Fruits of My Labors

An evening spent picking beans in the garden with the redhead.  Love that kid!
I love my garden.  Next to my husband, my children, my dogs, my home, my family, my friends and neighbors, my garden is truly loved.  I pray for things in my garden, and yes, the prayers work.  I'm afraid this year though in all the hub-a-balloo of birthing babies, and nursing babies, and loving new babies, some things in my garden just didn't get the right start.  Cantaloupe won't be a staple from the garden this year, and I noticed that the new lawnmower in the family dismembered my cucumber plants.  And the tomatoes........well let's just say I may never get a ripe one this year, but at least I have plenty bottled from last year.  But the garden is beautiful still.  I have to admit that a lot of the reason I plant a garden is asthetics.  It's all about how it looks as I sit in my bathroom and admire it out the window.  The rows have to have texture, and be placed in certain order.  I love the tall lines of onions, the frilly wisps of fennel, and the beautiful color of giant Zinnias right down the middle of the garden.  Sometimes I don't even harvest something because I don't want to ruin how the garden looks.  I walk around the garden every day and admire the fruits of my labor.

As a kid I remember going to Bear Lake every year with my family and staying in Fish Haven.  I think it's the cutest little town, and there must have been a million little old grandma's who lived there who loved their gardens.  I loved driving through town and admiring each perfectly manicured garden.  Tall rows of corn, sprawling squash, and tons of raspberry bushes.  It all seemed so idealic to me, and it inspired me to do the same.

Every year I plant a huge row of pole beans right down the middle of the garden.  Why pole beans instead of bush?  Bush beans produce all in one big bang, but they're harder to pick, and they don't look as cute as the wall of bean vines that wind themselves up a fence.  A bean fence is just absolutely perfect down the center of my garden.  I LOVE the look, but the consequences are a load of beans.  So far I've picked quite a few 5 gallon buckets of beans.  Many get cooked with new potatoes, and bacon, but the majority have turned into Dilly Beans this year.  A lovely neighbor gave me the recipe a few years back and the fam and I decided this years harvest would be devoted to Dilly Beans.  Dilly Beans are better than pickles, and finger licking good.  They are easy to make, and don't take a lot of time, or even a pressure canner.  They're simple and delicious, and we love eating them by the bottle full.  The recipe is from the "Good Book" of canning.  The Ball Blue Book.  So it's safe and approved by the canning god's, and my neighbor Beanie.  (She's the canning god around Paradise.)  So when life hands you beans here's something a little different to make, but I promise you will be pleased with the outcome.  Especially come Christmas when you add these beans to a lovely relish tray, but let's not talk about Christmas............yet.

Dilly Beans
recipe courtesy of the Ball Blue Book of Canning

2 pounds fresh green beans, rinsed and trimmed
4 cloves garlic, peeled
8 sprigs fresh dill weed or 1 t. dill seed and 1 t. dill weed in each bottle
1/4 c. salt
2 1/2 cups white vinegar
2 1/2 cups water

Cut green beans to fit inside pint canning jars.
Pack the beans into four hot, sterilized pint jars. Place 1 clove garlic and 2 sprigs dill weed in each jar, against the glass.
In a large saucepan over high heat, bring vinegar,  water, and salt to a boil. Pour over beans.
Fit the jars with lids and rings and process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.

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