Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014: The Year of the Bean

This summer I grew black beans in my garden. The pods turned magenta as they ripen and provided about as much beauty as you could ask for from a bean. I didn't plant my beans until later in the summer, and only got a couple pounds worth, but what beans they were! We ate a whole bunch of them tonight in a wonderful black bean soup, and they were marvelous.

I love beans. We didn't eat them growing up, not the dried kind you have to soak overnight, or really any kind other than green beans and baked beans on the 4th of July. When I discovered my first bean eaters in grad school, I was a little dubious. I did not find their black bean stews visually appealing. But after my first bowl of black beans and rice, I was hooked.

As I plan my spring garden, I will make plenty of room for beans. I want to grow beans that you can't find in the store--cranberry beans and scarlet runner beans and rattlesnake beans. There is something so satisfying about growing your own gorgeous protein and then eating it in a soup on New Year's Day. Very fine.


Christmas has come and gone. It was good, it was fine. I don't love Christmas, except for the part where I get to spend long stretches reading new books. There's too much work involved, too much money spent. I took a lot of notes in my Christmas notebook and most of them have to do with not getting so much next year--food, gifts, wrapping paper. Scale it back.

My two favorite parts of Christmas: 1) The Christmas Eve service we attended at the church up the street (the one where we spent so much on pumpkins earlier this fall), which was lovely and peaceful, and 2) The Christmas quilt I made, my first big applique project. Wanna see?

I wish the picture were better. I think if you click on it, you can make out some of the details. It was like putting together a puzzle. I see much more applique in my future.


Yesterday I went to the side yard with a saw in my hand and started pruning the fig trees. We have two enormous figs that we have not pruned an several years, and they've grown up to the second floor windows. We talked about hiring someone to prune them, but I decided that I should at least give it a try before shelling out any money.

Reader, I felt like Pa Ingalls out there. I can't think of the last time I sawed anything, but honey I went to town on those trees. It was hard work (I need to invest in a pruning saw, methinks), but so satisfying! And now I'm thinking I can take on the scraggily trees in our front yard, the ones we want to get out of the way so that Will can play football with his friends there. I think I can clear out the underbrush (now that the snakes are gone) and take care of business.

I had no idea I could cut down stuff all by myself. I feel like a new woman. That's a nice way to feel on New Year's Day. Who knows what else I might accomplish? The mind boggles, doesn't it?


Pom Pom said...

Hi Frances! That quilt is gorgeous! Well done! I'm impressed with your lumberjack skills, too!

Tracy said...

As usual you quilt is beautiful.
I like green beans just fine. All other beans take some getting used to, and Mr Busy doesn't eat them at all. It is his only abolsute no-no. I guess everyone has to be allowed that!!!!

I need to trim my cumquat tree. There are some yellowed scraggly bits. A task for me - Dh lives too dangerously. It never really recovered from the last time. He pruned rather tha. Trimmed. I will happily let him at the lemon tree at the end of the fruit season tho!

Oh, and it's nice to hear I am not alone when it comes to lack of gardening stamina. You made me feel so much better about myself - thank you!!

GretchenJoanna said...

I was doing similar work today, starting off the new year with hard labor in the garden: I cut down my giant climbing rose bush, surprised how much I could accomplish...some of the canes were awfully thick for loppers, but I cranked them down and got the whole thing to the point where now I *only* need to dig it out by the roots. Don't know how that will go.

I think your bean farming/harvest is marvelous! I will look around to see if I have some Painted Lady beans left that I could send you. I'm not growing them anymore, but they are wonderful in being *perennial* runner beans, plus their blooms are so pretty.

The detail on your quilt amazes me. It seems that every few months you show us a beautiful quilt -- I don't see how you fit them in with all the other household and creative things you do!

Jo said...

Frances, I bet you could acheive anything, you are so tough. Lookout garden! Gorgeous beans. I am just about to plant some. It's very late, just like yours were, but better late than never, for beans and all things.

Angela said...

Pleased to read you have just pruned your fig tree - Bob** was discussing doing ours this week and I was concerned it was the wrong time of year
The applique quilt is WONDERFUL x

New Year Blessings, dear friend
** shoudl you be this side of the Pond during January, YOU could come and do it for us!

Ali said...

There is much pleasure to be had in chopping!

And Happy New Year to you and yours.

Heather said...

Bravo on the pruning. That sounds like quite a task.
Your quilt is gorgeous. I bought a lot of materials to make a Christmas quilt in the beginning of December, hoping to do applique and such work on it, but decided the task was too daunting to get done by Christmas. I'm going to take it slow over the year and have it done my next Christmas. I may use yours for inspiration.

I've never thought about growing black beans in my garden, or any other kind of beans other than green beans and edamame. I'm intrigued.

Danielle said...

I'm right there with you on the vitality it imparts to do one's own pruning... the bigger the conquest, the more satisfying the experience. Take that figs!

When you get your own pruning saw, bring it with you when you visit. The new property requires endless work. We can prune until our arms and hands are numb and our souls rejuvenated. Happy 2014!

wayside wanderer said...

Oh, what an adorable quilt. LOVE the little animals and the reindeer. You reminded me that this is the month to prune my roses. I envy you your fig trees!! YUM.