping to save fairies).

The peppers are doing well. I've harvested several banana peppers already, and have lots of bells on the plants getting big. The beans have a few *tiny* little beans growing out of previous blossoms, 4 or 5 that I noticed today. I'm still harvesting some arugula, though it does keep blooming in the heat so it is a bit more tart than usual. Fortunately I like that.

The blueberries are suffering. .The rain barrels are empty now, so they are getting hose water. They do not like it ("or it gets the hose again" just floated through my head). Our water is EXTREMELY alkaline. :( Various suggestions and internet searching has me now putting the hose water into an empty rain barrel to about half full, letting it sit for 48 hours, then dumping in a bottle of apple cider vinegar just before I water via soaker hose. That seems to be helping a bit, as they have some tiny new leaves coming in again. ~whew~ May be able to save them yet.

The squash and zucchini and the volunteer plants have TONS of blossoms all over them. I really hope things get fertilized so we can see what the volunteers are. :P

The potato plants are finally starting to peek up a bit. I have some more to throw in and then it is time to cover them again. :P

Mental note for for future: Do not plant anything next to the chicken pen that you aren't growing to feed *to* the chickens. It just does not work.

Other problem seems to be spider mites and some sort of tiny white mites which are attacking the tomatoes and *decimating* the marigolds. I have made up a garlic and pepper tea, and we'll see if that helps. ~crosses fingers~

Strawberries are doing well, though now that the tomatoes are high they are very much shaded. :)  Okra is just sad. Like a lot sad and very tiny. And the beans by the back are being eaten by something...I suspect something that roams the night since I've now had several mornings of "huh, I now have one less plant than I had before, how annoying is THAT!?!".

We bought mallard deritive ducklings at Easter. Yes, that was dumb. Dang they are fun though. It has yet to be determined whether they will go straight to the freezer at adult weight, get their wings clipped and go loose in the yard, or have a ramp built and be encouraged to enjoy the creek while still considering our yard for nommy treats.

They really are fabulously fun. We have the play yard set up and a casserole dish has been temporarily made into a pond so we can sit in with them and laugh at how ridiculous they are.  Looks to be a Mallard (Jane the Strange-Peaches duck), a Peking (Sunny, Monkey's) and a...something that looks like it is a mix of both, with pink AND black on both bill and feet. That would be Peepers, my duck. Monkey likes to hunt pillbugs so that Peaches can hand feed the ducklings. I prefer to sit until a fly lands on me then lean slowly forward until the mallard, Jane the Strange, notices... she eats the fly right off me. I find this amazingly satisfying for some reason.

The whole thing strikes me as odd...like adopting a kitten when you don't want a cat. At least we can eat them when they get bigger though. Try that with a kitten and you get in all sorts of trouble. ("If you're so evil: Eat. This. Kitten!")

The lack of rain has been hard on just about everything. I do not enjoy living in the Sims game.

rosebud;!;!;!;!;!;!;!;!;!;!
[identity profile] gailmom.livejournal.com
Mostly because: omg we need rain and the trees need to stop mating so enthusiastically.

I just want to be able to breathe and open my eyes all the way. Also, constant-multiple-day-long headache is uck.

So I'm still making progress but much much more slowly. ~sneeze~
picture proof. :) )
[identity profile] gailmom.livejournal.com
Today was another day of random garden bits. Peaches and I planted the rue, lavender, thyme, and two other herbs I'm too lazy to go look up in the dark, as well as putting the purple basil in with the Black Krim tomato, and getting the Sweet 100 (the one the neighbor recommended) put into a hanging pot. (I've run out of space in the garden boxes). Monkey and Peaches had a lot of fun searching through the dirt in the pot for snails before I transplanted and hung the tomato.

words! )

pics! )
[identity profile] gailmom.livejournal.com
Woke this morning to puffy eyes and sneezing.

Thanks, trees.

Decided this was not going to change my plans to work in the yard.

So there.

