The beans were a long time in coming, but when they did decide to grace my giant bean tower with their presence, I almost missed them. The bean tower, true to its hasty construction and weighty with its scrambling green mass, fell over in the strong winds one night. I put it back up. A few days later it fell the other way, coming to a lean on the tomato/cucumber bamboo tee-pees. And that is where it will stay. The cucumbers have puttered out now anyway.

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The bean tower.

I did a double-take when I first spotted a bean. They are thin, and very long, and it can be hard to spot them among the mass of stems and leaves. The variety is called Yard Long Runner. I haven’t struck a yard-long bean yet, but I’ve had some pretty long ones! I think the presence of the stink bug colony that has taken up residence in my vege garden might prevent them from reaching the magical yard mark, as I have to pick the beans before the bugs suck too much life out of them. I keep feeding stink bugs to the feather children, but the stink bugs keep re-populating. Stinky stink bugs.

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The beans are a growin’. And some of them are pretty stealthy.

Frodo, however, will not eat the stink bugs. At first I thought she was just letting boss Sam eat them but when I threw a caterpillar at their feet Frodo was like, “Mine!” and scoffed it before Sam could. Obviously, Frodo has a refined palate. If I were a chicken I wouldn’t eat stink bugs either. I haven’t tried them out on the little chickens yet, because that requires hopping over the fence and walking. It might help if I took a container out there; a stink bug containment device, so I can catch a whole bunch at once and transport them to the chickens, instead of catching one or two in my hands at a time and throwing them over the fence. Yes, I need to up my game. Find me a containment device!

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Frodo – “What is that?! Ew!” Meanwhile, Sam is stuffing her face.
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Some of the beans are a little nuts.

In the past I haven’t been a big bean fan. I never liked steamed or boiled beans. The first green beans I actually liked were Chinese-style fried beans with bits of pork mince, garlic and various sauces, made with round beans or string beans. We have since made string beans in this style at home (RasaMalaysia has some excellent recipes) and have started using our homegrown green beans in stir-fries with other veges. I have also been (every time I try to type ‘been’ I type ‘bean’; I’m going beanie…) using our green beans to make baby food for The Little Fulla. And he likes them. Woohoo! Well, he likes everything so far so that’s not saying much. I think we’ll keep him. He is a food machine: the food just keeps going in, though you wouldn’t know to look at him. He is his mother’s child.

Next season I would actually like to expand my bean varieties to include kidney beans and some others that I can use the bean ‘seeds’ of for mince dishes, cous cous salads and so forth. Crikey, I might be a bean convert yet…

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The bean flowers are quite pretty, especially the peach-coloured buds.
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