The Edge of the Wood

by John Messeder, Nemophilist & Ecological Storyteller

Sorry guys, no trash this week

Trash collection truck transports municipal waste to landfill.(Published in the Gettysburg Times, 8/30/2013)

My spouse has been exploring Alaska this month with a high school girlfriend. Grady the Golden and I have had to fend for ourselves. We’re doing alright, thank you, though the company of She Who Must Be Loved would not at all be a bad thing.

I had told her, during one of our evening phone calls, that I had lost a little weight while she’s gone. Not enough to make friends start tacking the ambulance company’s telephone number on the fridge, but enough I’m using holes in my belt that have been pretty much useless for, well, too long.

“Are you saying I make you fat?” she asked.

“Nope,” I said. “I’m just not eating a bunch of stuff.”

My weight problem is my limited will power. She makes brownies, and love and consideration require me to eat my share. And the problem is not only with brownies. Remember when the Doritos slogan was “Betcha can’t eat just one?” I could, if that was the only bag in the house. If I open what now passes for a half-gallon of ice cream, and there’s no one around to help me, I eat a half-gallon of ice cream. Well, shucks, it’ll spoil if it’s not eaten, won’t it?

“But can’t you just eat a little bit of ice cream?” my doctor asked during my last visit.

Nope. Eating one scoop of ice cream is like getting in the car, starting it up, driving 10 miles toward Ohio, and stopping, right there in the middle of the road. All that road in front of you, you can’t go back, and there you sit.

So we buy ice cream sparingly, chips rarely – except when the grandkids are around. I’m diabetic, and that stuff is proven not good for me.

But even knowing that about me, my spouse still was concerned when I told her of my lack of trash this week.

“Are you eating OK?” she asked,

“Yes, Babe,” I assured her. “I’m fine. I went to the farmers markets Saturday morning. When I got home, I posted a picture  on Facebook of the booty lying piled on my kitchen counter – squash, peppers, tomatoes, and apples. I titled it, “Summer still life”

I have no trash because the only prepared food I’ve opened came in the two cans of baked beans I ate during the week. I rinsed the cans and tossed them in the recycling bag. Instead of nuking a steamer of veggies – which results in a non-recyclable plastic pouch for the landfill – I cook in an iron fry pan.

My favorite easy-to-make meal is a layer of onion (about half-an onion, quartered and cut into macaroni-size pieces); a layer of eggplant, then one of yellow summer squash, maybe a thin layer of zucchini, and a layer of sliced tomato. Top it with a steak, previously browned on the grill, or a couple links of spicy Italian sausage.

Cover the pan and let it simmer. Check now and then to be sure not to over-cook the veggies. It will all be done together – and there’s nothing to put in the trash.

One night I sliced up a small summer squash, and scooped the “chips” in a cheese and salsa jar. Empty and rinsed, the jar went in the recyclables bag. Maybe it will be crushed and spread on Miami Beach. Sand is, after all, the first stage of glass, and I hear they’re running short of sand down there.

Scraps from the veggies are slight, and go in the compost, to be used on next year’s garden.

I’m eating just fine, but the guys from Waste Management should not depend on me for a payraise. On the other hand, I may be in need of a new pair of pants.


  1. Sounds like you are faring well on your own, though I know you miss your sweetie.

    Your meals sound a lot like mine, only without the meat. Made a nice skillet lunch today with zucchini, onions, baby portabellos and just a tad of left over black beans and rice. Yum!

    • Yes’m, I’m ready. She flew out July 30 to meet her high school friend, and she’ll be home tomorrow night.

      Meanwhile, I’ll have to pick up a couple portabellas. I like to slice up some spicy peppers, too – hot real hot, just a little zip – and color. The red’s real pretty.

  2. Long vacation! Lucky girl.

    Mild peppers sound like a great addition. I just used what I had in the fridge.

    • I may go to farm market tomorrow. Our backyard gardens haven’t done all that well this year. We got a couple cabbages, couple zukes, some brussels sprouts, pretty good haul of green beans, lots of raspberries – but no pumpkins, only a few tomatoes, no peppers yet. Fortunately, we have a couple good farm markets close buy couple days a week.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.