Saturday, October 27, 2012

Full of Beans

From left: True Red Cranberry Bean, Mother Stoddard Beans, Hidatsa Shield Beans, Mayflower Beans and Black Beans.  Locally grown red cord is in the jar in the back. 
If I had to live off my garden, I would likely starve. Shown in the photo above is the entire yield of shelling beans. My guess is I have four or five cups of beans total.  Most of these are heritage varieties, with the exception of black beans which I love.  My favorite bean is the Hidatsa Shield Bean because it is beautiful to look at--it has a delicate geometric patterning that is distinctive. It looks like a designer bean--or a modern art bean.  The Mayflower and Mother Stoddard beans were good producers and the Maine Cranberry beans are big. This winter, I plan to cook these each separately to see what they are like.
Tomato and mushroom marinara made from primarily farmers market ingredients.
Over the summer I cooked up dozens of containers of Tomato Mushroom Marinara, all of which I froze. Yep, I freeze stuff.  I'm not good at all the steam and stove top business unless I'm cooking marinara sauce to the strains of Pavarotti singing O Solo Mio and sipping a glass of good red wine.  I believe tomato sauce needs to be produced in the correct atmosphere to reach its full potential.

Yes! I'm using the cottolin towels I wove.
Time to get the Pavarotti DVD's going again, because enough tomatoes have ripened in my dining room to make another small pot of sauce--probably enough for an evening or two of meals.

In summer, I had to rely heavily on Farmers Market for these forays into sauce making because I just don't have enough tomatoes ripening at one time to support the kind of production I needed to fill the freezer.  We also saved broccoli and beans so we can have a locavore winter. You can see to the left some other plastic containers filled with farmer's market broccoli.  I am experimenting with doing my freezing in reusable containers as I dislike throwing away heavy duty freezer plastic baggies.

Purple dyed alpaca being spun.
Naturally, I'm busy with all my fiber crafts too!  It seems like I've been spinning this locally grown alpaca I dyed purple for a very long time.  I'm making a two ply for weaving so the yarn is fairly thin and yes it is taking a VERY long time.  Or so it seems, but I'm beginning to see the end of the bags of home carded batts.  In the meantime I'm blending locally grown merino and alpaca for another project. Craftsteading never ends. It is a long string of projects that feed into the next in a long slow cycle of living.


  1. It looks like we've been doing a lot of the same things. I picked 10 gallons of green tomatoes before the frost hit, plus had a basket of ripe ones that I need to do something with. Another batch of sauce to freeze is in my near future.

    I'm also spinning some local Alpaca. It is the natural colors - black and grey. Lovely to spin. I'm going to make a 3-ply and hopefully have enough to make my son a sweater.

  2. Hi Tami! I put my green tomatoes in baskets and plates on the dining room table--I made sure there were some partially ripe ones in each bunch and have had great luck with the tomatoes turning completely red and ready for the sauce pot. I think there's some scientific reason for mixing partially riped ones with green--but can't remember what it is. But it does work. There are recipes for green tomatoes, but these don't appeal to me.