“Look! A four-leaf clover!” Alicia finds a rare gem hidden in the bean bush.
“You should keep it!”
“No, I’ll leave it here so that its gene pool can remain… maybe there’ll be more four-leaf clovers.”
Many of the usual culprits were arrested from the field this week: carrots, kale, chard, lettuce, parsley, spring mix, mustards, turnips, radishes. So guilty are they, each week, of being beautiful and yummy.
We also processed some of the garlic that’s been patiently drying, for grocery stores and for CSA boxes! Semi-cured.
And… BEANS! Our second bush bean harvest was a glorious first experience for me.
When picking beans, we try to include the “cap” that connects the bean to the stem (what is the name for this part?). This helps keep the beans fresh, as any breakage would be an open wound for bacteria or fungi to get in. We also look for nibbling and snapping–don’t want to include those. As we were packing the beans the next day, I couldn’t resist not getting a bag for myself!
Farmer Scott dislikes picking beans, but I think I quite like it. It definitely is time-consuming, with all the shuffling amongst the frilly green leaves in search of those long, slender also-green pods. I may be a naive amateur, but at least I got a story out of it… (coming up, stay tuned.)
On Wednesday, we saved some baby carrots again! From purslane, again. A “delicate hand-weed”, again. Reminded, mid-way, to look back and be in awe of those neat little rows of carrot seedlings, again. Wow.
Again, and again, and again. Life cycles. Of us and carrots. We help each other–we save them from the weeds, they nourish us with crunch and vitamins.
And amusing shapes.
After carrots, we weeded one of the kale beds:
I felt encouraged in my goal to get faster at weeding, as I pretty much kept up with Scott for most of the length of the bed! A momentous moment. But… I did notice that he was weeding the alleyway on his side too… while mine had burlap and didn’t need much weeding… so… my weed per/minute speed is probably still lower… but still! Small successes make me happy.
Speaking of small…
Bush beans seem so easy to grow–no trellis required! I should try growing these at home! This thought runs through my head often at the farms. We have quite a large backyard space. Unfortunately, it is full of weeds, and I’ve long felt daunted by the amount of work it would require to transform it into a garden space. I often feel guilty for not doing more with it. We might move in the near future, so the idea of cultivating a space and then soon leaving it decreases the level of motivation even more.
But, in a way, isn’t our time on this earth impermanent too? And still we cultivate it, work with our hands to build our home here. I think I’m learning the value in just doing something, without over thinking it. It need not be perfect when you start, just wholeheartedly done. Every start is a good start. Even–and perhaps especially–small starts.
Sometimes the hands must take the lead, over the head.
For this, the body must be strong and well.
At the beginning of the season, Farmer Scott gave us a slice of advice about the importance of self-care. I’ve been a late-sleeper since my teenage years, and have had every intention to change that. Habit, social norms, and false belief in the resilience of the youthful body definitely play a part. But, recently, I’ve realized how I often stay up late when my mind feels burdened by stress and uncertainties, or my heart feels weary and numb. Staying up late is somehow a way to try to escape those feelings and needs by defying the body’s natural needs.
I’ve written about the connection of body-soul-spirit, and the dynamics of nurturing the land, ourselves, and community. I now have the opportunity for some experiential learning in the area of self-care. We must nurture ourselves if we want to be able to nurture the land, and others. It will be a nightly challenge, but every effort to start preparing for bed early is a good, small start. What do I really need? What does my body most need? I want to get up feeling refreshed and energized, not groggy and tired; I want to enjoy the day, not try to just get through it. A good life-lesson to learn earlier rather than later.
Stretching helps, too.
We cut the day short at Van Tech on Wednesday because of the rainy, colder weather. (Another area for practicing self-care: being [over- rather than under-]prepared for the weather!) I got home in time to help with dinner, and I decided to put those freshly-harvested green beans to good use.
We all have one or two or ten recipes that remind us immediately of home. For me, Garlic Green Beans is one of them. My mom loved making this stir fry. When I was living on my own, I’d make this dish when I felt homesick. Familiar foods that nourish soul and body–another way to self-care.
Lots of garlic, sometimes with lots of ginger and onion, sizzled in oil. Trimmed beans tossed in with a splash of water. Pan covered to let steam. Salt and pepper to taste. Done when brilliant bright green.
Thus goes my Green Bean Story. The ending was perfect: my Garlic Green Beans turned out over-salty, apologetically so. Just the way my mom use to make them.
Like the weedy mess of a young carrot bed, sometimes we can feel scarily out of control of our lives–of emotions, of circumstances, of relationships. Yet, despite the chaos, storylines and lifelines prevail. Despite the mess, beautiful, worthwhile, yummy things still grow.
If we see ourselves as part of a community, part of a family, part of the ebb and flow of Life itself, won’t we take better care of ourselves? We don’t just take care of ourselves for ourselves, it is a responsibility we have towards the people and world around us–to steward the body, soul, and spirit given to us, to be healthy and whole.