Tuesday, May 22, 2018

An Arbor for Food and Food for Thought

Good morning everyone.
Today I am going to post about two different things. Ellen was curious about our grape arbor, so I will post a couple pictures.  Hopefully it will help someone else as well.  Growing our own food is such a wonder, and anything we can do to be more efficient the better.

We just made a simple upright arbor.  Main posts are 4 x 4, top rails (4) are 2 x 6 and cross rails (up the sides) are 1 x 1.  All are treated.  This has been in use for over 15 years and it is still as sturdy as day 1.
We even put eye bolts on the ends of 1 x 6 to hang pretty baskets the first few years, until grape vines really grew in.
Last fall the vines got a drastic "hair cut", so they aren't hanging down as far this spring.  BUT they are loaded with little bunches of grapes!

Vines growing up each side and converging on top.

You could paint or stain if so desired.  We left it natural - basically no upkeep at all.
I trim out the vines each fall - that is it.
My folks had a huge arbor years ago that was made over the sidewalk leading to the garage and built in between the garage and chicken house.  They also had other grapes at the back end of the garden/property that actually grew on the fence.  So there are many options for training your vines.  I like having mine UP, it takes up less room, they are pretty, and it makes picking a breeze!


I read an article this morning that the UK is doing away with the "best by" dates on over 70 pre-packaged produce items.  Too much is being thrown away.  GOOD FOR THEM!!!!!! 
I also read an article the other day that says those dates are all arbitrary any how - the retailer makes them up.
It also stated that some retailers remove items from shelves (getting close to date) - and change the dates and put them back out.  LOL - I am sorry, but I find that hilarious!!!!  There are so many people I see each day on FB, that swear they would never eat anything that has EXPIRED!  They have no clue.
Nothing really expires.  I don't think I have ever thrown something away that was past the "best by" or "sell by" date.  Really - EVER!  All you have to do is smell something in most instances - and you know.

Food waste is a absolutely HUGE problem all over the world.  There are so many that are hungry in our home countries as well as other places.  Food pantries could use so much of this food, homeless could use this food, poor people could use this food, WE ALL could use this food.  There is nothing wrong with it - we should all use it.  I am not advocating giving spoiled food to anyone - I am advocating using it all BEFORE it spoils!

When did people get so darn picky??????  I truly do not understand.  That is why I love the concept of the new Imperfect Food company that has started.  They are selling food that grocers don't deem "nice enough" to sell.  Excuse me, but when did someone decide that a perfectly formed tomato tastes better than a misshapen one? 

                                             This is a sin against humanity in my opinion!

It is not just businesses, but individuals, and even farms, that do this.  Some farmers will let other come in a glean what is left at the end of season.  BRAVO to them.  Many will sell 'seconds' for a cheaper price.  BRAVO.
I just don't know where the shift in thinking happened.  It wasn't that way when I was a kid.

We need to DEMAND that these stores quit wasting/trashing food.  We need to DEMAND that what is left get used by the needy or sold for cheaper prices.  We need to DEMAND that our fellow humans being quit being so wasteful.  We need to DEMAND that there be some sort of educational  system set up to inform.

I know progress is being made in some areas.  Many restaurants send leftovers food to places like "Second Helpings" here in town.  They revamp the food into new meals and feed the hungry  The chefs are homeless people learning a trade.  WONDERFUL!
Panera and other places donate day old baked goods to many food pantries.  They are still yummy and fine.  Kroger has the .99 produce bags now - that is produce that is not perfect.
We need so much more of this.

Please speak up when you see waste.  Maybe if enough people complain - we can change this horrible trend.  We all have to work together to make the world better.
Thanks for being part of the solution - and not the problem!


  1. This is well said! I have a choice between Kroger and Albertsons, so I will chose Kroger due to their efforts. We have started eating less, but eating better. Very few packaged foods, and no more of what's known as The Deadly Nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, etc.) I've just read The Plant Paradox and found that my pain in hands and legs subsides when I don't eat plants with lectins.

    1. WOW that is amazing. I know diet has a lot to do with how we feel. That is so great that you have figured out what causes you trouble.
      Oh, but I don't think I could give up tomatoes or their products! But that is just me.

      We all have to make choices for our bodies and our families. We also need to make choices for the betterment of society!
      Thanks for the info!

  2. I totally agree with you! I'm watching the waste her myself and trying my best to use up everything. It's going to start here at home first. I love your arbor by the way. I could do that!

    1. Thanks.
      Yes, start at home and then we can educate and hopefully expand to our neighborhoods and grocers. Helping each other is what it is all about.
      Waste not - want not!

  3. It is just another way for them to make more money and it is so sad. They can use it for animal feed if nothing else. It makes me sick. I know our local Albertsons takes all old things to the food bank, which I appreciate.

