Category Archives: Weather

A Hill of Beans

Husband and I returned home from Minneapolis last Sunday to find that it was time to harvest our pole beans.  We had covered the four bean towers with a tarp before we left, and hoped we could forestall the effects of a killing freeze until we returned.  The very hot weather we had in July pushed the entire garden behind schedule, and the beans needed as much time as they could get to mature. We grew Good Mother Stallard and  Petaluma Gold beans.

We first encountered shell beans when we lived in southern Indiana.  Shell beans are like dried beans  (think cannellini and pinto beans) before you dry them.  They are fat and sweet and buttery. The pods are long and bulging. Our favorite is Vermont Speckled Cranberry Beans, but there seemed to be a shortage of seed last Spring, so we grew the two other varieties.  Good Mother Stallard is the quintessential New England  heirloom bean.  Petaluma Gold was a good variety that we grew several  years ago.  People sometimes let them dry on the vine and store them in bags, but  we like to harvest them before they dry and store them in the freezer. They are terrific in soups and stews.  They are also so pretty before you cook them. The header photo is some of the Good Mother Stallard we harvested.

It got so cold here while we were gone that the bean vines died despite the huge tarp we covered them with. The pods did not freeze, however, so we spent Monday night shelling the beans and blanching and freezing them.  My thumbs hurt from shelling them.

I realize that our obsession with pole beans is sort of odd, but they are such good beans. Husband gets gout from beans, but he insists we have them in the garden every year.

What are you obsessed with? Who have you known who had obsessions?


My New Love

Today’s post comes to us from Jacque.

I am smitten. I met my new true love in July at a near by nursery.  Her name is Rosy Jane Indian Feather.

Every few years I find a new plant that entrances and seduces me. I plant it, baby it, admire it, and then buy more of them for years to come.  This year it was Rosy Jane.   It is not just an infatuation.  It is a romance, but so much more. I think it will become a commitment.

Past loves have been Indigo salvia, an annual; another annual–licorice plant, both sage color and mint green; the wave petunia. Several years ago it was the small petunias that I cannot remember the name of.  They all still show up in my pots.

And now I have added Rosy Jane. Tiny pink flowers appear at the end of a long stem that shoots out from a relatively small plant at the base.  The flowers look like they are just floating from the pot.  It is categorized as a perennial, zone 5.  I am going to attempt to winter mine over, even though we are zone 4 because winters are warmer now.  I think if I plant it close to the house it might make it.  And if it does we will live happily ever after in a state of romance, me with stars in my eyes.

What romances you?

Too Darn Hot

I am not a hot-weather fan. Most of you have probably heard me say that after growing up in the heat and humidity of St. Louis, I  announced that I would only go to college in either Wisconsin or Minnesota.  I headed north and never looked back.

You’d think that for such a weather wimp that I would have invested in central air at some point.  Nope.  Or that at the first sign of summer I would install my bedroom window unit to get some cooler air.  Nope.  Normally it takes three or four days of over 90 degrees in a row to get me to deal with the air conditioner and this summer all our 90+ days were spread out.

So it seems particularly unfair to me to have such a hot weekend towards the end of September. Right now it’s getting dark and I’m sitting in my bedroom with three fans going: ceiling fan, oscillating fan on the floor and a box fan pointed right at me.  I will admit that if my window unit were installed, I would have turned it on tonight, but I can’t bring myself to get it out of the closet and install it for one night.

I do realize that there are quite a few spots in the world whose weather has been undeniably worse than ours the last month but thinking of it hasn’t made my mood any better or my room any cooler. Guess I’ll just sit here and pout some more.

What about you? Hot or cold?

Sweet Corn or Bust!

Today’s post comes to us from Ben.

My sweet corn finally got ripe. It’s not good. But Dammit, I’m going to eat it!

I get sweet corn from the seed corn dealer. Two small bags slightly bigger than what you’d pick up from Fleet Farm in the spring.

I use the first bag as I test the planter as I start corn in the spring.

I divide the seed into 3 rows of the planter and then plant the sweet corn testing depth and the monitor and just making sure the planter is working properly.

This year, the first 50’ I had the depth wrong so the corn never emerged. And the last 75’ was next to the pasture and woods and the deer ate all that before it even got tassels. But I kinda expected that.

Then I plant all the rest of my regular corn. And then, before switching the planter to soybeans, I plant the second batch of sweet corn. Some years that might only be 3 – 7 days. This year it was about 2 weeks between batches.

I plant the second batch in a different field, close to the house and on the other side of the field from the trees and deer.

This year with the weather being so cool, it took a long time for that second field to get ripe. The bottom of the ear was tough and the top and middle were just OK. I don’t know if was the variety of the sweet corn or just the way it ripened. And there was a lot. 12 rows 100’ long. I knew it was too much but I take a lot to the my siblings and I freeze some and I invite others. This year, I bought corn earlier to freeze as I didn’t know if mine would ever get ripe

But darn it; I look forward to sweet corn all summer and I’ll be darned if I’m going to not eat it just because it doesn’t taste good!


