Songs to plant beans by

If any Baboons chance to drive past my house today, they might see a strange sight. They might see me and hear me singing in the garden.

Last winter we got some Arikara bean seeds from a friend of ours from the Reservation. They are a bush bean that produces brown shellout beans. Our friend got them from a tribal elder some time ago. He is a pretty marginal gardener and he gave us the beans to grow in our garden. He is very excited for us to grow them, but he said there were a few things I had to do in order to plant them successfully.

First, I have to wear an apron and a scarf while I plant them. He told me his grandmother wore that when she planted and she was a good gardener. Second, I have to sing to the beans when I plant them. He wasn’t sure of the tune, since his grandmother whistled a barely discernible tune through her teeth while she planted. Oh, and I should make up some words to go with the song. He said not to worry if our Hidatsa pole beans felt jealous. They would be just fine.

My friend’s bean planting instructions are just like the directions he gives to find places on the Reservation-without GPS or a map you would never find your way.

I asked another Native friend what she would sing to the beans, and she said it was important that I compliment them. She is from the Cheyenne River Reservation and is Lakota. (In the same conversation I asked her the address of her new house. She said she wasn’t sure, but I could find it if I went down that one alley, the one with the 15 cats, and then turned left.) I mentioned her lyric suggestion to my bean bestowing friend, and he totally disagreed (Arikara and Lakota rarely agree), saying I had to plead with the beans when I planted them, telling them how much our survival depends on them.

I chose the tune to the Glow-Worm song, and came up with these lyrics:

Grow pretty beans, please heed us, heed us.

We need you so to feed us, feed us.

You’ll make us strong, please don’t take long, so grow pretty  beans, please grow

Part of me thinks that my Native friends are pulling my leg, but hey, if it helps the garden, why not?

Make up some bean growing lyrics. Choose whatever tune you wish. How are you at giving directions?

23 thoughts on “Songs to plant beans by”

  1. To the tune of “I Gotta Crow” from Peter Pan:

    You gotta grow
    You’re just the cleverest beans that it’s been my fortune to know
    We need you to grow up and show us
    What marvelous beans you can be
    So please hear my plea
    and grow….

    It’s partly pleading, partly complimentary

    Liked by 6 people

      1. A little derivative but acceptable, I think, for 6 AM.

        Here’s another verse plus a shamelessly derivative interlude:

        You gotta grow-
        Your destiny is to nurture more legumes like you, don’t you see
        Don’t lay around in the ground when the sun has its goods to bestow
        You gotta let go
        And grow…

        If you were a very ordinary everyday bean
        I wouldn’t be heard
        In an apron and scarf
        Like a nerd…

        Liked by 6 people

  2. My bean bestowing friend just told me he is going to post some Hidatsa garden songs on Facebook. I can play them after I sing my song!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Morning – I’m not going to invent any songs, but I think it’s so cool to hear the stories behind your beans. And any relationship that is so intertwined as to include singing to the seeds is pretty cool.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I have ordered and made soup with two different types of tepary beans from Ramona Farms. Delicious! The most drought tolerant bean in the world. Also very healthy. On a Road Scholar trip to SW we heard about a study where diabetes control improved with emphasis on the 3 sisters diet (corn, squash, and in this study-tepary beans).

      Like

  4. to the tune of Moon River

    Bean River, wider than a mile
    Give me a little smile
    Grow a little while for me…,,

    I am sitting here with my mother waiting for the greenlight to move her to the skilled nursing facility. She is sleeping; I am writing songs to beans

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Oh say you poor seeds
    Your chances are slim

    The odds go way down
    When your plated by tim

    The fact that he isn’t round much to water and feed you
    Leaves you and pretty much on your own
    Good luck and gods speed , you .

    Liked by 5 people

  6. Tiny sprout, have no fear.
    The frost is gone, the sun is out, and there’s compost here.
    Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
    Beautiful bean.

    Before you germinate
    I’ll remove the weeds.
    You’ll have all the nutrients
    every growing bean needs.
    Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
    Beautiful bean.

    No blight or bean rust will ever afflict you.
    I can hardly wait to see you on my plate,
    But I guess we’ll both have to just be patient.
    ‘Cause there’s a whole row to sow, and more weeds to hoe.
    Yes, a long way to go, but in the meantime…

    Feel the rain on your leaves, and drink it in.
    Till you’re taller and greener and bushier than a bean plant’s ever been.
    Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
    Beautiful bean.
    Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
    Beautiful bean.

    Liked by 2 people

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