    1. I am so glad to hear that your area store does that. It is just sinful in my eyes, to trash decent food.
      You are right, it could be fed to animals, or even composted - but no they trash it.
      Many poison it so others can't use it. Pitiful!!!
      Thanks for letting me know!

  4. I just wrote a post about students wasting snack pack food. It hurts my heart to see it happening. SO many people, like you said, can and will use this food. Something needs to be done about this!

    1. I will go read that for sure. many kids haven't been t aught not to waste. They get anything and everything they want - IT DOESN'T COST NOTHING!!!!!

      It is so sad to see just waste and disregard in this world.
      Thanks my friend for spreading the word as well!!!

  5. Waste!!! My soap box! I try to reinvent, save, pick others trash you name it.
    Check out this blog A Tray of Bliss, atrayofbliss.blogspot.com
    Mimi has done a few posts about wastefulness.

    1. Hi Laurie - Yes Mimi is good about using everything or having an idea for it. Like you, I try to use up everything - if I can't I give to someone that can.
      I love that there are so many of us that are like minded.
      Thanks girly!!!!! Have a good one.

  6. Thank you very much for posting your grape arbor pictures. It really does give me ideas on how we can do ours. We even have some lumber from a previous project so reduce reuse recycle there, too.

    1. oh and we have found a way to not waste food, between our compost pile and our chickens and our dog , all get quite a few of the almost but not quite gone completely bad food items, their systems are much better prepared biologically to deal with a few pathogens that would put my system under stress! and the compost pile makes it way back to the veggie garden eventually, the heat from composting destroying those pathogens

    2. You are welcome. Hope the pics help!

    3. I use the compost pile when necessary. I sure try to eat all I can. Meat scraps often go out for stray kitties or opossum!

      I like to re-invent leftover into new dishes. I bet having chickens does get rid of a lot of waste.
      You go girl!

  7. The pictures of your simple arbor are great, and it is beautiful. Never got around to having one when I was in Egg Harbor. Now I can't.

    The food waste issue is completely in my radar too. I see how much gets wasted whenever I go to take my one bag of trash to the dumpster each week. I am totally amazed also, at how much fast food comes into the apt. building I am in. I see one man who goes for coffee and a breakfast sandwich daily for his family, the wife goes for fast food for lunch, the kids come in with huge drink cups from a fast food place after school, and then the father picks up dinner again in the evening. They spend more per day, than I do per week on my groceries. All I can do is shake my head, and pay more attention to make sure I am not wasting my money or my food.

    1. Obviously more cents than since!!! Crazy - not only is it incredibly non-healthy - but the cost factor! I just don't understand people.
      I spend so little on groceries - especially in the summer.
      I do like stocking up and great finds, but usually have most of what is needed weekly.

      I am so glad there are many of us trying to spread the word on waste and on being frugal. IF we help just one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      Have a good one.

  8. I never go by the expiration date either. I've used items that were five years old. If it smells and looks bad then it gets dumped.

    I was reading a blog on Facebook where a lady contacted the grocery store and found our that they THROW OUT their expired milk. She made a deal with them that she would take it. On her first visit I think she came home with something like 17 half gallons of milk. It was perfectly drinkable, but with that amount she also gives it to her pigs, chickens and some other animals she has (which helps with the nutrition and feed costs). Maybe I should try getting a job in a grocery store!! No wonder their prices are sky high!! Unfortunately, I'm too old to start milking goats again!

    1. Just another thought. Rather than throw it out (if it can't be donated to a shelter of some sort or organization) why not give free bags away for people to compost. Oh, but that wouldn't work, because then the government couldn't collect tax dollars on that!

    2. My FIL worked at a milk production factory at one time and said that older milk was collected and turned into chocolate ice cream. enough flavoring added that no on knew it was old! To this day my MIL will not eat chocolate ice cream. LOL
      The date on my milk is a sell by date and in no way emphasizes how long it will last. I use way past date as long as it tastes good.

      Kris good for you on using older items as well. Not a thing wrong with them and it sure saves money!
      If I got a job at a grocery - they would probably fire soon thereafter - as I 'd be given the what for!!!

    3. Well the stores could probably write off of their taxes - but you are right, the govt. has to get their two cents or dollars!

      We have a lot of programs around here that feed kids lunch during the summer, since they aren't getting lunch in school. Our park does that. Kids don't have to go without - food could be donated for something like that.
      Have a good one.

  9. When we were little, my sister would always insist on bringing home the fruit and vegetables that were misshapen because she was afraid no one would take it home. She got this idea from reading a book called Patchy Pumpkin about a pumpkin that no one wanted to make into a jack-o-lantern because it wasn't cute enough.
    I personally like to buy the ugly lemons and limes because they always seem to be the juiciest ones!

    1. Oh Angela what a cute story. Reminds me of the Charlie Brown Christmas tree!
      I don't mind misshapen fruit or veggies at all. I don't understand why they create a problem myself.
      I guess people are just strange!!
      Have a great day and thank you for such a sweet story.