But I think I’ve had enough corn this year…

What do you do even though it’s a dumb idea?

Waiting For The Smoke To Clear

The header photo was taken September 12, mid afternoon,  in New Town, ND. The site is the Four Bears bridge over the Missouri River, and the haze is smoke from Montana and Canadian forest fires.  It has been a long, smokey summer.  I believe that the smoke made it all the way to the Twin Cities, too. Tonight the visibility here is predicted to be about 2 miles, which is quite reduced from normal. I can’t imagine how awful it must be for people living in western Montana. All we can do is wait,  and hope for precipitation.

A friend of mine from the Flathead Reservation in Montana says that the only thing that will put out the fires is snow. I am happy to report that snow is predicted in the higher elevations out there tonight. It rained here today and it didn’t dissipate the smoke at all. All we can do is wait it out.

This has been a summer of waiting on the weather-waiting for rain that never came, waiting for it to cool down (it was 98° here yesterday) and now waiting for the smoke to go away.  It is a lesson in human insignificance and the power of nature.

What are you waiting for?

Verily’s Geek Adventure

There hasn’t been a total solar eclipse anywhere near my location since before my birth and the geek inside me was thrilled to realize that I would be driving distance from the epicenter of the eclipse path this week. I started making my plans about 3 months back when I was arranging my summer schedule.  Although folks knew I was going, I resisted any “hints” that maybe I needed a travel companion.  I also resisted a concerned neighbor who thought I would be safer if his adult son (who was also traveling to see the eclipse) went along with me.

I headed out on Sunday morning with directions, a cooler full of food and drink, several books, two GPS systems and two eclipse apps on my phone. I35W was its normally fun summer mess of road work with no work happening, but I eventually made it to Osceola where I roomed for the night.  Relaxation, reading and an early bedtime were the only things on my agenda.

My alarm went off at 4 a.m. – not knowing what traffic into St. Joseph would be like, I didn’t want to take any chances. Was on the road by 4:15 and made it to the East Hills Mall at about 6:30 a.m.  I chose that location as it was right in the middle of the epicenter as well as being on the edge of the city (hoped that would help with traffic after the eclipse).  There were people already parked in the lot, but not too many.  As the morning wore on, more and more people showed up and vendors got their tents all set up.  There was music inside the mall and most of the stores were having eclipse discounts. Parked near me there was a family from Sioux Falls who had painted their van, a guy from Jordan with a SERIOUS camera, a young couple from Texas who played cards while waiting, a woman who had flown in from California the day before and an older gentleman from Iowa wearing his safari hat.

It rained twice before the first stage of the eclipse happened and both times everybody scrambled to get their camp chairs and equipment back into their cars. In between the showers the sun came out, making the humidity jump.  When C1 began (when the moon begins its trip in front of the sun), the clouds were still breaking up a bit so we could see the progress.  It looked like a big cookie with a bite taken out of it.  Due to the clouds (and me just using the camera on my phone), I never got a good photo.

Then about 25 minutes before totality, the clouds closed up and it started to rain again. Just like folks who can’t wait until the end of the 9th inning, folks started to pack up their stuff and head out.  By the time of totality, it had stopped raining, but was still cloudy, so while we didn’t see the total eclipse, it did get very dark and cool.  Then, like a little miracle, about 2 minutes after totality, the clouds broke up for a minute and those of use remaining got to see the sun covered 90% – just a little bitty sliver of light.

I had said several times that I would be skedaddling back home after the eclipse but the non-construction zones on 35W with the extra traffic made the 6 hour drive into a brutal 10½ hour drive. I tried to get either of my GPS systems to re-route me, but nothing worked out.

Even though the driving wasn’t great and the weather wasn’t great – I had a great time! I’m glad I got to see what I got to see and if I’m still around in 2024, I’ll try to get to Indiana or the boot heel of Missouri.

What makes it an adventure for you?

Inside / Outside

I love walking through a door into the outside. I noticed this about myself several years ago – a whiff of fresh air, a little breeze and I take a big breath and feel a sense of joy. Sometimes I even open my arms and take an even bigger breath.

Is it claustrophobia? I don’t consider myself to be severely claustrophobic – no problems navigating life, although I’m not sure how long I would last in a full elevator stuck between floors. The idea of crawling into a tunnel (like Phillippe in Ladyhawk) gives me the creeps and I’ve abandoned a book once because all the action takes place in a deep cave (Blind Descent by Nevada Barr). No problems with planes, no problems in crowds.  I have done caves of my own free will, although I’m really not happy while I’m underground.

But I don’t think its claustrophobia; I just think I like going outside. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

What about you? Inside or outside?