Today's accomplishments:

are behind the cut, with pics )

[identity profile] gailmom.livejournal.com
This cold weather is dragging me down. Between that and finances, I'm further behind than I wish to be on getting ready for spring. Thanks to the help of a recent houseguest, however, I am not as far behind as I was. :)

The pagoda has been started, but due to an unfortunately timed bout of illness is not finished. The patio is swept, however, and all the leaves stacked in the big pen. I also finished one more panel of chicken wire. The pathway is weeded, and in the process we found more path! This is one of the joys of an older home. :) It can surprise you.

The ladies are clucking along, 2-4 eggs a day, despite the weather. Possibly because I've been winter-spoiling them when it is cold. I hate the cold, so I presume they do to. I'll give the wyndottes this much, they may not like the heat, and they are annoyingly consistent flyers, but they weather winter like no ones business.

I've built a makeshift windbreak on the side of their kennel that faces in to the nest box, and have been feeding them warm rice and lightly coating their feed with drippings on the freezing days. Seems to be helping, or at least not hurting any.

I found that seed catalogs are far too tempting and lead to great indecision. Since I want to start a garden bed and fill the earth boxes this spring, I've decided to go with what providence suggests. In this case, three articles that showed up in my inbox had lists of suggested veggies. One of "Easy to grow", one of "kid friendly veggies" , and one with "top ten nutritious". So I'm gonna make a list of those, and whichever of them I can find, that is what I'll try to grow this year. Fate, fate will be blamed. bwahahaha

ahem.

I may have a lead on some no-longer-fit-for-critters hay, which would be awesome, and make building the garden bed just about free.

Now if it would just warm up.... ~longing sigh~ I really hate the cold.
cut for big copypasta )
[identity profile] gailmom.livejournal.com
With the help of much research, I have settled on this year's straight run of "refill the flock and fill the freezer" birds as Black Australorps. Dual purpse, hardy, don't mind being penned up during the predator times, and sweet. Of course, this means that the Wyndottes will likely beat them up. So the Wyndotte Gang is going to either stay in the smaller pen, or get moved into the yard.

Also on our list, picked by the kids with veto power from me, a smaller straight run (because that is how they come) of Partridge (a coloration) Cochin (breed of chicken) Bantam (meaning mini-version).

I wanted Buckeye's, cuz awesome, but they seem happier in cold than heat. and heat is the bigger issue around here.

This will be my first time picking up chickens at the post office and teaching them to eat, so I'm nervous, but I've done my research on reputable hatcheries, and while I'd prefer to go with a smaller, family run one, I think this time will go with big (experienced) business. McMurray is getting our business this time, since they have both breeds we want available in the time frame I was hoping for.

Since most of the companies I can order Turkeys from are doing seperate orders, I think I'm going to wait on those a bit. I can add them later in the season, or next year. Part of my issue is that I haven't fully decided whether I want to just get fast growing turkeys to butcher, or get a heritage breed pair and let them make us some meat. Pets or produce? That is the question. ;P I figure I have no business bringing an animal, even an edible one, into the picture until I am sure of that decision.

Now I just need to get the weather to cooperate (and my bank to deal with its issues) long enough to get set up, and then we'll get on with this.

Oh, and further research has me deciding against ducks. Yard small, creek near, and they need a different feed than turkeys/geese/chickens (who can share, as long as it isn't medicated). So...yeah. No ducks. This makes me sad...sad enough I may change my mind later, but for now...I don't need that added complexity.

This year's further goals in the fowl department: find a source of reasonably priced, reliably available, organic feed. Get their hutch set up for better winter protection before next winter. Continue the seemingly never-ending process of trying to outsmart the raccoons.

Mortality

Dec. 22nd, 2010 11:13 am
[identity profile] gailmom.livejournal.com
We are now down to 5 chickens. Buffy passed last night.

I'm sorry to say I think this one was my fault. I can't find any marks on her, and they were out of water. Bottom chicken will always be the first to show caretaking stress.

I'm sorry, Buffy. I became lax, letting them care for you without checking myself, and water was my domain. That's an awful way to die and I'm very sorry. I'll do better, I promise.

The tears of my children warm and nourish you.

