Monday, 7 July 2008

Wasting words

I didn't mention, yesterday, that Al has found his Queen! There are pictures of childbirth on his bee blog too, which is not nearly as not-for-the-squeamish as it sounds. All awfully exciting.

We've decided to put a fence all around the 4-acre field in front of the house. We used to let a friend graze sheep there, using electric fencing, but she got a proper (meaning, it brings in an income) job some years ago and since, it's just been cut for hay. It was cut a couple of weeks ago and there may be an aftermath, depending on the amount of rain we get this summer. After that, we'll lend or let it for grazing again - sheep are best as they nibble the grass very short and their little hooves don't damage the ground while they fertilise it nicely at the same time. Horse owners pay, on the other hand, but horses aren't good for pasture as they only eat some of the grass and their droppings should be cleared up as they won't eat near them and they encourage rank growth and weeds. I dunno. It'll all work out. Our charming Polish couple have heavily cut back the privet hedge around the tennis court and more undergrowth needs to be trimmed (no birds' nests were injured during this operation, we checked very carefully) and then they will dig the holes for the posts. A farmer friend will lend his post-hole borer.

The farmer friend is Jonathan, by the way, who had that horrible accident with his foot a few weeks ago. He is doing very well now and determined to be back in the saddle, tractor-wise, before long. His paperwork and accounts are all very well up to date now, as he didn't do nothing during his recuperation.

Anyway, Jack and Barbara (I know, I expect they have Anglicised their names for our benefit) rang this morning to say it was pouring with rain where they live and what was it like here? It was fine at the time, but rain was forecast so they didn't come over. It has bucketed down since, so just as well.

You know, if the PM wants to complain about food waste, he might start by looking at supermarkets which reject perfectly good but marginally "too big" or "too small" produce from farmers, which often has to be dumped. You'd really think he would have more important things to think about. Indeed, that sort of thing is important, but not at a strategic level. He is trying to pass the blame to us and to distract us from what's really going wrong with prices and his government of the country.

I understand he chartered an aeroplane to go to the G8 summit conference in Japan. If that is so, it seems awfully wasteful to me.

Of course, the whole drama about "one third of the food we buy is thrown away" is not even accurate. I remember distinctly that when this report first came out a few years ago, it was said that it was not possible to differentiate between wasted good food and vegetable peelings, bones etc which were inedible. So if you bought a chicken, roasted it, ate all the meat and threw away the carcase or boiled it up for soup and only threw away the bones, you'd still be chucking about a pound of organic matter away, which would probably be about a quarter of the total weight. I'm not saying that people don't waste food - and indeed, I think it's better to know when you've eaten enough and stop, even if that does mean food is left on the plate - but that I don't believe it's anywhere near what has become the standard suggested amount.

There's not a great deal wasted here, in fact, because Tilly and the chickens eat much of the scraps, other vegetable waste goes on the compost heap and we use up most leftovers. But sometimes things get thrown away, as well as the inedible bits. And I can do without a politician who has been promoted past his level of competence patronising me by telling me how to housekeep.

10 comments:

Dave said...

I said to my mother this morning that I don't smoke, I don't drink, and I never throw food away in my house (yes, I know on Saturday I was given a portion that was far too big in a restaurant, but that's another matter). How then am I to economise?

There's nothing left on which I can cut back, other than quality.

Z said...

Drink water rather than Diet Coke (though I expect you only drink it to be convivial when out, and rarely at home).

Eat less (yes I know, you are).

Eat at friends' houses (like mine for instance).

Grow vegetables (as you intend to).

Accept gifts of scones which you eat as part of a meal not a snack (and lay off the clotted cream).

Dave said...

Yes, to all that.

Actually, Pepsi Max is my drink of choice, when I wish to be a bit exciting with my meal.

Z said...

Right, I'll get some in for September

Dave said...

Oh no, that wasn't intended to be a hint. Water is fine too.

(Sparkling, like the conversation, is even finer.)

Z said...

Maybe you could tell a few jokes, Dave?

peaceableimperatrix said...

The week's family vacation has got me thinking about food waste. I've got a blog post bubbling around in my head. I will try to write it out (if the heat doesn't melt my brain before I get to it!)

sablonneuse said...

I'm sure you're right and government regulations and large businesses cause far more waste than all the households in Europeput together. In France they even have regulations that cause masses of grapes to be thrown away after harvesting. They are not even allowed to give them to the pickers.

luckyzmom said...

There is a lot of food waste when you consider all the people who do not have enough food to eat. Education, rather than regulation would seem, to me a wiser solution, though.

Z said...

For many years it has not been considered important to practise good home economics, to learn to cook, to appreciate food you have taken time over. The result is that a lot is wasted through ignorance - often by intelligent people. Also, the instructions we've had to be reliant on 'best before' dates means that an awful lot of perfectly good food is thrown away.