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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Eat Your Neighbor's Yard Art

mostly edible; all usable
When I saw my neighbors two doors down hauling all their Fall decorations to the curb for garbage pickup, my mind saw food going to the landfill and my opportunity. Parsimony and lots of nerve are a good combination. I asked her if I could have her decorations. Much amused, she said I could have anything out there that I wanted. She laughed and not in a good way. I saw free food for me and free hay/straw for compost.

With my little red wagon, I brought home all but the pumpkin that was two feet across. A guy friend lifted it to the wagon and brought it to me.  I made pumpkin butter from one pumpkin, baked the squashes, and let the big pumpkin rot. Shame on me. I forget what I did with the bale of hay/straw.

Instead of baking the pumpkin like I read in recipes, I cut in half and removed seeds, cut in wedges, peeled wedges, cut the meat into chunks and plopped them in a pot to cook. Hmmm, maybe I baked the chunks. Don't ask me the recipe because I forgot. It came from the internet, somewhere.

Two friends "conned" me out of all I made by saying it was the best pumpkin butter they ever had. I got one taste. It was good.

Use the cooked pumpkin in any recipe that calls for sweet potatoes if you prefer. Sweet potato casserole comes to mind.

Today, I was scoping out locations in hope of scoring decorations to eat or feed the hens. Pumpkins cut into Jack-O'-Lanterns won't work. I doubt even the hens will eat those if they start to decay. This year, if you decorate, you will have food left when Thanksgiving is over. Most people put out these displays until the Saturday after Thanksgiving. That way, two months of decorating is gotten from the expensive items they use.

Put the flowers in the compost. Okay, at least put the dirt somewhere and use it instead of having it go into a landfill.

Don't throw yours away. If the edibles survived, eat them. Otherwise, put in compost, feed to animals, or just stick in a place where the birds can eat the seeds after you cut it open for them. Offer it to someone with animals.

I did not start this eating of decorations because I was hungry. I ate the decorations because they were edible and going into a landfill.

Your turn
Have you ever trash-picked for pumpkins, squashes, and gourds to eat? Do you think you might try getting decorations to eat this year? Or, do you just think I am nutso?


  1. No one does the pumpkin thing here. The shops try a bit - but it hasn't caught on yet.

    That's shocking all that food used to decorate an then fill landfill. It's a crazy unbalanced world we live in.

  2. FDU,
    As I wrote, I wondered if AU decorated like mad the way we do. It is ironic that the decorations are a leftover veneration of the harvest, a harvest we send to the landfill. If you can come across a free pumpkin,brown sugar, egg and spices make a tasty pie or other treat.

    Any other countries care to weigh in on your fall decorating traditions?

  3. Good on you for saving all that stuff. For it to go out as rubbish...that is just wrong.


  4. Linda you are brilliant.
    In town this weekend, we picked up free squash ( butternut and acorn) because people put it out on the curb with a free sign. Pumpkins are a ot commodity around here right now. I'll look for more free after halloween.

  5. LindaM, Thanks! (blushing) Some people leave displays like the one in the picture out from now until after Thanksgiving. Some of it may overripen sooner than others. However, if any of your animals will eat pumpkins or squash, carry a bucket or two or a plastic bin for bringing home "seconds." I will go to the four areas for garbage pickup and find what I can the eve before garbage day. Oh, need hay? Need corn stalks? Maybe they will discard some of that. Here they will because city people don't need much hay or stalks.

    Yes, check after Halloween. Then, check again after Thanksgiving. Actually, I keep my eyes peeled all the


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