My poor babies.
[identity profile] gailmom.livejournal.com
Chickens are laying an average 2 eggs a day....which is ok in my opinion, considering it is the cold season.

Due to that same cold, I've made no progress on the chicken pen. May have to barter for some help, as I want it done by spring so we can raise a run of meat chicks and some turkeys for the freezer.

Am making arrangements to get a goat for the freezer from family of choice in the area, whose dam is about to drop at least her usual twins, if not some extras. They will raise it and butcher, keep some of the meat, and then the rest will go in my freezer. Goat is delicious, btw, had it at Thanksgiving at their house and YUM.

Between the two that should mean I don't have to buy any sad meat from the store all year, and can still keep my little carnivores happy.

I've stopped buying deodorant. I use baking soda, dusted on with a makeup brush I had around. Works great, and no more plastic containers. I've also started mixing a tiny bit of my remaining toothpaste with baking soda, to adjust to the flavor/texture difference: so when this tube is gone, I'll be switching over to baking soda as my toothpaste: eliminating another source of disposable plastic. :)

Am doing ok without nail polish. I vaguely miss it, but find that I don't mind keeping my nails short when they have no polish, which is actually much easier to maintain...so that's a plus. Cuticles get more regular olive oil attention now that I'm baking my own bread.

Oh, which reminds me: I'm baking my own bread now. The kids love it, it turns out it is fairly simple, and the bread bags were one of my regular plastic purchases in the realm of grocery shopping. Also a great way to heat the house: which means if I'm smart, I'll bake a bunch of loaves for in the freezer, so I don't have to heat up the house during the summer.

I've cleaned out the area of the utility room that has the desk: and as soon as I can give away or sell that, I'll be able to put the freezer in a more convenient location and plug it in...which will be one more step toward happy meat.

Happy holiday-of-choice to you all!

Freezing

Nov. 27th, 2010 09:29 am
[identity profile] gailmom.livejournal.com
It got down below freezing last night. Other than adding extra bedding to the chickens nest box, and dripping the faucets, I didn't do anything to prep.

This includes turning on the heat.

Given that central heat and a/c are the biggest users of electricity/gas, ie contributors to carbon footprint, I've been trying to make it a month longer than I did last year without turning on the heat. Last year I made it to November, so this year I've been trying to make it to December.

I'm so close, just a few days to go.

Thanksgiving day the front came through, and the temp dropped like a stone in an hour. "If it gets below 60 in the house, I'll cave" I said.

Last night I didn't look at the thermostat, knowing I had a heated mattress pad, so the temp wouldn't matter until I was out of bed.

This morning it is 58 in the house. The though that went through my head when I saw that "that isn't MUCH below 60". :P Guess I'm more stubborn than I thought.

Honestly? I'm fine except for my fingers, which are COLD and achy.

Maybe I can find someone to knit me fingerless gloves so I can still type but have warmer hands...even better if they were just fingertipless. I bet I could manage for longer without heat if I had those so I could still type.

Now it's time to put on my rubber boots and check the girls to see how they made it through the night. I expect egg production will drop a bit now that we've had a real cold snap, but up until this I'm still averaging 4 eggs a day out of 6 hens...not bad, ladies! :D
[identity profile] gailmom.livejournal.com
No losses last night.

This may be because I locked the dog into the chicken yard and then just ignored any barking at all and figured my neighbors could suck it. (Like all the neighbors with all-night-barking-dogs already do).

This, of course, is not a long term solution. Fortunately the foster kittens get fixed on Wednesday, and get their shots, and after that I can open the pet door again to give the dog access, at least during the week when she is here, and hope she pays enough attention to deal with 'coons.

(It has been established, through pattern and footprint, that we are dealing with one or more raccoons).

I should set up an outside warm kennel, because from now on when the dog won't stop barking in the house I'm not locking her up *inside*....

Looks like I'll be getting a trap to set on the weekends....and I'm going to look into whether geese are allowed in city...and altering the pen to help further prevent against predator entry...keeping tiny thumbs in mind.

Any other ideas?

