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Dry beans are great because they are so patient. You let them go while you have to feverishly harvest and preserve everything else, and then they just sit and wait until you are ready to thresh them. Thank you dry beans! You win the Produce Congeniality award.

We planted a small kidney bean called hidatsa red, which I planned from the beginning to let dry down. The butter beans were kind of a mistake – the limas were all ready at such a variety of times, and some seemed at different points even within the same pod. I have never grown limas so maybe I just need to adjust my expectations. But for the most part I decided it was too hard to babysit them to try and figure out when I could pick them, so I just let them dry down. Dry limas are called butter beans.

 

I wanted to thresh the beans outside, because I knew the chaff would be really messy, so on a 50ish degree day, I let Solveigh and Alice stomp them down to weaken the pods.

 

 

Then I rolled the kidney beans between my hands to break them down further. The lima bean pods were a lot tougher, so I actually shelled those one at a time (more about that later).

Beans are heavier than the chaff, so they fell to the bottom of the container, and I pulled off all the chaff.

There were still bits and pieces that needed to be winnowed out, so we set up a fan and poured them back and forth a few times.

 

Last step: poured them over a large screen and shook them a little.

BEAUTY!

A few days later, I did the lima/butter beans. The pods literally popped open like a spring hinge. Some were so dry when I picked them, they curled up on themselves. Crazy!

The pods didn’t make nearly as much mess as the kidney beans, so I just worked on them while we watched Breaking Bad for a few nights. We’ve got lots of good pots of chili ahead!

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Mentally, I wasn’t ready to plant again, but the seed garlic arrived and had to go in. Garlic needs a few weeks to get a start. Then it goes dormant over the winter and comes up in the spring! I’ve never grown it before, so, like so many other things, this will be another experiment.

I planted the garlic on Monday and today went to take a few pictures and cover the garlic. It is really cold this week, but will mellow out again next week; so I decided to cover the garlic to keep it warmer for a few days.

Good morning! Yes, that is snow on the ground.

And here’s our dead dead garden.

Today I cleaned up the carrots. I canned carrots last year and used them in stews and roasts. But the fact is, fresh garden carrots are just plain best. We didn’t have as many as last year anyway, so I got a tip from my friend Yvonne on how to keep them fresh. Cut the greens off the top, wash them well, dry them well and pack them in ziploc bags with some paper towels to soak up excess moisture. We’ll see how long they keep, but I think we’ll probably eat them all before they have a chance to go bad.

Ideally, you could set them outside for a few minutes in the hot prairie wind, but it was overcast and cold, so I used technology.

By the way, anyone who thinks a “leggy” carrot is weird has never eaten a homegrown, garden carrot — it’s very common. Warning: liberal propaganda ahead — We have been taught to believe what we find in the grocery story is normal and everything else is inferior or a malformed attempt at perfection. Boooo hegemony! Whew, glad I got that out of my system.

Ready to eat in my crisper drawer!