Friday, June 03, 2011

Bean sorter

I stayed home from work today in order to get an antibiotic from my doctor. I've been trying to get over this since Monday but early this morning it graced me with 'green chowder' coughed out of my lungs during a eucalyptus bath. So, it was time to get medication. Maybe after a few doses of the medicine I will go back to work tomorrow one more day before my vacation.

Because I'm a geek even when I am sick (especially so, sometimes, if the body is not willing the mind still rambles etc.) the morning was spent perusing bean varieties. I have a strange fondness for the way beans create an entire sprawling, leafing, multiple pod-producing plant that can be used fresh or dried and then cooked or planted again. There are so many varieties, some of which have been passed down within single families or small communities over hundreds of years. One of these varieties, 'blue Shackamaxon pole bean', is coming in the mail in a week or so, and also some French blue lentils. I intend to plant it as a small fall crop, after our corn is down to stalks and at the tail-end of the crop of pintos and limas and green snap beans that are already in the garden. If I had a larger garden and more time I would plant as many varieties of beans as I could, just to look at all the differences. But... step gently... don't want to get into the same mess as my pumpkins are in - growling and ready to wrap vines around the nearest thing possible as they fight for space. *just kidding*

Esme and I also sorted through a package of dry 'soup beans' that had been sitting in my pantry for a long time. Esme loved the idea - she had a wonderful time sorting 'seeds, make grow' into different colors, shapes and textures. She called the few garbanzo beans that were in the group 'white what is this feel'. They are very crinkly and bumpy compared to anything else. She didn't miss one of those in the entire pile... which I found very interesting. She was finding them by feel, and not by sight for the most part. She put them away from the other white beans on a separate plate and also sorted out the 'bigs' as she called the lima beans, from the 'whites, small' of the other two or three types of white bean that were in the group. She sorted out pintos, kidneys and red beans into one other pile (which I further separated) and the black beans into another. I told her to leave the greens and yellows (lentils and peas) and she did easily. It was a wonderful game for her.

The odd ones out

I found the above brown and red beans very distinct from the others in the pile. I think they are actually just variations on pintos and kidneys, but they were interesting enough that I will try to grow them separately later with the Shackamaxon and see if they produce anything.

At the end of the activity Esme was very possessive of the beans she had separated into the cup. She wanted to go make those grow, right now - no questions mama... let's go. We go make grow. She lost some of the interest after we put the first line of them in the ground. I chose a place at the edge of our woods where the loggers had left large areas of dirt. I dug trenches for her with a shovel and let her put them in. Then Daddy allowed her to put a line of them to the right of his flowers (morning glory and cardinal vines) on the fence where some variety had not taken. Esme planted her entire cup and then got very cranky - so I brought her in and convinced her into a bathtub. Now she is drinking juice and watching Bambi quite happily.

I'm feeling half human, but could really use a nap! If Daddy doesn't leave to go to town soon I might try to steal a few minutes of one.

NOTe: When I was out in the garden today Esme asked me if I was 'making grow, you make radishes?' Why yes, yes I do. hehe ;) She was pulling up pigweed in the yard a few minutes ago saying 'no, not a radish', so she has the idea and has been paying lots of attention to what I'm bringing in from the garden. My summer squash IS all starting to produce. The white patty pans have set and are about 2 inches across and growing. The golden crooknecks are less than 2 inches and a lot of them. Some of the zucchini (which I thought hadn't even flowered yet) is producing short little green fruits. I took one of the two inch zucchinis inside to try. The cucumbers are starting to blossom while still looking very very small. I saw some of the pear tomatoes setting small bulbous fruits. I thought my basil seed had been washed away and would never be seen again. However, I found it! It is growing along a wash line at the end of the corn, now marked with red flags. It was only a 25 cent seed packet, but it does make me happy to see it coming up in about ten plants :)

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