~sniffle~

Oct. 4th, 2010 09:33 am
[identity profile] gailmom.livejournal.com
This is so frustrating! Two more dead chickens. One of the older ladies taken (just feathers left), the other killed and the corpse left in the pen, just ripped open the neck, ate that, and left everything else.

What a fucking waste! We can't even eat it, because it was dead long enough to be stiff.

Dammit dammit dammit.

never build your own pen if you are an amateur, it's just not as secure. I can see where a...something...with small paws dug near the gate of the little girls pen, but failed to get in...and then it (or something else) broke in the roof of the homemade pen.

Fuck it. I'm investing in a bigger store bought version, and taking apart the homemade pen. I'm tired of losing my ladies.

~helpless growling sob~
[identity profile] gailmom.livejournal.com
This morning Monkey Boy and I found the first egg laid by the Wyndottes! It was in the exact middle of their pen. :P So he helped me move the nest box the big girls haven't been using over to the little girls pen.


[identity profile] gailmom.livejournal.com
I haven't updated in a while as my non-gardening life is crazy right now. The garden, on the other hand, is dead, having fallen victim to my housemate's equally busy life. No water equals dessicated plants. We got ONE tomato off of it there at the end...this strange two lobed thing. Neither of us have eaten it. I think perhaps out of guilt.

I remind myself that there is always next year.

The good news is that not watering is something I also subject my lawn to. Cuz really, why water something I can't eat? It's dormant for the most part now, so we only have to mow when it rains. The back yard hasn't been mowed all year...when it got too long I just let the chickens over for a few days, what they didn't nibble down, they flattened in their wanderings.

Speaking of chickens...we've had some casualties. I'm sad to report that a predator, probably a raccoon, took Tarfeather during the night last time I was out of town. Giblet was a victim during the day recently and judging from the poof of feathers and NOTHING else, I'd guess a hawk. Either way, we are down to 8 hens, and have lost our most reliable layer. :( I have a sadness. The ladies are penned now, in two separate pens because I don't consider either of them big enough for all 8 when they are used to having a whole backyard, and I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that what I need is one big pen with two sides. This would allow me to raise new ones in the spring (when things are usually plentiful enough that yard wandering is safe) and still pen them all during lean times of freeze or drought when the predators are hungrier and bold enough to risk entering my yard and the possibility of encountering me or my dog. I could also do what Oma does (a friend's mom who has chickens) and toss down birdseed or pasture seed on one side, water it until it sprouts, then let the chickens into that side...I hear they LOVE that.

If all goes as planned we will soon have our rainwater catchment system not just back up and running but much improved. Also should be getting the sinkhole/patio fixed and the weepholes repaired on the house. We've hired a green contractor out of Austin to do the work. I'll give you a review when he's done. :)

Gryphynshadow will be moving out next month. Her path has shifted, and it's time for her to move on to a venue that better supports her current focus. The plan is for us to still see her a lot, and I hope to have her help with gardening and such, but for now the focus around here will need to shift too. I'll probably be pondering and planning a lot this winter with that in mind. My abilities are different from a "fully functional" person, and I'm only one adult, so things will need to be set up accordingly if I'm going to maintain things.

That's what is going on here....and now you know why I haven't been updating the blog much. :P

yay!

Jul. 8th, 2010 10:45 am
[identity profile] gailmom.livejournal.com
Rain barrel downspout diverters arrived. yay!! I've now poked around with the pieces, instructions in hand, long enough to understand how it works....oooh....cool.

I'm tempted to go install them right now...but...but...I have to find my safety goggles first. Somehow cheating on the safety part while the kids can see seems...not good.

But when I do install them, I'll probably go ahead and install all of them, and then add rain barrels later, unless the niggling something in the back of my brain tells me why it thinks that is a bad idea.

In other news, I let the wyndottes out with the big girls yesterday, and Top Chicken promptly chased them back into their pen and intimidated them into staying there...even after she left that section of the yard. :P I let them back out this morning, and Buffy was flipping out, so I warned her that was a bad idea, but if it meant that much to her she could come out for a while now that she had eaten her breakfast. She came running out...

...the Wyndotte horde proceeded to chase her.

