Category Archives: neighbors

It’s a long, hot summer

I can’t believe how long it’s been since we had any substantial rain.  Thank goodness we have the drip irrigation in the main garden and the raised beds:

Main Garden 7-27

Raised Beds 7-27

For the first time in ages, the cucumbers are actually doing something, and will bear fruit:

Cucumber 7-27
Lush cucumbers, dead lawn behind them

Powder mold, squash beetles and other environmental factors have contributed to the lackluster performance over the last few years.  It’s been a while since I’ve been able to make homemade pickles.  That might be changing this year.

Of course, we’re still being supervised:

I love hard work, I could watch it all day
I love hard work, I could watch it all day

The nicest thing about this cat is that he wants 5-10 very intense minutes of your attention, and then he moves off to stalk birds or mice or just snooze a bit.  We were commenting the other day about our luck in getting neighborhood cats that actually give us the time of day.  Even better when they keep away the destructive pests.

The winter of our discontent

We are continuing to be buried in snow, and it’s much too early to start planting seedlings, but I do have something entertaining for you to chase away these dreary winter days.

You may remember almost two years ago, when we had that problem with the crows, and we accused Max of trying to rip his way through the screen into the house?  J put up a sign, which apparently works – our neighbor captured the following one day last summer, but just sent us the video:

Proof the Sign Works!

Granted, that crow is sauntering away, but he does take in the sign and leave.  It makes me laugh every time I see it.


It does amount to a hill of beans

“More grows in the garden than the gardener sows.”…Old Spanish Proverb

This was spectacularly true for our bean crop this year.  Last year we got about 2 meals’ worth of beans out of the garden.  Admittedly, we did not plant a lot of plants – maybe 30?  This year, with the addition of the back-40 field, I put in a lot of beans (and peas) in the main garden and out back.  How good could they really do?  Perhaps we’d get 4 meals’ worth, if we were lucky.  What’s that old saying?  Man plans, God laughs?  Exactly.

We’re growing both green bush beans and Royalty Purple Pod Beans.  We’ve eaten some for dinner a couple of times, given a lot away, and then this past weekend, when we returned from vacation, we picked all this:

Which I estimated was approximately 10 pounds of beans.  We gave away three equal quantities to our neighbors, and kept one for ourselves.  Our other neighbors, who also garden and are also buried in beans, made vague suggestions about doing a joint canning operation this week.  We shall see.  But just in case we don’t, and for some reason your CSA has buried you in beans, here are two great recipes for beans I really enjoy. 

Italian Green Bean Salad
by Kathy Kittell of Lenexa, KS – courtesy of Healthy Cooking June/July 2008

1 1/2 lbs fresh green beans, trimmed
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
1/2 cup thinly sliced roasted sweet red peppers
1 tbs pine nuts, toasted
2 tbs + 1 1/2 tsp olive oil
1 tbs lemon juice
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp salt (I always omit this)
Additional fresh basil leaves, optional

Place beans in a large saucepan and cover with water.  Bring to a boil.  Cook, uncovered for 8 – 10 minutes or until crisp-tender.  Drain & immediately place in ice water.  Drain & pat dry.

Transfer to a salad bowl; add the basil, peppers and pine nuts.  In a small bowl, whisk the oil, lemon juice, garlic powder, pepper & salt (if using.)  Drizzle over bean mixture and toss to coat.  Garnish with additional basil if desired.

And here’s the recipe I made last night:  It’s a grilled green bean recipe, but I put everything into a microwave steamer bag and cook it for about 5 -6 minutes.  I wish I could figure out a way to keep the beans from turning green when they cook, because I think this would be a fabulous splash of color on the table if I could get them to stay purple.

Asian Grilled Green Beans
by Trisha Kruse of Eagle, ID – courtesy of Healthy Cooking (year unknown)

1 tbs brown sugar
1 tbs sesame oil
1 tbs reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed
1 medium red onion, halved & thinly sliced
6 medium fresh mushrooms, quartered

In a large bowl, combine the first firve ingredients.  Add the beans, onion & mushrooms; toss to coat.  Place half the vegetables on a double thickness of heavy-duty foil (about 18″ square); fold foil around vegetables and seal tightly.  Repeat with remaining vegetables.

Grill, covered over medium heat for 18-22 minutes or until beans are tender, turning packets over once.  Open foil carefully to allow steam to escape.

(Or put everything into a microwave steamer bag for 5-6 minutes – much easier.)

Perhaps fewer bean plants next year.  Perhaps.