Monday, June 25, 2012

Bean Legs

I really didn’t plan on spending a good portion of the afternoon in the bean patch…I was thinking…NAP!  Nonetheless, the beans were in need of some attention. So, off I went.

I am fairly certain that no gardener would say that picking beans is his or her favorite job.  It is a back-breaking task that needs to be done in the heat of the day. The plants and the beans should be dry for the health of the plant and the storage of the beans.  The job always makes me think of Bartee, a friend from the Boss’ days with the power company.

Before our move to the Valley, we had a huge garden, a couple goats and some chickens. We often had friends to visit to get stuff from the garden. Bartee brought his little girl to pick beans one summer day.  His little girl ended up playing with our little girls, so Bartee was left to pick beans by himself.  There were LOTS of beans. When he finally finished, he loaded the beans into a big black trash bag and headed home where his wife was waiting to start the family project of freezing beans.

The next day he was heard to say, “oh, owwww….my legs hurt!  I got BEAN LEGS!”  …and the term was born and would live on in infamy.

We didn’t think to tell him that picking beans is one of the many tasks that have a part in the farmer/gardener fitness plan.  All the bending over to pick beans does a real number on your glutes and quads.  Sometimes even the backs of one’s calves ache from the constant stretching and strain. Lower back muscles get a workout as well.

The easiest way to pick green beans is to straddle the row.  With one foot on either side of the row of plants, you inch along, picking beans and dropping them in the bucket on the outside of the row.

It is best to leave the plants as undisturbed as possible so that they can continue to grow and produce for several weeks. Looking upside down at all the plants in order to get every bean certainly gives a different perspective on the world. Listening to music on my MP3 player, the time passes quickly while the beans steadily pile up in the bucket.  
...and I love me some green beans!  I know that some Market customers will be thrilled.

But, thirty pounds of beans later, you guessed it…I think I’ve got BEAN LEGS. As it is early in the season, my muscles are in need of some toning.

No time to consider those tight muscles…

            it’s broiler processing day!

 P.S. to Bartee:  thanks for the chuckle, Hoss!

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