Thursday, August 27, 2009


Not a lot of diving lately. Sunday, wife and I went together, and didn't get too much. I tried this morning to see how that would go, but nothing to interesting. Really haven't needed much. Our freezer is pretty full, and we are lacking nothing. So I'm being satisfied in that. God is a great provider.

Matthew 6:25 "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?"

Moving out of the valley and towards the mountaintop, getting motivated to start drawing again. Next post, I'll show you something, promise!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Food poisoning!!

Just kidding! Yes, we do eat most of the food I bring home. In the dark, I grab what looks good, and we sort when I get home.

"But isn't that food diseased?"

No. Places throw stuff out when it hits the sell-by date, gets dirty or crunched, is discontinued, sometimes no discernable reason. I'm reminded of the Seinfeld episode where George ate the donut from the top of the trash. What was wrong with that dounut? Does moving it from the counter or refrigerator to the trash change the chemical composition of the food?

200 years ago, maybe even 100 years ago, we ate fruit that had imperfect spots, drank milk with no sell-by dates (they used a fancy system where they opened the container and smelled the milk), and ate meat that hadn't been in a constant refrigerated state.

So sarcastic rant aside, we test our food using our brains and senses. If it smells bad, away it goes. Many times fruit is past the freshest state, but still perfectly fine and safe to eat. Meat I bring home is still cold from the store, and if still in a sealed package, is cooked thoroughly. For example, I found a 5-pound tube of ground meat. There was a small break in the package, but the meat was still cold, so had just come from the meat case. We saved everything except the portion near the break in the package, and didn't die after eating it.

If there was a ridiculous amount of the same item in the trash that hadn't expired yet, that could be a suspect of tainted food. Often these scares aren't as serious as they're made out to be (bird flu, anyone? Swine flu?). So again, common sense, sound judgment.

I'm not an expert on food science. I just use common sense, and that's gotten us by so far.


Monday, August 17, 2009

Dumpster-Diving 101: Where & when

There's some good books you can read on diving, most notably JOhn Hoffman's The Art & Science of Dumpster-Diving. A pretty entertaining read even if you're not interested in applying John's lifetime of knowledge, but you probably will be after reading it! I'd like to offer some basic, quick lessons I've learned so far. I'm still an amateur at this, hopefully to one day gain the rank of Master Diver, but I have learned a lot quickly.

Where: Well, depends on what you're looking for. For us, we like food & books (more on food saftey later). So we target local markets that don't have the big trash compactors that I don't care to try to get into. I think that might count as breaking & entering. So smaller chain stores, and health food stores often have regular dumpsters. But whatever you're interested in or like to shop, shop their dumpster! It's usually a good idea to scout your location during the day.

When: After store hours, preferably at night for me are the best times. You could get away with looking through a dumpster during daylight store hours, but you risk being hassled by employees or managers. If they see you, you risk having them lock the dumpster or something. My favorite place is next door to a bar, and often employees come out the back door & can see me. I think they called the cops on me, but the cop didn't care that I was lookin'. Still, I don't like the hassle risk factor. Sunday evening they're closed, so I pick at my leisure that day! Ideally, I would go out after midnight every time, but I do work a 9-5 job. Gotta sleep!

Last night was good (Sunday!) Got 3 half-gallons of milk, 1 chololate!, lotsa yogurt, but some turned out skunky, 4 boxes of donuts, a little ice cream, broccoli, a few bunches of bananas, a few dozen small quickly-ripening tomatoes that I made yummy sauce out of today! Nummy! 6 cases of discarded books, too. Some light reading!

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Didn't go last night, too tired. Physically and mentally- stuff is getting me down.

Forgot to mention a great find the other day- 2 cases of cookie dough- ready to bake. From some local vendor who must have had a promotion at the store, then chucked his leftovers! Yum!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Diving night tonight! I usually go Sunday night (good 'cause a lot of places close earlier sos I can get to bed earlier!), Tue or Wed, and Fri. or Sat. Notable stuff from the past week:
2 computers (possible ebay sales. I've gotten $20-30 before)
1/2 gal & 4 pints ICE CREAM!
a good boxful of organicish cookies & crackers
2- 1/2 gal organic milk
2 5lb roasts
gift-worthy notebooks, pens, stationary-type stuff
about 30 bath/shower soaps

I need more produce, especially bananas- I feel potassium deficient!

There's an excitement & thrill about going out hunting through dumpsters. Did I talk about this already? o well. I feel like it goes back to man's primal instinct to hunt. There's a thrill of pursuing the game, and a slight hint of danger (apparently not from the police in my area- cops have seen me twice, and passed on by), and the satisfaction of having a successful score. I feel pretty alive and proud after a successful few hours of hunting! Beats sitting in a tree stand waiting for the food to come to you!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The greatest commandment

Hey there! Not a lot of diving the past week, it's been so rainy & hot & muggy here, makes it hard to get out. Did have a great find of books & neat things from bookstore. Another big bag of dog food. Our dog is small, this would probably feed her for 6 months! We are able to find enough to supplement us so we only need about $200 a month for groceries. For a family of 4, I think that's really good.

We've been through a lot over the past few months. Without wanting to go into much detail, we ended up in a situation where we were left feeling unloved by our church family. It's strange that it took that to truly start caring for others. It took unforgiveness to teach me how to forgive and love unconditionally. This has possibly been the hardest 6 months of our lives, but I'm thankful for where God is leading me as we go through it.

On a related note, during this time, God had been working on my attitude toward gays. I had always felt funny, or uncomfortable around gay men. I can't explain why, but I think it was from judging them, and not loving unconditionally as I should. All men have sinned and fallen short of God's glory. I'm a sinner. Is my sin worse than a gay man's sin? If I can sin and call myself a Christian, why can't a gay man (or woman)? A week or so later, I reached out to a friend in need, and he ended up telling me he was gay. I was quite shocked, but also quite accepting. We ended up having a great talk, and a great time! Yes, God loves gays, too! *gasp* if the church would just love gays (or anyone else, for that matter), you would not be able to keep the gays our of the churches. It's not our job to try to change anyone, God does that! Our only responsibility is to love. It is the greatest commandment.