Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Beans of destiny

Okay, I don't know what that subject header means but I like the sound of it. Anyhoo, here are the beans that were grown on our farm this year...


On the right, soybeans destined for a life as tofu in Japan. On the left, otebo beans destined to became Branston Baked Beans in Britain. (Love that alliteration!)


Otebos look like something between a cannellini bean and a white kidney bean.


Soybeans look like... dried peas for pea soup!

We have plans to take most of our farmland out of production. We currently have 50 of our 86 acres rented out to another farmer. Our woodlot adds another 13 acres, and the remainder of our land isn't farmed. There are various programs that help fund alternate uses for farmland, like ALUS and Ducks Unlimited. We have visions of adding ponds, and a pollinator sanctuary. Plus ALUS has a grasslands restoration project we may be able to participate in. Somehow I don't think the world will suffer much from the loss of our 50 acres of soy and otebo beans! One farmer we know said we had to keep the land in production for our children. (Er, we don't have any kids! And I'm pretty sure the cats and dogs don't give a hoot.)

We've been talking to Ducks Unlimited about putting in a pairing pond (about 1/2 acre in size) and later a larger pond (about 9 acres) where the ducks would raise their offspring. There won't be any duck hunting on our land, though. "Phew!" say our Muscovys.

All of this will probably take some time, but the process is fun. Next year our front fields will be sown with hay and kept that way indefinitely, while the back fields will undergo changes over time.

Occasionally one of the dogs will take a dump in the bean fields, and I can't help but laugh at the thought of Japanese tofu and British baked beans having a little bit of Sophie and Tristan's SPECIAL fertilizer!



31 comments:

  1. No wonder I don't like baked beans!
    Jane x

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    1. SPecial dog fertilizer! ;)

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  2. I would be a useless guest, but I'd love to spend spring, summer and fall wandering on your land with Sophie and Tristan. I can cook!

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    1. If you can cook, you cannot be a useless guest!!

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  3. I really like the frozen shelled soybeans they sell as edamame.

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  4. I really like baked beans. But I live in Britain. Thanks Natalie.

    Love the idea of your ponds! Although I'd call the 9 acre one a lake.

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  5. Ah Soybean plants dressed with the turds of love!

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    1. Sounds so appetizing, doesn't it?

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  6. I had a decorating client that turned their tree farm into a Ducks Unlimited sanctuary. They really enjoyed the process and the results were wonderful! ~ Maureen

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  7. My grandpa always planted soy beans to "enrich" the soil for his garden--rotating crops is a smart thing. I love them and we eat edamame all the time. My chili contains 4 different beans; so good for you with the protein. XOXO

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    1. Mmm, I love beans in chili! I love beans in anything. OUr crops haven't been rotated sufficiently ... six years of beans is NOT a good thing.

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  8. I love the farmer who couldn't recognize change. We had an older friend who inherited the farm and became persona non grata to the same farmers she always knew and grew up with. Wimmin can't run farms, it seems. She could go toe to toe with any one of them in the hardware store. So, she farmed for years. Then, she was growing old and had no inheritors. To the horror of her farming neighbors she turned the farm into a conservancy and returned the lands to woodlands and grasslands. We learned it now is the Norma Johnston Conservancy and the folks around are really grateful all those acres did not become condominiums, like the rest of the farms around her.

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    1. Joanne, that is such a great story. That's what we would like to see happen to our farm after we kick off. We have no kids, so we'd love to see up some kind of nature conservancy and leave it for others to enjoy.

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  9. This reminds me of that classic children's verse,
    "Beans, beans they're good for your heart,
    The more you eat the more you f***,
    The more you f*** the better you feel,
    So eat your beans at every meal."

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  10. I applaud your plans completely I hope you get there. Altogether too many people are ripping good native habitat apart all in the name of development and progress.

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    1. I think we'll get there, but it'll take time! It's a fun process.

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  11. Land conservancy is so important; my only worry is that with so many farmers going out of food production, all our essentials will soon be coming from China.

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    1. The thing here of course is that smaller farms are disappearing and mega-farms are becoming the norm!

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  12. That is a wonderful idea you had planned! I am so looking forward to see you progress.

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  13. Branston baked beans bring big bad belly bloating to Britain but Britons buy Branston baked beans by binloads because British bellies bloat beautifully Britons believe...

    Now that's more like an alliteration :)

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  14. I really hate whenever I'm reminded that produce grows in manure (aka poop). Then you have to go and tell me about your dogs doing dumps in the bean fields!

    I also hate when people tell me what I "have to" do (a la your farmer friend... even if you DID have children). As Fats Waller said, "Ain't Nobody's Business If I Do."

    Your plans sound fascinating. I look forward to following along.

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    1. Oooooooops!!! Sorry about that. If it makes you feel better, the coyotes, foxes, deer, Canada geese and various others poop there too! :)

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  15. Re alterative uses for the land, build a golf course and make some money out of it while growing trees and having ponds too. I will organise a party of Scots to come over for the opening.

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    1. My Scottish father-in-law was FOREVER trying to get us to turn our farm into a golf course!!

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  16. I love your ideas for your land, looking forward to seeing them put into action.

    After reading of your doggy fertilizer, I'm glad I eat Heinz baked beans!

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    1. Hahahaha! Probably for the best!

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Thank you for all your comments, which I love to read!