Dried Beans in a Jar

Perhaps this post would more aptly be named ‘My Dad is full of Beans.’ Keep reading to find out why!

Look at this gorgeous jar of beans my parents brought when they came to visit for Thanksgiving! Don’t you just love the colors?! There is a little bit of a story behind this jar of beans and it involves my Dad.

My Dad loves beans…baked beans, ham & bean soup, green beans, beans in chili,  yellow wax beans, any kind of beans…he loves them. My Mom likes beans too, but she can only eat them as green beans. She never did like the yellow wax type, don’t ask me why. Anyway, my Dad plants a gazillion beans every year. My Mom just shakes her head and smiles. You would think that my Dad was feeding an army with the size of his garden. It gives him great pleasure to show up on a friend’s doorstep with a bushel or two of produce. It was the same when I was a kid. I remember picking row after row of beans…until my back ached and I was sunburned. At least that’s how it seemed back then.

We went to visit my parents last May to celebrate their 50th anniversary. We had a grand party with way too much food and a bunch of friends and relatives I hadn’t seen since I was knee high to a grasshopper. It was great! But my Dad’s back was out of sorts the whole visit. Mom insisted that it was because he unloaded several trailers full of horse manure from the neighbor’s stable into the garden with a pitchfork. Dad pee-shawed that whole idea and said it never bothered him before. Well, when my Mom was in the other room, he admitted that he probably over did it, just a little bit.

After the party was over and the dust settled, I asked Dad if I could help him plant his garden. It was all plowed up and he had some peas and one row of beans planted, but that was about it. I bought Brussels sprouts, tomato, hot pepper, and sweet pepper plants and dragged them down to the garden. My cousin Jace showed up and helped plant. It was great to visit with him and talk gardening, bees, chickens, trapping…anything homestead-related, Jace is into it. We got the garden whipped into shape in no time and I thought we were done.

The view from my parents’ back porch.

But my Dad showed up with his seed planter and a grocery bag in his hand. He wanted more beans! Well, I’ll be darned if I was going to tell my Dad he was nuts. πŸ™‚ So I planted beans, beans, and more beans. There was a kaleidoscope of colors all mixed together. These were beans that Dad has grown in the past and then saved in the fall. Black Turtle beans, Dwarf Horticultural beans, something French that I can’t remember, Calypso beans, beans that he had forgotten the names of…in the back of my mind I could see my Mom shaking her head.

antique tools, seed planter

Well, the beans were planted. My back was starting to feel like taking a break well before my Dad finally stood up, surveyed the garden, and said “That looks like enough for now.” For now? I imagined him back out there the next day putting in another 3 or 4 rows, but I wasn’t going to argue with him. He didn’t plant any more beans before we left for home, but I’m pretty sure he did plant more about a week or so later.

Crock from my parents.

We had a wonderful visit, and you can read more about it here. My family made the 600-mile drive back to Illinois to our own garden and homestead. Everything was in fine shape thanks to our friends and neighbors who chicken-sat and watered the garden for me. Summer burned away with the worst drought I’ve seen since we moved here. I watered and harvested away the summer and fall. I butchered 15 turkeys and put them in the freezer…with some for friends and a nice fat one for a special Thanksgiving with my parents.


They made the trip from western New York in two days, with a stop at Lehman’s Country store and another at Smucker’s Jams. Whenever they come to visit there are lots of goodies to unpack from their van. This time they brought an old crock that I want to use for making pickles next summer, two gorgeous pink pumpkins, Brussels sprouts, birthday presents, Christmas presents, jam, jelly, hot pepper jelly, and lots of beans! My Mom said this gallon jar was one of about 7 or 8 that Dad had harvested, dried, winnowed, and stored for winter.

Sunflower and Scarlet Runner Beans in my Dad’s garden…the very next summer. πŸ™‚

When my parents left I planted a seed in my Dad’s head…Scarlet Runner beans! Much to my Mom’s chagrin, I sent Dad home with a small bag of seeds I had saved from my Scarlet Runner beans last summer. He was intrigued by the fact that the little red flowers attract hummingbirds and the plants vine up a support like other pole beans. I think he liked the idea of not having to bend over to pick them. The beans are larger than most dried beans and have a nice mottled red and black pattern. I felt a little like I was offering a glass of whiskey to an alcoholic…I’m such a bad influence. I guess you can see where I get my gardening genes from.

And now you know why I considered titling this post, ‘My Dad is Full of Beans.’

My dad

Do you grow your own beans for dying? What is your favorite way to eat them?



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