Saturday, May 2, 2009

Brown, Green and Orange All Over

From the bean of Green Bean.

"Can I play with this?" my son's friend asked, pulling the very last of fall's pumpkins off the kitchen counter. The pumpkin that I'd neglected. Purposefully overlooked. Ignored for months. Sure, it would have made a lovely soup or an even better pie. Heck, I could have pureed it and mixed it into the boys' mac and cheese.

But I didn't.

I let that round, orange Sugar Pie lurk unloved for months until a six year yanked it off the counter and revealed the soft, moldy spot underneath.

"It's rotten," I explained, showing both boys the spreading mush. I then open up the under the sink drawer and tossed the pumpkin - mold and all - into a plastic green bucket.

For two years, I've tried my hand at backyard composting. Three big black bins lounge on top of each other under the lemon tree as watermelon rinds, orange peels and coffee grounds accumulate underneath. Every couple of days, I add a brimming bucket to its ever-shrinking contents and, while I was never very good at turning the compost or managing just the right ratio of browns to greens, my efforts do continue to shrink the contents of our garbage can.

As I toted my green bucket, rotting pumpkin and all, to the compost bin, I thought that, while I may have missed the boat on food waste reduction, at least my food waste isn't a total waste. That pumpkin may not be a pie or a muffin but it will enrich the soil someday and reduce methane in our landfills.

Being green isn't about being perfect. There are mistakes by the dozen. Missteps, one car-ride too many, an accidental plastic produce bag, the pizza that, while delicious, was neither local nor organic.

It is, though, about effort and about awareness. About those small steps that we take - choosing the reusable glass bottle of local milk, checking books out from the library or buying jeans at the local thrift store. And it is about growth. About looking for the next way to decrease our planetary load.

Closing the lid on the compost bin, I headed back to the house, with a lighter garbage can and a promise to, next time, transform that pumpkin into pie.


Heather @ SGF said...

I couldn't agree more. Perfection is WAY overrated. It's all about mindfulness - learning a little something new about ourselves and our world each day and adjusting accordingly (with baby steps).

The being said, I'm all about the pie! Let me know when that next time comes around... :)

Chile said...

Ok, this pushes me to process my last pumpkin today. I know I need to, I've just been putting it off. It's lasted almost six months, helped along by sitting on an upside perforated pizza pan so it got airflow underneath it to prevent rotting. But it won't last forever, especially with the summer temperatures here already.

I've gotten better and better at composting so I think it's all about ignoring the failures and just continuing on. Animal manure helps a lot though. Just talked to the goat lady last night to arrange the acquisition of more manure. And, no, I've never had a complaint from the neighbors about smell. ;-)

Electronic Goose said...

My dogs are my favorite food savers. :)

CJStewart said...

Hey! I put pureed pumpkin in orange mac and cheese, too. I put pureed cauliflower in my baked mac and cheese. Everyone knows about it and they STILL devour it. Sweet...

Donna said...

I've used your pumpkin in the mac & cheese a couple times now. I'm not brave enough to confess to my family, but the color is lovely and they devour it!

Green Bean said...

Heather: Indeed! Next time, I need to turn that pumpkin into one of Abbie's pies.

Chile: Please do process your pumpkin. From where my pumpkin sat on the counter, I had thought it was fine. It wasn't until the kid picked it up that I saw. Great news re the compost. I'm still gearing up to turn mine. A few steps behind you, I think. ;-)

EG: Aren't dogs great for that? Kids too, actually, once they hit a certain age.

CJ: Now I HAVE to try the cauliflower! My kids know about the pumpkin and actually dislike regular mac and cheese as they're so used to the pumpkin in it.

Donna: What they don't know won't hurt them! :)


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