Green Bean Bonanza 

My number one, least favorite thing to do in the garden is picking green beans. 

I loathe picking green beans. 

However, I love eating green beans. So every summer I dutifully haul out my big canvas harvesting bag and set to work picking, getting covered in a prickly rash and becoming very cross in the process. 

And every summer I mutter and curse under my breath the entire time that next year I am not letting the DreadBrewer plant a billion beans, even if we all adore green beans. 

Our go-to bean cultivar is Prevail, with our seeds usually purchased from Park Seed. These bush beans are crazy prolific, heat tolerant, pest resistant, upright… pretty much the whole package when it comes to beans. We’ve tried other cultivars in the past and always come back to Prevail. 

Even with staggered sowing dates, the two bean beds usually end up overlapping some and we end up drowning in beans. 

Some of our favorite ways to eat our beans are: 

-Steamed or boiled (this is the little girls’ favorite way to have them; they’re very boring. The girls, not the beans.) 

– Tossed with olive oil and garlic and roasted in the oven 

-Green Bean Pesto Pasta: combine 1 lb cooked short curly pasta (like gemelli), 1 lb beans (blanched but still crisp tender), and 8 oz pesto. It’s the most delicious combo ever 

Thrown into whatever stir fry we happen to be making, This is a version of one we’ve made a few times that is pretty tasty 

But no matter how many ways we cook them, we all eventually get sick of beans. And no matter how many pounds we give away, we somehow still have pounds of beans leftover. 

Thankfully DB got me the most phenomenal pressure cooker last year, making me much less anxious about canning our fresh veggies for storage. 

So in just a few short hours, I can turn this: 


Into this:


I figure we did about 8 or 9 pounds of beans today, which took me nearly a full hour to snap. Though having to do some of it with Itty Bitty on my hip definitely slowed things down some. By the time we filled the jars, got the canner loaded, and processed and cooled the jars, the whole thing took about 4 hours. But we got 14 jars today, plus the 12 we did a few weeks ago. I want to get 36 total done so we can have one a week when our bean beds finally fail. 

Looks like I better get my trusty canvas bag out and head back out for some more bean pickin’. 

I can’t wait. 

Time for a change

For a very long time I have had very long hair. For such a long time, actually, that I had gotten really, really attached to having long hair and even got kind of teary during my biannual trims. It was truly a lot easier to have such long hair than most people thought because all I had to do was throw it up in a pony or a bun and go.

But it started to bug me that I had this long, pretty (in my opinion) hair and I never wore it down. Because when I did wear it down, it got into EVERYTHING. Our food. Our clothes. Itty Bitty’s diapers. All over the bathroom floor. As much crazy long hair as I shed all over, I’m surprised I didn’t go totally bald. So last weekend I decided it was time for a change and that I was going to get my first significant haircut since 2011. (Sad but true.) I was a little nervous because long hair has been my “signature style” for forever, if you can call long hair constantly pulled back a style.

For comparison, here’s a photo from the back before I left for my appointment:

I actually hacked off about 6″ while I was home on maternity leave 5 or so months ago, so it used to be even longer.

And here’s a picture from the back after I got home:

Here’s the front view

I brought my cut ponytails home and am going to mail them in to the Pantene Beautiful Lengths program as soon as I get an envelope. (In 2011, when I cut my hair, it was to donate to this program. With my love of oncology nursing, I would rather donate to cancer patients than anything else. Also, I got a nice thank you note from them last time I donated, something I never got when I donated to Locks of Love. I’m just saying that a little thank you goes a long way.)

Now that it’s been about a week, I’m settling into my new ‘do. I can still pull it back into a tiny nub pony for running, which is great. But if I have it down, it doesn’t get in the way like mad like it used to. I don’t really know if I’m going to start growing it out again or keep it trimmed to this length for awhile. For the moment, I’m just enjoying the change from my usual routine.

Adorable Photo Dump

I’ve been intermittently working on an update of the girls for weeks and it just has NOT happened. (Surprise! There’s no such thing as real free time to blog with three kids! Who knew?) I figured I’d just go ahead and do a photo dump of adorable pics of the girls that were planned for my update, with some appropriate captions, and call it a day.

Peas, Please!

This year, DB and I planted three cultivars of peas in what was supposed to be a “pea showdown.” We planted 1/2 bed each of Mr. Big and Lincoln, as well as a whole bed of Wando. We were hoping that one of the cultivars would essentially kick the crap out of the other two and we could stop buying three kinds of peas every year.

Alas, this has not proven to be the case.

The Mr. Big peas had a lower volume of pea pods than the other two but the peas were much larger. We are planning on trying these again in the fall to see if they can be our “fall cultivar.”

The Lincoln peas were consistent producers of high quality peas on smaller plants. But, the plants did seem to suffer more from the heat than the Wandos. They flopped over and looked terribly pitiful once the temps reached 85 or so.

The Wando peas were slower to develop but grew tall, upright, more heat resistant plants that produced quality peas. This provided a nice complement to the earlier producing Mr. Big and Lincoln bed.

So as you can see, we are still faced with the same dilemma as we were pre-2017 garden season.

On the bright side, we have about a billion peas.

Deliciousness in a tiny package

The girls have gotten to be pea shelling champs

Shelling is definitely a family affair with as many peas as we’ve been getting

Itty Bitty is helping me make a quiche with fresh peas

Imagine this, x 5. That’s how many peas we’ve gotten.

Problem that is not really a problem, the girls have a tendency to eat as many peas as they put in the bucket as they shell them. I figure we lose 1 in 3 or 4 peas to kid-consumption, but that’s a price I’m willing to pay for the help. Shelling is also much more enjoyable while vegging out in front of some British murder mysteries with a tasty adult beverage.

We’ve frozen a pound or so of peas, have about a pound in the fridge, and have eaten the rest. I think we’ve got one more big harvest before we cut them low and let them rot in place as green manure.

Looks like we’ll continue buying three types of peas every year. Hopefully our “tomato showdown” will be more successful in whittling our our 16 types of tomatoes down to a more manageable 8 or 10.

Though that still sounds like madness when I type that out.

Welcome to gardening life with the DreadBrewer.

Welcome to motherhood

When the kids are finally in bed, the lunches are packed, the dishes are washed, and the laundry is done, and this is how you spend your free time:

Bonus points if you can spot the Jumperoo, the TK worksheet, and the seed packets all in the background. 

 

At least Mermaid’s cosmetic result won’t be adversely affected (too much) by my having a beer during the head-reattachment procedure.