Martha vs. Nature; Guess Who Wins???

After the Tea Party yesterday…

Yesterday, with four nights of hard freeze in the forecast and possibly a foot of snow, yes, so early in the year, I got out every conceivable thing I could use to cover my 12 foot Scarlet Emperor Beans. I rehearsed wrapping queen sized sheets around them then (it took 2) and then climbing on a ladder to drop another over the top. It was doable but not easy and took 30 minutes. That’s nuts. A person can cover tomatoes, but 12 foot beans??? Twice as tall as the person hoping to cover them??? Four nights? I piled all the possible covers up on the dryer by the back door, ready.

I cut back the beans to six feet and brought the biggest bean pods inside hoping they’d ripen in a window. There aren’t many blossoms any more. The beans are working toward seed making. They know what season it is.


Goethe wrote about how often he’d gone to bed with a problem he couldn’t work out and woke up with the answer. That’s happened to me a lot of times and it happened again.

It hit me that it’s human nature to fight against change, a perceived enemy, for those we love, for what we perceive as justice. A major freeze and snowstorm in early September?

“Dammit, Nature!!!!! IT’S JUST NOT RIGHT!!!! Those beans deserve another 3 weeks of life and a chance to mature a couple more pods! I’m going stand against the storm and protect my beans!! Bean lives matter, Mother Nature, you bully!!!!

“OK Sweet Cheeks. You have seven large, perfect and beautiful beans for next year. You know perfectly well that you don’t have space for more than five. I have to do what I have to do, and you know that.”

“Evanescent flowers I cannot bear to cut.”
Li Ho, “The Grave of Little Su”

We’ll see if Li Bai, Tu Fu, Li Ho and Bai Juyi, the Scarlet Emperor Beans make it through the storm. And, if they don’t? They all wrote beautifully about death, and here I am, a thousand years later, naming beans after them and quoting their poetry. Chances are very good I will name next years beans after them again. They’ve been good beans and good company in this strange summer.

The Scarlet emperor beans in June.

36 thoughts on “Martha vs. Nature; Guess Who Wins???

  1. And, in the morning they may have broken their hothouse glass ceiling and grown to the clouds. Take giant bait if you climb up there. 🙂

    Excellent article. Love the sentiment and work backing up protecting the garden of the beans. That, I full-on resonate with.

    • I planted them from seeds that came from beans I grew two years ago. They’ve just been beautiful all summer and, in an ineffable way, friends in this strange summer. But I think they might be braver than I. 🙂

      • WHat a waonderful way to describe beans. When I lived on 50 acres outside of Santa Fe at the confluence of a couple of several arroyos, wild beans would grow out from between the moist dirt between the rocks on the banks. People would say it’s just all green and brown out there. And then, I’d come home from a walk down the arroyos withe a thick handful of bean flowers (such cool little cups) and this and that and dry talls and put them all together in “Desert Color” bouquets for tables around the house. I smile as my “flower” arrangements were like the happy defiance of Georgia O’Keefe’s response to why she paints her lowers so big. “To force people to look. Maybe they’ll see.” 🙂

        Those sound like great beans to have as friends.

        • I love them. As seeds they’re shiny purple and black. Then, this

          People who say it’s all “green and brown out there” haven’t seen it. I live 1 1/2 hour north of Santa Fe in Heaven. The growing season is short at 7600 feet. And Georgia O’Keefe — fine painter the irony of her amazing work is that now it is THE lens through which people see the Southwest so they still don’t see it. ❤

          • ❤ Yes on That’s exactly the pinked fuschsha lavendered flowers. For some reason I can’t “Like” on your website even though I’m signed in. I’m having the same issue on my site as are others. Mystereum.

            I didn’t know the seeds were shiny purple and black. Beans are just so deceptively simple. No strange feat that the Magic Bean story was written.

  2. Yes. It is sad but true that there is a season for everything. Even a season to rail against nature. I’m glad you have 6 beans for planting next year and that you made the effort to save the poets. Even if you fail it is in human nature to attempt the impossible… thus we now fly, even to the moon.

  3. This is the first time I’ve seen a ‘portrait’ of your yard — it’s beautiful! I’m glad you’re protecting the beans, but if they don’t make it in the freeze it will be for a reason. At least you have a few seeds for next year. Nature is really punishing us this year, with the fires, the heat, and now the early snow, but we’ll survive!

    • Thank you! Half of the yard is beautiful. Half still belongs to Bear (ha ha) I was thinking this morning how we are all thinking “this year. Next year will be better.” I think that’s a survival strategy, still I hope it’s true. ❤

    • We’re having fires here, too. 100k acres in Rocky Mountain National park among others. Our sky is full of smoke from fires in California and it breaks my heart. One big fire is near my home town in CA. 😦

  4. Your yard looks like the perfect spot for a tea party! Ophelia wants Bear to know she is sorry the storm was so scary, but hopes you got to enjoy the snow for a little while!

  5. Mother Nature couldn’t handle the attention of the 19. How dare she try to take your poets! They bowed to you with 6 feet and they’ll continue to show you love as you did them. 💚 I snorted on “bean lives matter.”

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