Monday, August 2, 2010

Farm Report: Calypso Beans and Rain

In March, when Farmer Ron and I were drooling over seed catalogs, I saw Calypso Beans.  The photo of these black and white beauties was just...beautiful.  We'd never grown dried beans on the Farm before, but Farmer Ron, good man that he is, is usually willing to give most of my whims a go.  So, onto the seed order went a packet of Calypso Beans.

The seeds were some of the first into the ground in May and they took off fast.  Unfortunately, they were in one of the low lying spots of the garden and the Floods of 2010 hit them hard.  So the result isn't what we thought we'd get at the start when they seemed to be thriving.  Isn't a lot of life just like that?  Things start one way and finish another...

I digress.

Over the weekend, Farmer Ron (my hero) spent several hours in his Little Plots, pulling out all the flood causalities and getting the dirt ready to plant a few more seeds.  (We're hoping to make up for some of the drowned veggies while its still warm.)  One of the things he pulled were the Calypso Bean plants.  Tonight we (actually my son Jake) shelled the beans and what you see above is the result. 

Aren't they pretty?  All shiny and black and white.  I love the little white "eye" on each them.  Actually while going through botany with my younger kids this past year, I learned this eye is really called the hilium and it's where the seed connects to the seed pod.  You didn't know your seeds had belly buttons, did you?  I was excited the beans dried the way they were supposed to and didn't rot or anything!

After admiring the photo, you'll probably notice there aren't very many of those cute beans.  You're right.  We only got about 1/4 to 1/2 of a cup of them.  This is more beans than what we put into the ground; we did end up in the positive, but not by much.   What we got isn't nearly enough to make into a meal .  However, we'll make the best of it and put these new seeds into the ground and see what we get.  So, the cycle goes.

Sunday night on the weather report, I heard June and July had been the wettest back to back months we've had here since they started recording in the late 1800's.  Between June 1st and July 31st, we received over 16 inches of rain!  Our normal is only about 6 inches during this time of year.  All of this means our yards are still a gorgeous green color and my sons, who have jobs mowing other people yards, are making more money this year.  But it also means our whole garden, which is planted in a low, probably used to be swamp, area has not fared so well.  It isn't just Calypso Beans which have suffered.

Truth be told, I was counting on our plots to help feed my family in the coming months.  We'll get some good food from them, yes, but it won't be in the amounts for which I was hoping.  Disappointing, a bit disheartening, not the end of the world though.  Sam's Club is just down the road.

All of this sends my thoughts to farmers - both now and 100 years ago. For farmers in our area, these current rains have been a huge blow as large portions of their crops have failed to thrive.  Disappointing, VERY disheartening, hopefully not the end of the world for them.  For farm family 100 years, rains such as these and the same harvests they produced would have been devastating.  How and what would I have fed my family if my whole packet of seeds only gave me back a cup beans?  Sam's Club was not just down the road.

Here on the Little Farm we like to think of ourselves as farmers, but we're not.  We're just dabblers in the dirt in many ways.  Thank God for real farmers both past and present who in hope sow seeds each spring, in faith watch plants grow each summer and in love reap the consequences each fall.  Farmers are good people.

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