Waste not...

So, today's day ten of the Farm Challenge.


Honestly, I haven't even really noticed, at all, any changes in far as what we're eating.

But I've noticed huge changes in how I think, and it's going to make a big difference in the future.

First, though: We have baby goats!!
Seriously, it's the best thing ever. And the worst thing.

But they're very, very cute.

Zenora, our "lead" goat and my son's best friend and beloved pet, gave birth to a boy and a girl yesterday.

We had been waiting for days and days and DAYS, and then, suddenly, at the end of our 4-H meeting, one of the 4-H kids came out and shouted, "You've got baby goats! Did you know that?"



And there they were, in all of their tiny glory.
So I officially became the best 4-H leader that ever existed, and all of the kids (of the human kind) got to watch two goat babies go from a wet, shriveled mess in a pile of goo into an amazingly tiny little animal that could walk on its own.


It truly was magical and wonderous and all of those things. I think we had 14 people out in the barn watching Zenora nuzzle and lick her tiny babes.
And then, sadly, we watched her decide that she had zero interest in nursing them, and refuse to give them any milk at all. She'll talk to them, and check on them, but won't let them get any milk.
So, bottle babies it is. Which means that we have to milk Zenora, and give the babies the milk, and keep it around the clock.
We did every two or three hours the first night, and I think we can get it down to four hours tonight. That still means a middle of the night feeding for a few more days. Rotten Zenora!
The good news out of that, getting back to food and the farm challenge: We have goat milk!
Of course, I have no idea what to do with it. I've eaten goat cheese, and I've had one glass of goat milk to drink, and it wasn't bad. But I certainly am not a goat milk expert.

Here's what we got this morning from Zenora: Almost a full quart.


And tonight, when we milked her again, we got more than a quart. Is that good? Amazing? So-so? I have no idea. I do know that we're about to be up to our eyeballs in goat milk. I'd better figure out how to make cheese, pronto.

One of my good friends, who came over to help with the birth of the goats, is a goat cheese guru and makes everything from chevre to cheddar. I'm going to need lessons!

In the meantime, though, I'm starting to change the way I think about food.
I'm afraid this will reveal the privilege I've had for so long, but that's the whole point of this, isn't it? To talk about waste and excess in our food system, and how we can all cut down and cut back and how no one should go hungry in the United States (or on the entire planet, but that's a different fight,) when there's so much food?
So here goes:
We waste food. There are five of us, and we've always wasted food. We make more than we eat, we throw leftovers in the fridge, and then the leftovers go bad.
I buy too much. The food goes bad in the fridge, because I didn't plan meals around what I had.
I make too much, I cook too much, and most of all, we EAT too much.


And slowly, because there's no more "boughten" food coming in, I'm starting to see the patterns emerging, and how to change that.
Tonight, we had tuna sandwiches for dinner.
I know, I know. Tuna sandwiches. Thrill a minute. But I was up with goatlings at 3 a.m. and ran a co-op class today for a dozen kids and made a chicken mummy. Cut me some slack. I would normally have ordered pizza.
And we have a TON of food in the fridge. Leftover lamb roast. Leftover pork roast. Chopped chicken. Salad. Taco meat. Tortillas. Beans. Salsa. The fridge is stuffed, and we have a pantry full of food. And we have avocados about to go bad, cherry tomatoes, lettuce, cauliflower that needs to be used.
Now, on a Friday night when I was wiped out and didn't want to cook, I would have ordered a pizza or gone to get tacos. Maybe even gone to the store, if I were being cheap, and gotten a cooked chicken.
And I wouldn't have considered that waste.
But all of the food in the fridge that *didn't* get eaten, that's going to go bad, is still being wasted.
And even now, though, I didn't use it. I got a loaf of gluten-free bread from the freezer (we're down to six loaves,) used ten pieces of our precious bread, ONE can of tuna fish (I would have used two last week,) less mayonnaise than I would have used a week ago, and padded the sandwiches with pickles, pickle juice, and some lettuce.
And if you had told me a week ago that tuna sandwiches were wasting food, I would have told you you were wrong.
But there's NO MORE TUNA coming in. And we HAVE TACO MEAT in the fridge. I could have saved that tuna for a night three weeks in the future! There will be a time in a month when I want bread, and I had tortillas in the fridge!!
A different mindset entirely. It's going to be interesting to see what happens as the challenge progresses, and where we are in a month! In the meantime? 
Baby goats!

Meagan McGovern