Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Beans, Beans, and More Beans

     I canned 14 pints of three bean salad last night.  Our pole beans are doing very well so I had to do something with the bounteous harvest. I didn't plant a lot of pole beans. I planted a total of eight hills of about three plants each. It is amazing how many green beans can be harvested from planting less than thirty beans.  I really love the pickled bean salad we have been buying at Costco so I thought I would try my hand at a homemade version.  I found a recipe that called for green beans, wax beans, and lima beans. I didn't grow wax beans and I really don't care for lima beans so I broke down and added a half a can each of canned kidney and garbanzo beans instead.  My red onion crop didn't do well this year, but I still have lots of onions on hand for canning. They sell a 50 pound bag of yellow onions at Cash and Carry for less than $10.00.  I broke down and bought the large bag mainly so I would have plenty to use in canning.  We used them in our 40 or so pints of bread and butter pickles as well as the pickled beans. I've also given some of the onions away and I still have more than half the bag left.  The way my tomatoes are doing this year I might end up using the rest in home canned spaghetti sauce.

Slightly out of focus home made three bean salad

      I suppose I could have used my Rockwell dry beans in the pickled three bean salad as they are at the shell bean stage right now. I will only harvest a few gallons of them so I just hated to use them for that purpose.  The home grown dry beans were such a big hit with Linda last year that we ran out rather quickly.  I doubled the area of the garden devoted to dry beans but they will still have to be rationed for them to last through the winter.  On the other hand, we will have more than enough winter squash to last us through the winter. I'm estimating I have about 15 butternut, six hubbard, and about a dozen spaghetti squashes quietly maturing in the garden. I say "about" because they have a tendency to hide under the vines so its hard to do an accurate inventory.

"Rockwell" dry beans

    I'm not sure what happened with the red onions I planted this spring from sets. Its possible that they didn't get enough sun in order for them to bulb out properly.  I planted them in a portion of the garden that has become more shady each year as it sits between a birch tree and a sweet cherry tree that have each grown a lot over the past five years. While they didn't make very good bulbs, they did set a good seed crop. Consequently, I'm going to try growing red onions from seed this next year. My sweetie really loves red onions so it would be nice to have a good red onion crop next year. The only other significant disappointments from my garden were the lack of cabbages and indian corn. I just didn't have time to get all of my garden area prepared in time to plant everything I wanted. On the other hand, I've barely had time to deal with our current surplus of vegetables.  I should be feeling relieved that I'm not having to deal with making sour kraut.

    On a somewhat different note, I really love singing in our ward choir.  Sabrina Clasen, our choir director, has a very cheerful personality, which makes singing in the choir even more enjoyable.  We mostly sing from the hymnal but occasionally she has us sing something more difficult.  This past Sunday Sabrina issued a challenge for each of us to sing at least one hymn every day. That is a challenge I am very glad to accept as I really do love singing the hymns. Nothing helps me feel the Spirit easier than singing the hymns of Zion. Many years ago, when I was a new agent down in Houston, Texas, I had more than a one hour commute to work.  The big city traffic was a bit stressful to say the least.  I finally managed to remove the stress from my commute when I started to memorize hymns and sing them on my way to and from work.  I found it hard to feel stressed while belting out my favorite hymn. It also made it much easier to feel charitably towards the other drivers.

I'm not sure what John is pointing at  that is so interesting.

    We had a visit from Natalie and Connor on Saturday. It was their last opportunity to play with Britton, Lucy, and John before the little Tunnells move over the mountains to Ellensburg.  The kids had a great time just hanging out together. It was pretty humorous though watching Natalie and Lucy each trying to be large and in charge in directing their play. John and Connor played pretty well together with a minimal amount of hitting and punching.

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