Wife, writer, tinkerer, grower of food. I'm happiest outside our rambling farmhouse with a basket looped on my arm, picking dinner from the garden. That's joy right there. Please follow along; I'm so glad you're here!
Happy Labor Day, everyone! It is indeed a day for labor, a time of year for labor. This year, my universal answer to the kindly question, "So, what else is new?" is well, the tomatoes...
They are ripening almost as fast as I can harvest them!
And now the beans. This year I grew rather a lot-- 60 linear feet-- of Maine Yellow Eye beans, a variety intended for drying. Soup beans, in other words. I'd never grown anything other than green beans, meant to be eaten raw, so this was a new frontier.
I was concerned about mold and mildew, and about shelling them all. In the years when my mom would let her green beans dry on the vine, and we would shell them, a third of the crop would be moldy. And those pods were devilishly tough to split.
But not so, these Maine Yellow Eye beans.
Patrick and I lazed around on Saturday. It rained, we laid in bed and watched The Dust Bowl and shelled beans. We did a good four cups-- maybe a quarter of my total harvest-- in about two hours.
Nary a moldy bean among them. (Somewhere, I am sure, that line is penned in some dust bowl farm wife's diary.)
I love raising our own protein, there's something so fabulously pragmatic and rebellious too, a little, in the act. I don't consider myself a "prepper;" I don't have a bunker full of canned goods. But I love the self-sufficient feeling that comes from growing those staple crops. I love announcing at dinnertime, "Garden potatoes, beets, kale, parsley..." That satisfaction isn't born from fear-- as it may be with some others, who worry about the end of the world and infrastructure collapsing-- but from love. The love of this place, and my family, and each tiny seed I plant turning into something fabulous and nourishing.
I'm not saying the world won't end some day, I'm not saying these ragged old systems of ours are going to keep on functioning the rest of my days. In all likelihood, they won't. We're going to need to find a different way. For me, I think I have a pretty good idea of what that other way looks like. I think I'm pretty near already there.
And with that, I will hop off my soapbox to stir the tomato pot...