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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Tiny Treasures

Recently I’ve spent a lot of sweaty hours switching the contents of two rooms. But today was a day off, although not by choice. It seems my back is not pleased that I’ve lifted, pushed, reached and pulled a lot in the last two weeks. My back tried to go on strike today and I had no choice but to listen. I guess my back didn’t like that I’m trying to get this project finished ASAP so that it doesn’t look like we’re living inside a storage unit, with everything piled on top of everything else. So I listened to my back’s protests and I lay on a bag of ice and felt better. Right now I feel great, but my back and I have played this cat-and-mouse game before, and I know it’s just bluffing. The old me might declare my back healed and would begin schlepping furniture around again. But the new, wiser me is trying to be a little more cautious and I’m going to take the rest of the day off from my FRP (Furniture Relocation Program). (By the way, the new wiser Sarah may be here only temporarily. It’s hard for me to slow down when I know this project needs finishing. But for today, I’ll rest. Maybe tomorrow I’ll do 150% to make up for today’s rest. Of course, attempting to do 150% in a day may be part of why I keep overtiring my back. Can I help it if I’m ambitious?!)

Today while I wasn’t moving furniture and challenging carpet to a duel, I was shelling beans. Remember the scarlet runner beans I wrote about this summer?

I was giddy because of the orangey-red flowers, but the vine also produced beans. I let the beans grow bigger and bigger. After all, one rule of growing produce is that you don’t pick too early. You don’t pick tomatoes prematurely, and the same goes for apples, oranges, watermelon and many other foods. I figured beans were the same. Plus, the beans I planted (which grew into my scarlet runner vine) were big. I concluded that they needed to grow big before being picked. I tried some of the big beans and noticed that the pods were quite tough, but I thought this might just be a hallmark of this variety. Finally, a gardening friend saved me and told me that smaller beans would be tender. Oh.

I decided the foot-long beans would become my planting beans for next year. So this morning I shelled beans. What’s fun about the scarlet runner beans is that the beans themselves are almost as colorful as their bright flower. The beans are tiny treasures, patterned with swirls and rivulets of purple and pink. They look like they were painted with the smallest paintbrush ever, creating lines as fine as hairs. Each is a miniature work of art. Some are an inch long and mostly purple, while others are smaller and bright pink. They remind me of brightly-dyed Easter eggs or pearls. Maybe I should make necklaces from them.

Aren’t they amazing? And you thought the life of a bean would be too dull for words. Aren’t you sorry you jumped to conclusions prematurely? The life of a bean is quite a carnival, it turns out.

Let’s meet back here tomorrow. Hopefully my back will be in an agreeable mood tomorrow, allowing me to wrestle carpet and make a dent in this project. If so, I’ll share details about the secret, mysterious life of carpet.

Now that I’ve dropped that hint, I don’t know how you’ll be able to sleep tonight. The anticipation! The adrenaline racing through your veins! So sorry I’ve robbed you of a night of rest…

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