Friday, 17 August 2012

Magic beans

A few days ago I was rummaging vainly amongst the bean rows and feeling quite ecstatic if I came away with half a dozen small runners languishing in the bottom of the basket. (My mind is boggling at the Lilliputian image conjured up in my head, but I have forsworn listening to the little voices.)

And now I find that the Head Chef has a multitude of green reasons for sitting at the kitchen table listening to the mellifluous voices on Radio 4 (midoff, dismissal, sunshine, leg bye, three slips waiting for an edge and one in the gully . . . or was it a bat on the off stump, and another by the pavilion ?). The maidens are sending me to sleep and I have quite lost my way . . .

I hope people like eating thistledown, remarks the Head Chef, and moves his hand into the picture, quite spoiling the effect.

Look closely and see those gossamer strands

With a field of thistles to the left of us, another in front of us, and a south-southwesterly breeze, our little patch of land is being drenched with gossamer fibres - the sky is full of thistledown. When I was young and innocent I thought that these were fairies floating on the summer air - now I know that the silken strands will metamorphose into spiky green witches next summer, wickedly invading every last corner of our cottage garden, and running riot in the field.

But for now the greenness of the beans is quite magical, and we can chop them and store them for the long winter ahead. If we eat thistledown, we can munch its witchy magic into nothing.

Peeping toms

And lo and behold! The blight hasn't ventured into the greenhouse, and the sunshine has - we have some tomatoes at last, all red and rotund and beaming from under the beans.


I seem to have lived this August afternoon with the sound of the cricket, and the chopping of the beans, and the filling of freezer bags so many times before, and remember beans from another garden, bagged by other hands, but the smell of the green growing things and the earth and the warm breeze on my face are forever the same.

And the imminent collapse of the English batting, or not - I seem to remember that this happens quite often too.


greenrabbitdesigns said...

I have had one tomoato so far, it did taste good, I had it for breakfast yesterday!!
Your beans look lovely gossamer included. :)
Have a lovely weekend,
Vivienne x

Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

How beautifully this post captures the very essence of an English summer. Cricket on the radio and green beans for dinner, such a perfect combination and so quintessentially English.

In Budapest we never see a runner bean, but we do have the most marvellous tomatoes!

Julie said...

Oooo yes, cricket is all too familiar here. And strangely, the radio commentary is growing on me. I suppose it is easier to grow fond of it rather than irritated.
I spent many an hour as a child preparing beans for blanching and freezing.
And our tomatoes are just tiny little green pimples at the moment. I'm hoping they'll grow enough to make chutney. I think holding out for anything other than green is unrealistic at this stage. Oh well. Juliex

Katy Cameron said...

Glad you finally got your beans, good luck fighting the impending thistles!

Lyn said...

sounds idylic to me cricket on the radio and chopping beans from the garden....stepped back in time!

Frances said...

Pomona, I love the way that you introduce gossamer thistle down into your summer harvest report.

(Over in Central Park's Strawberry Fields, the area dedicated to John Lennon, there are many plants, shrubs, trees donated by various countries. I recall seeing thistles there along a winding sloping walkway some years ago. but don't think the thistles are now still there. Now I wonder if the original plants were a gift from a particular country or were perhaps left off by a passing bird or breeze?

Anyway, let me say again how good it is to see these posts of yours. xo

Mrs. Micawber said...

I'm glad your tomatoes are producing. I think we've had about 4 of those little red jewels so far - quite, quite precious, and delicious with fresh basil.

I can see the small runners at the bottom of the basket - going round and round and vainly looking for the exit. :)

dragonfly said...

Spiky green witches! That sums thistles up perfectly. I'm forever pulling them up, they were even coming through on my lawn so had to be very careful where we were walking.

I'm looking forward to sharing my golden cherry toms tomorrow for Charlie's birthday bbq. It's almost a shame to pick them - they look so nice tumbling from the hanging basket along with yellow nasturtiums.

ted and bunny said...

"...I thought that these were fairies floating on the summer air..." you mean they're NOT???
Well thats another one down the pan then- tg for Father Christmas and the Tooth Fairy!

menopausalmusing said...

Fairies on the breeze in abundance here too. (Alongside the witchy behaviour of sprinkling wee round our borders and tying little bags of human hair to stakes - we have deer, dammit, and therefore no beans this year).

MILLY said...

Lovely post and even tastier with that special magical fairy ingredient. I love how the images and smells take us back with memories of people and places. Loved the sory of the pot of jam, it will probably be the best you have ever tasted, and you will wish you kept the recipe.

Karen L R said...

Similar things are happening in my kitchen here in the US, tho not cricket on the radio. It's baseball here.

I do love to find the summer's harvest tucked away in the pantry and the freezer once the snow begins to fly!

Happy harvesting, Pomona!

Crafty Green Poet said...

what a lovely harvest! Cricket has always been a mystery to me!

Barbara said...

The beans certainly look healthy even with the gossamer.

Nicky said...

If they were peeping Toms were you Lady Godiva??


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