Until Top Chicken noticed that someone was getting harassed in HER yard and she wasn't leading it.....

...so she chased the Wyndottes for a while until they settled down.

Ah, pecking order.

Since all that was going on, I went ahead and caught Spot and put her in a cage with some water and food. She'll either get picked up today by the woman who wanted her as a pet, or picked up tomorrow by LT to feed to her family. Either way, within 48 hours she won't be my problem, and right now removing her means all the pecking order rearranging can happen in one go.

Lots of chicken talk in my yard today. I think I'm glad we don't speak chicken, I bet those girls swear like sailors in a foreign port. ;)

ETA: and Spot has now been picked up. Apparently saying "no really, I have backup stewpot plans now" finally got Murphy to help the woman who was going to take her find time in her schedule. Bye, Spot! Have a good life as a pet. :)
[identity profile] gailmom.livejournal.com
Ceaser, nee Cleopatra, has gone to live on 15 acres with a much bigger flock. In his place, we have a chick half his age. ;) A lovely little girl named Buffy the Grasshopper Slayer.

She is currently caged in the sunroom, pending her understanding that the dogs are no threat. She will then be allowed yard-pen privileges once her quarantine period has ended, and should be ready to move to the transition pen right about the time the Wyndotte girls are ready to be integrated. In order to make sure she isn't alone once she is further from near-constant human interaction, we will probably move Giblet in to keep her company until she can join everyone else.

She should be ready to join the rest of the flock in about a month after the other girls do, ie the beginning of September.

And now I'm headed out to pull the feed from the rain barrels, because with Hurricane Alex coming through, I don't feel like having all that spray up in my eaves.
[identity profile] gailmom.livejournal.com
All has not been as quiet here as it has been on the blog. This year's chickens grow apace, the rooster will be exchanged for a younger pullet (hopefully) hen on Tuesday, and Spot goes to her new home, stewpot or pet, by the end of the month.

The fabulous tree people came and climbed much higher than I'm willing to, power tools in hand, to remove the three dead trees. They will be back to fix the wire fencing that got damaged, and to remove the last of the stump from within the chicken pen, then I'll be gratefully handing over large wads of cash. I may ask them to take down that small tree in the front yard instead of fixing the fence, we'll see if they go for that.

It's been hot enough that a friend of ours lost 5 of her older 6 chicks this year to the heat. I've been hosing down the roof of the girls pen every afternoon (well, not this afternoon, it's cloudy, drizzly, and relatively cool) and adding ice cubes to the water containers to cool down the water enough they can drink. Hot hot hot. I expect that will get worse before it gets better (because duh) and I'm looking into the possibility of a misting cooling system for a more permanent solution to the too-hot-for-hens. Their egg production has dropped and I suspect that is why.

The sink hole is, indeed, our problem, though the city is grateful that we called them to investigate, since they found two breaks in the sewer line near (but not near enough) to it. I think I have an idea on how to fix it, thanks to my time in the country, and if it works, I'll let you know. :P (and own waders by the time it's fixed).

Our water barrels (2) have been backing up when it storms, and I've spent some time researching a way to fix it that doesn't involve me going out every time it rains to decide if the water should go in the barrel or in the drain today. Think I found one, and though it isn't cheap, it is probably cheaper than roof repair in the long run. 0.o

While doodling around the internet, dreaming and plotting between research, I've come across the idea of toilet tank basins, as well as found conversion kits to install dual flush systems on our perfectly good, if older, toilets. I think I found some that will allow us, for about $330, to install both basins AND dual flush systems on both our households toilets. That would be AWESOME. I'm starting a savings ledger for just that, and will keep you updated (with pics) if I can make that happen.

That's about it around here...I dream of drainage ditches and awnings of grape vine...and then I go hose down my hens. ;P

Blessings.

woohoo!

Jun. 15th, 2010 05:38 pm
[identity profile] gailmom.livejournal.com
Well, got a reasonable estimate for the tree removal, so hopefully that will happen soon. Even better, they think they have the equipment needed to remove the trees without having to dismantle the chicken pens!

