Our 2021 garden: so many beans!

For the past while, we’ve been harvesting a handful of beans, every couple of days. Just enough for the day’s meal, really. It would mostly be the yellow beans, with a few greens, and maybe three or for purple beans.

This morning, we had our biggest harvest, yet!

It is still mostly yellow beans, but they are on the bottom. It’s remarkable to me how, the plants that are the smallest and having the hardest time in this heat, is producing the most right now! Not for long, though, I think. There are LOTS of immature green and purple beans hiding under the leaves. We should start getting hauls like this more often, soon. 🙂

This is the first time we had enough to make it worthwhile to preserve them. Not enough to make it worth breaking out the canner or doing some quick pickles or something, but enough to fill a bag for the freezer.

After trimming the ends, then cutting them to more equally sized pieces, I was able to use the blanching pot I’d found in the storage area of the kitchen, while trying to cat proof it (it’s right up by the ceiling and hard to get to!). This is the first time we’ve been able to use it. 🙂

All those ice packs we have to help keep our food cold or frozen when we do our city trips are coming in handy. I used a bunch of them to make an ice bath to chill the blanched beans in. We don’t typically make ice with our well water, and the ice we do have is purchased, so I didn’t want to use any of that!

This variety of purple beans turn green when cooked or blanched. They are a somewhat less bright green; you can tell them apart in the foreground.

The blanched beans were laid out on a couple of trays and are now in the chest freezer, to be bagged later.

One thing about freezing produce. It’s very fast! I still hope to have enough to pickle or pressure can, so we have shelf-stable beans, too. 🙂

The Re-Farmer


We are still in a polar vortex induced cold spell right now. I delayed doing my rounds outside until it had warmed up to -32C/-25.6F

I skipped switching out the memory cards in the trail cams again! Just the extra time to refill both bird feeders this morning was pushing it.

The heated water bowl was covered over even more than it was yesterday. Not just in frosted surface area, either.

This is after pouring off the old water. That’s a pretty solid layer of ice, left behind! Yesterday, it was more frost than ice.

The other water bowls were, of course, frozen solid. I had to do a fair amount of kicking to get them loose from the snow. When fresh water is added, the metal warms up enough to melt the snow around it, creating bowl-shaped pockets of ice that hold them in place.

Another reason why using old, broken frying pans make excellent water bowls. They can handle being kicked around, then bashed against things to knock the ice out. I used to use a wooden hand rail by the sun room to bash them against, but I didn’t like how much I was damaging the wood, so now I’m bashing them on the saw horses I’ve stored nearby. They’re old and damaged already, and I need to build new ones, so I don’t care if they get more beat up. 😀

Creamsicle Jr. didn’t move from his spot the entire time I was there! He’s under the terrarium bulb, but with the dusk-dawn light sensor, I don’t think it was actually on at the time. I don’t see the red glow of the indicator light, which would visible about 6-8 inches under the outlet.

I did get joined by Ginger, but he was the only cat I saw outside, braving the cold!

With our main entry door falling off it’s hinges, I’ve been going through the sun room to go outside. Which means going through the old kitchen, which is unheated and probably not insulated; at least not by any modern standards. We go into there as little as possible in the winter.

The old kitchen is where we had our crab apple cider vinegar fermenting, and where I now have the mother stored.

It’s almost frozen solid! You can’t even see the mother, which is in the middle of the jar, immersed in vinegar.

I have no idea if this will kill the mother or not.

Does anyone know?

When I was a kid, this room never really got cold, since the wood burning stove was kept going almost constantly, as much to help heat the house as for cooking, so lack of insulation was never really an issue. The old kitchen is an add-on to the original log part of the house, though I don’t know when it was added on. I only know it was already there when my parents bought the property.

The forecasts say we’ll have one more day of this bitter cold, though it will be a bit warmer tomorrow. Today’s high is predicted to be -25C/-13F, with a wind chill of -31C/-23.8F. Tomorrow’s high is supposed to be -21C/-5.8F with a wind chill of -28C/-18F. After that, we’re supposed to keep warming up for the next week. Check this out!

It’s like temperature whiplash!

Time to think of warmer things. Like gardening. I think I’ve figured out a way to raise our seed trays up closer to the light in the fish tank greenhouse. If it works, I might not need to line the sides with foil.

But first, another cup of hot tea!

The Re-Farmer

Chokecherries, ready to freeze

The chokecherries I picked this morning are all done for now.

Nice to see my colander so full of berries! All clean and ready to pick over.

I got all the stems (of course, I found one I missed after I took this photo!) and the ones that were damages or whatever. I filled two 9×13 jelly roll pans with berries when I was done.

They are now in the deep freeze, to be transferred to freezer bags when they are frozen solid. After that, they can wait until we decide how we want to use them this year. 🙂 The freezing will help them release their juices later, too.

So… what shall we make? More chokecherry vinegar? Or try a jam or jelly this year?

The Re-Farmer