Super Boy and the Bean Teepee
Sometime in winter, long before the promise of warmer weather, I built a bamboo teepee for my summer climbing beans to grow on. Right at the back and smack bang in the middle of the walk in veggie patch, I patiently waited for springtime to start my beans climbing. I didn't actually choose this spot because it was centered, although that was a total bonus, I chose it because there happened to be a large tree stump that I wanted to cover up and somehow incorporate into my garden. And what better way than a bean teepee?!
As you walk through the arch way entrance of the veggie patch, the bean teepee is the first thing you see, full and overflowing with both green and purple beans. Sometimes, when the afternoon summer glow shines over the patch in that radiant afternoon light, the teepee looks almost too pretty for words. It has become one of my most favourite features in the garden this summer.
At one point I wasn't sure if we'd be harvesting any summer beans at all as snail attacks ramped up this season. It were as if these snails were on steroids; giant damn things that ate through thirty-seven bean seedlings! I actually fought through my phobia of being out in the garden at nightfall (yes I am actually petrified of being in the garden in the dark!) to catch them in their slimy tracks. In the end I managed to save eleven bean plants; nine Blue Lake (which are in fact green) and two Purple King. Thankfully this turned out to be enough to provide dinner and freshly picked garden snacks for our family of five.
This morning my son was standing at the teepee eating beans straight from the plants in nothing but his pj shorts and a bright yellow superhero cape. This made my heart sing for two reasons. Firstly, I have not seen him in a superhero costume for quite a while and secondly, beans are one of the few things that he will eat from the garden without a battle. Unlike his sister, Little Miss four year old, my son is not a foodie.
There are his guaranteed favorites... strawberries, blueberries and cucumbers mostly, however the multitude of other garden produce seem to be ornamental in his humble opinion. Things such as capsicums, eggplants, zucchini and the rest of our summer favourites just don't tickle his fancy, no matter how much I hype them up.
Dinner is always an interesting time as we normally tend to just jumble up our garden produce in one super healthy dish served with either rice or meat. Some things tend to feature more often than others and lately he has been peering down at his plate and then looking back up at me with that... 'ohhhhhhh zucchini in my dinner again' look. In return, I have been giving him that 'when we're harvesting nine million zucchini a week you need to use them up in every dish' look back.
He will then ponder his meal for some time, with all the varying colours and textures of our garden produce within it, and finally reply with something to the effect of "I don't like this mum but I will eat it anyway" to which I will normally reply, "I'm glad because you have to eat it regardless". I always top up whatever his dinner is with a decent serve of beans as my 'certain-he-will-eat-it' healthy option.
This kid doesn't know how lucky he has it! Fresh garden goodies for dinner flavoured with an assortment of our fresh garden herbs... his sisters have practically finished their bowls before he finally commits to eating! It seems that Master Six year old has a strange relationship with our garden. He will often marvel in awe at how tall or big or colourful something is getting, and then the moment it is harvested and put on his plate it will suddenly become a strange invader of his eating domain.
Although, I do not despair, for his lack of interest in the yummy goodness of our veggie patch produce is made up with his love for the fruit trees. Only catch is that we don't have many fruiting ones just yet. Out of twenty one fruit trees, only five are producing. So it seems that I will need to be patient. Not too much longer now and he'll be climbing up and sitting in the trees eating the fruit straight from the tree just the way I used to when I was little.