The city supervisor came out today regarding the continued existence of my sinkhole. He didn't make any commitments, but when dealing with government, baby steps still count as progress.

If you don't count them, you will lose your mind.

I posted an ad on Craigslist today, offering to trade my Wyndotte rooster for a hen pullet, preferably a Buff Orphington. May have a trade lined up, if we can make it happen.

That's about it on the garden front, but I was so pleased about the possible unexpected-rooster solution I wanted to post it somewhere. :D

Rain

Jun. 9th, 2010 10:32 am
[identity profile] gailmom.livejournal.com
It's raining. That's good and all, but it's revealing a serious problem I will have to make time to deal with as soon as it isn't..ya know...raining.

I just went out to feed the chickens. Who look very silly when wet, btw. They are ALL soaked. Because the roof of their pen has failed, and the drainage in that yard isn't working well, and the full rain barrell is backing up into the gutter and spraying everywhere.

Which is, of course, also not good for the house. :(

So I think we have some major yard work to do when it is no longer pouring.

In other chicken news: the little girls are about a month away from being integrated with the flock, and they are HUGE (comparatively speaking). The top one of that flock (Cleo) is determined to squeeze out of the door when I go in to feed. She thinks she is ready to take over the older flock.

Boy, is she ever in for a shock.

Spot has been saved from the stew pot (theoretically), because an acquaintance has a friend who collects "pretty, loud, non-laying hens" to use as pets and alarms. Well, if ever Spot qualified as anything, it's as pretty and loud an uselessly laying. I explained about her shell-less egg messes, and the friend still wants her. If all goes as planned, she'll be picked up this week and head to her new home.

So I guess she gets to be useful a while longer. Good for her.

And that's about it. Not a lot of progress around here.

So now I just have to try to contain my "stop raining!" thoughts long enough for everyone's gardens to be happy (so I don't feel guilty in some weird way if it does stop raining), and then get to work. :P

Well, that and figure out where to hang the laundry to dry...since it's now wetter than when I hung it out yesterday. ;)
[identity profile] gailmom.livejournal.com
The pullets have been named.

There are three golden laced wyndottes, and three silver. In each of the color groupings there is one with barely any color, one with lots of color, and one mid grade.

For those who don't know, we are smart alecks when it comes to naming our hens. Our original flock is Giblet (the bantam), Spot (the barred--who is about to get eaten), Nugget, Second Chicken, and Top Chicken (the reds).

Now that they are out in the yard, we finally gave this year's crop names:

The goldens, from most to least color:
are Cleopatra, Crispy, and Silly Chicken

The silvers, from most to least color:
are Turkey, Gravy, and Tarfeather.

This is what happens when a four year old, a seven year old, and two smart aleck women name chickens.
[identity profile] gailmom.livejournal.com
er...food.

I just wanted to note here that I attended a four day retreat this weekend, and came home with four 5 gallon buckets of food scraps.

Four big buckets packed full of food that would have ended up in the landfill, wrapped in a plastic bag, that will now be fed to chickens/composted instead.

My point is: don't be afraid to ask.

I find, over and over, that if you show up at a birthday party, at a potluck, whatever, and say: "do you mind if I put this lidded bucket here for food scraps?" people say "sure!" and tend to co-operate really well with it.

I was really pleased with the reception the idea received at the retreat this weekend, and more than 50 people (everyone there) spent the whole weekend dutifully scraping plates into the bins before heading to the kitchen to wash up. Heck, they even dragged the buckets into the kitchen during meal prep so they could put the food scrap results of that activity in there.

I came home with 20 gallons of food.

It turns out some of them were even grateful for the opportunity. Pleased to be able to send the food somewhere that it wouldn't be wasted.

So invest in some lidded paint buckets (we had the handle break on a full one during the process of loading the truck. Those lidded 5 gallon paint buckets seal really well. It hit the ground...and stayed closed) and don't be afraid to take one with you to the next food oriented event you attend. Chances are good, if you check with the event's host, you can set up an easy way for people to be a bit more environmentally friendly, and end up with food for your compost  pile (or chickens). :)

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