Grit Blogs > The Theoretical Farmers Almanack

Green Bean Memories

Broadway, VA                        February 2                  45 degrees                   7:21 pm

Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.  

--Benjamin Franklin 

TRF Cullers head shotThese sixty-degree days are driving everybody crazy. The Schoolhouse is tipping on its end with bottled up adolescent energy, cars are crashing into each other with uncommon fury. Even Mother Nature is baffled. The forsythia bushes are blooming, the lilacs budding and the nasopharyngitis virus (aka the common cold) is slashing through the town like a Norse berserker.  Just heard that Punxutawney Phil saw his shadow, so maybe there is still hope for a few good blizzards and a couple of ice storms before Spring pays its annual call. Sure hope so.

I might have a tiller if I can get the parts to fix it. My 81-year-old uncle, Berlin, has decided to give up gardening. Unpredictable health and increasing arthritic joint pain have finally forced him to hang up the trowel and pack away the rubber boots. He said I could have his pride and joy:  the ancient, cobweb-covered garden tiller parked in a corner of an old out building. Last time he had it going, it purred like a kitten. Or so he tells me. Now, it looks more like a rusted metal dragon than a functioning machine. Still, it’s the best offer I’ve had yet.  His birthday is on Saturday. Maybe I’ll go for a visit, take him a card and casually hoist the antique metal contraption on the back of the pick-up; see if I can perform a minor miracle and get the engine running again.

When I was a kid, Uncle Berlin was the consummate green bean picker. The women in his life were pampered, as true Southern Belles were wont to expect. He would never allow any of us (even me – a 6 year old tomboy) to kneel in the rows of green vines and pick the sticky, warm vegetables. Our job was to string, snap, wash, pack and can the beans, not to soil our hands with garden dirt. Green bean canning day was an event in itself---a day full of activity, story telling and family bonding. But that’s a tale for another day. The woodstove is crackling; one Kat is stretched, belly up, on the rug, and my eyes are becoming exceptionally heavy.  I feel a snooze coming on.