This morning, at 6:30, my eyes popped open to the sound of cows bellering out in the pasture. Oh oh, something was up. I called to Will and headed downstairs in my pajamas. Will beat me to the pasture on the four wheeler as I had to walk. Oh oh. There were a bunch of cows in the smaller oats field. That oats field was just heading out and the clover under-seeding is knee high. Some cows were munching happily — others were afraid to cross the down electric tape to join them, and they were not happy about that. The dew was heavy on the oats and we knew if they stayed in there, they’d not only ruin the crop but bloat and possibly die! So Will got a couple of bales of hay on the four wheeler while I set out across the field on foot to get around the furthest cows. He spread out the hay where they could see it and lowered the electric tape. I got after the cows and brought them along the North garden fence, up to the corner. By then, they’d seen the hay and decided it looked good and they all came out nicely.

Will fixed the fence and I turned the fencer back on. I’d just gotten back to the house and decided I’d better check again. Oh *@$#!!! They were back in there! We knew hay wouldn’t work again so I got a bucket of grain and we repeated the process. Only this time, Will led them way back into the winter corral and shut the gate. Evidently, the fence was working but the battery was low so they didn’t get enough of a poke. So I went to town and got a tester while Will changed the battery for a fresh one. But we still don’t trust the cows so they’re “grounded” today.

We love the look of the Scarlet Runner and Carminat pole beans together.

Yesterday I canned up another batch of Provider beans and we had our first mess of Crawford beans. Yep, they’re still our very favorite bean! David ate his with no butter or salt. He said he didn’t want to spoil the taste. Those beans are so meaty and sweet it’s unbelievable. We’re very happy we planted so many. All our crops are looking great. I’m especially proud of our beans this year. They are hugely productive. We love the side-by-side trellises of Scarlet Runner and Carminat snap beans. The Scarlet Runners are bright red and gorgeous blooms where the Carminats have dark leaves, purple stems, blooms, and beans. Together they are stunning!

Look how huge the Crawford beans are, and still are juicy and tender, through and through.
See what I mean? Just sweet, thick meat, not tough big seeds.

After work yesterday, David set out to work on his cabin. Then he got Will to help him put up the OSB on the west gable end. Wow, it’s getting there! Today he plans on starting to cut and put the eaves blocks into place. How exciting! But a different kind of exciting than the start of our day, for sure. — Jackie


  1. Those beans look terrific! That’s the kind of green bean I prefer, meaty and the actual beans inside are not tough nor large. Are either the Provider or the Crawford stringy? That’s much added labor to prepare, removing strings. Also, can I order Crawfords (and indeed Providers) from you? When should I? I am in the Sierra Mountains in California, at about 2600 ft elevation, meaning mostly hot summers and mild to moderate winters. No summer rain, always irrigating.

  2. We know all to well about cows getting out. Our eldest daughter did not talk much but boy imitating daddy by saying, “Those @&%! cows are out again” came out very well. We still tease her about it all these years later.

  3. Boy, you do make those Crawfords sound good! Isn’t it awful to hear an animal sound where it shouldn’t be? You don’t have time to dress, just jump in the boots and maybe a jacket and out you go. At least they cooperated, sort of. We had our first Seneca Sunrise last night and it was great. It took us 3 years to succeed due to very wet weather each spring. Thanks for the tip that it doesn’t hold well on the stalk. It would be a shame to lose any at this stage. And my second planting is tasseling. Hurray!
    Blessings to all of you.

  4. Great looking beans! This has been the year of the critters for me, coons for corn and rabbits for beans. I planted a second crop of green beans-2 thirty foot rows and placed chicken wire around the rows (I also have a woven outside perimeter fence) we should get beans. I have had pigs and one year I had 3 we called the three musketeers and they were out of confinement constantly. One was lost for the summer and presumed dead only for us to find him in the fall fattened on mast. I enjoyed your article in Self Sufficiency. I have learned what “hog tight” fencing is all about. On David you have my sympathy but I am knowledgeable that homesteading is hard enough that you need the team pulling equally in harness, it won’t work any other way. Here’s hoping for a late frost. Take care. Question for you do you combine your own oats?

    • Yes, we do. Our neighbor and Will went together and bought a decent, quite used combine. He wants to grow some wheat and we grow a few acres of oats for feed. Once we had three weaner pigs escape one spring and were never found. We lived where there were quite a few bears and figured they were long eaten. Then I was riding a horse in the woods of a neighbor and saw signs of rooting pigs! Yep, they were alive alright. It took some doing but we got them corralled at the neighbor’s farm and brought them home. When they were butchered a month later, they weighed more than our stay-at-home butcher hogs! They’d eaten wild stuff and plenty of acorns.
      Good luck with the beans!!

  5. Lovely beans! Definitely need to add Crawford to my list for next year!

    This year I planted bush beans (Blue Lake Snap). They did really well, but got away from me. Other than as seeds for next year, do you have any recommendations for what to do with overripe beans that have lost their “snap”?

    • What I’ve done is pick all the beans from the part of the rows you don’t plan on saving seeds from. If the plants haven’t died down, they usually put on another flush of blooms and beans. You can also shell the beans, if still tender, but large, and can them up to use as fresh shell beans in recipes such as soup and stews.

  6. Those beans are stunning! I didn’t get any beans or greens in this year due to several family medical emergencies. My pantry is still stocked, and I have a good job, so I will just look forward to planting more next year. Did get onions and summer squash (until the borers got them), and some pathetic tomatoes. They taste all the sweeter knowing they are a limited supply this year.

    • Yep, those emergencies do happen. And it’s not always a zombie attack or economic crash; more of a personal type emergency. So that’s why I try to plant “too much” and can up everything I can. Just in case….. Good growing next year!

  7. Don’t you have a cattle dog? If you did you could get it to keep your cattle out of anywhere. Aussie Shepherds and Border Collies are so bright if you show them what you want them to do they will often pick it up in one try.

    My Provider beans were the only beans I got a crop out of this year–and it was a small crop. I grow them every year but I’m going to have to try those Crawford beans.

    • Yes, we have a cattle dog, a Catahoula Leopard Dog, Hondo. But he was with Will at the house, two hundred feet from the Sand garden & cows. We got them out pretty soon after they got in, but it was a hairy situation for awhile, trying to drive 24 cattle out without doing more damage. Luckily, the gardens recovered nicely.

  8. Thank goodness the “good” cows ratted out the naughty ones! Your David is quite a focused man…wonderful.

    • Thank you so much. I had to chuckle about your comment about the “good” cows. Never thought about it that way….lol

  9. I have my order form ready to order a couple packs of the Provider beans, now I have to correct it so I can add the Crawfords!

    • Woops, don’t order the Crawfords yet. We sold out of them as last year was a “trial” year and we only had a handful to grow out. But this year, we grew five times more and will have an abundant crop, come fall, God willing and the crick don’t rise……

  10. I don’t care if cats or cows – they all have a naughty streak in them! We’ve always said if you can’t handle pets/animals, you probably shouldn’t have any kids!

    Might have to order some Crawford beans. You can’t beat the taste of fresh green beans. Will have to fence them in as the rabbits find young bean plants quite tasty. The year we had a mini-drought they got almost all my bean plants.

    If you have time, could you post a picture of your tomato cages? The San Marzanos need better cages than what I have so I am already planning for next year.

    • How true about pets and animals! They sure teach us humility, all right. I did an article on making tomato cages in a back issue of BHM (I think…possibly Self Reliance Magazine.) But I’ll put a photo in the next blog so you can see them.

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