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Taking back my Country by Canning Bush (bush beans that is)

The story begins when Doc came in to the kitchen and held out 7 long green beans. “I think we have beans that are ready to pick” he said to me with that look in his eyes. It was an overwhelmed look and I could tell by the twitching of his beard that he needed my help in the garden. I thought to myself, “Self, how hard can it be to help him pick a few beans from a few bushes…” And off I went, tromping out to the bean patch. It wasn’t until I cleared some of the weeds that the realization hit me: there are two 30ft rows of beans!

So, we began the picking. As the sun baked the top of my cowboy hat and seared my scalp, my thoughts turned to Cesar Chavez. Of course I contemplated capitalizing on my thoughts: make t-shirts, caps, hemp bracelets with the letters WWCCD (What Would Cesar Chavez Do?) and how I could market them in Santa Maria and Ventura County. After exhausting all of the merchandising opportunities that would never come to fruition for oh so many reasons, first one being that it was incredibly tacky; I realized I had over 40 pounds of beans. Thus began my quest to find some one quick to teach me how to can my bush beans (note: a little over 56 million Americans decided not to can bush...But I did:-) ).

So that night while meeting some new neighbors I was formally introduced to the top canner of the holler. I’m not quite sure how the following transpired but in the midst of canning discussions I had agreed to attend her church that Sunday. She then in return would come to my home after the sermon and lead me down the pious path of proper preserving. And proper preserving it was, almost 2 dozen quarts of green beans were created, thus a new canning convert was born. (Oh and by the way, our beans are free of pesticides and other “icides”)

An interesting side note about this canning cabal was I already had the proper utensils at hand. My mother in law who passed away many years ago gave me her canning pot as a “parting” gift when she was getting ready to crossover (sans John Edward). She said to me, “One day you’re going to need this, I know you will”. What’s the old adage: Mother’s intuition?

Copyright ©2004

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