Friday, July 15, 2011

Arrowhead Hunting and Bean Picking

     You will remember I wrote recently about my unsuccessful arrowhead hunting trip. Also, I shared my green bean canning experiences. Would you believe both of these could come together in a happy coincidence? Sunday evening, Vanita and I decided to tough out the heat and finish picking the green beans. (Actually, she decided she was going to, and I could not let her think she was tougher than me, so I trudged out there with her.)  Stanley and Lance stopped by after a day of putting up hay, and I gave them a tour of Blaine’s garden. I heard Vanita ask, “Who put this here?” I went over to see what she was talking about and found she was holding up an arrowhead that she had found in…my…garden! She thought maybe someone put it there to play a prank on her, but Blaine had obviously tilled it to the surface.
    I admit I did some whooping and hollering!  I have been tramping around in poison ivy and briars and through creeks searching for arrowheads, and here was this gift, in plain sight by the bean plant in my own backyard. It is an almost-perfect, beautiful little pink and cream colored arrow, just about an inch and a half long.  Native Americans (probably members of the Missouri or Illini tribe, according to my research) actually roamed the hills of our farm. 
      Clutching the tiny piece of history in my palm, I graciously told Vanita she could have the arrowhead…after I die, that is. 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Bountiful Beans

Last night I dreamed I was snapping and canning green beans. That is probably because in the past two weeks, I have processed over 150 jars of beans. All of my children and most of the grandchildren helped in the picking and snapping of these beans.  My husband deserves the credit, though, because he planted, tilled, and fertilized the beans to create this bountiful harvest. 

Our favorite variety is called Jade, because they do not get tough like some varieties.  Here is how they looked in the garden:
In the picture below, my canner has almost reached the correct setting of 10 pounds of pressure to begin processing for 25 minutes. More jars are being prepared to go in next:
We also like to make a few dill beans. They are a family favorite, and go over well at carry-in dinners. We use Mrs. Wage's Dill Pickle mix and add a sprig of fresh dill from my herb garden.

Canning green beans is hot work during the picking, time consuming during the snapping (although I admit I was able to watch House Hunters International and the Anne of Green Gables mini-series guilt-free while working), and it takes nerves of steel to operate the pressure canner. 

The result is a product that I know is high quality. I know these beans were grown in dirt that we own. I know whose hands planted, snapped, and washed the beans and packed them into the jars. I enjoyed the comradeship and sharing with my family that went on during the process.  It was a bountiful harvest in more ways than one.