Creating Bean Necklaces with Children

May 27, 2010

Oh how I wish that I had something witty or cool to share with you today. At the moment I am locked away with my computer, engaged in near constant Skype conversations with Bernadette and Julia (how much do I love Skype??? It is amazing), loading the last edits into Rhythm of The Home. My husband is starting to become concerned about the state of my unwashed hair, especially since in about 8 hours I have to look perky and charming as we welcome a brood of his friends to stay with us for Memorial Day (awesome timing!).

I have to say that I am proud of us, because we are way ahead of where we normally are at this point in the magazine. Perhaps the process is actually starting to find it’s own rhythm and flow? It is also a bit mind boggling, since in an effort to have a longer period of time to edit each edition, we are taking submissions for the next edition much earlier this time. Julia and I were laughing last night that June 2nd is going to prove to be a very busy day, as we go into high gear for Autumn.


One small thing that I have loved over these past few days is watching my garden begin to bloom. I have been thinking a lot about the space that my family shares together, and how we can make it work to fulfill our needs. On Tuesday, we were talking about nurturing over at The Mindful Connection, and I mentioned that as much as I would love to find more land and grow more of our own food, right now it is not something that we can handle. My husband travels a large amount of time, and he can’t leave his job any time in the near future.

While we may not be able to join in on the idea of homesteading, I want to try and find a way to take our very suburban neighborhood home, and create as much of a garden for my children as possible. In the past, we have just used two raised beds on our side yard to grow what we can, and I have been conservative about what I grow there, not knowing how to use this small space to grow things like squashes, pumpkins, etc.

This year, I just decided to go for it. We built two new small beds, one exclusively for the children, and by the children, and then we added in a second bed on the ground below the other two.

I have to admit that I have no idea what I am doing in so many ways. This is going to be a test year, to see if the pumpkins will grow over the raised beds, and vine down in a way that will not overtake anything else. It is test to see where and how the beans will do, if the artichokes that so loved the wet soil of last year might still survive if the season turns to it’s hot and dry norm. We have planted rows of corn and tomatoes, whiskey barrels full of herbs and mints, and rows and rows of Colorado sunflowers.


I have literally no idea what we can expect, except to just enjoy the process. My husband and I often talk about the fact that we did not make a good choice in where we wanted to raise our little ones in their early years, and as we explore making a change, we know it will be a long time to come before that happens. We also have come to learn that we can use every inch of land that we have to create a more sustainable life, and to enjoy what we have. It has been a difficult lesson, but a great one as well. We are taking more trips to the farmers markets and find more farms to help out with, and we are beginning to feel much more satisfied in our space (though farm fresh eggs out the back door still sounds so nice).

A few days back, the boys and I made bean necklaces with a group of friends that had come over to play. I love how easy these are to make, and they are great party favors for little ones for any celebration. The kids planted their sprouted beans yesterday, and I will let you know how they grow


To begin, gather a piece of natural wool, or an unbleached cotton ball (I actually prefer the cotton ball, it retains moisture better), a piece of ribbon or string, a small sealable plastic bag, and a bean for growing in the garden.


Wet your wool or cotton, place your bean in the center, and wrap the wool/cotton tightly around it.


Place it into the plastic bag, remove the air and seal. punch a hole in the top of the bag, and tie it around your child’s neck. In about two days, the bean will sprout and can be planted in the garden.

Enjoy

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Anna May 27, 2010 at 1:51 pm

We love growing our own veggies, but feel it is also very important to have enough room for our kids to play. It can be hard to strike a balance. On the plus side, while I often desperately miss Minneapolis, our yard here in suburban no-where's land is easily 4 times the size it was in the city and being further south we have a much longer growing season. Like Lily I've heard good thing about square foot gardening, but I've never tried it.

Those necklaces are a sweet idea.

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agambroult May 27, 2010 at 1:52 pm

way to go with your garden, Heather. I think just 'going for it' is the only way. My husband and I have similar conversations, about how we don't love our town etc…but, like you, we have decided to just use every inch we have to our advantage. For 4 years in a row, we have added more garden beds. Now I'm thinking of taking on the odd spots on our yard to grow more fruit, herbs etc..
looking forward to ROTH and I hope you get some time to enjoy your company this weekend!

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Joy May 27, 2010 at 1:58 pm

love, love, love the bean necklaces! What a fabulous idea!

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Maeghan May 27, 2010 at 2:14 pm

Very cool! The garden looks great and we share the same ideas of how nice it would be to be homesteaders someday!

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kaylovesvitntage May 27, 2010 at 3:39 pm

your garden looks wonderful

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eliz~ so wabi sabi May 27, 2010 at 4:16 pm

What a great idea to allow kids to see the sprouting…you can't really miss it if it is attached to you. I think your plan to maximize your land sounds wonderful. There are a lot of great farms out there to support, and part of the effort to change our world in a positive place is to support that kind of agriculture. I think growing some of our own food is really good though. It allows us to be more connected and teaches our children where our food comes from so they don't think that all food must come in a box. Now I am off to make organic penne pasta…from a box 😉 but there will be fresh greens from our garden too. I love your approach Heather and I loved what you shared Tuesday.

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Tonya May 27, 2010 at 4:54 pm

Heather,
So wonderful that you are doing what you can comfortably do where you are… your children will learn so much.
What a neat idea about the bean necklace!

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Megan May 27, 2010 at 5:26 pm

That is so great! I have never seen anything like it. Thanks for sharing, Have a wonderful weekend!!

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mommarae May 27, 2010 at 7:27 pm

i've never seen a bean necklace like that! i LOVE it!
wishing you serenity during this busy, busy time,
rae

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Its_Lily May 27, 2010 at 1:48 pm

Heather, if you're trying to maximize space in your garden, please, please check out this site:http://www.squarefootgardening.com/. I have been using the Square Foot Gardening method for nearly 20 years and you would be amazed at the amount of food you can grow in a tiny little space. The idea is that you plant the whole box because you don't have to leave space to walk down the middle of rows. Seriously, you will be amazed.

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Ann May 27, 2010 at 9:08 pm

Love that you are gardening and growing your own veg in whatever ay you can. Love the pea plants. I have been growing pea shoots in pots and when they get to about 2 inches high I snip them back and use them in salads. I bouhgt a bagof dried peas from the supermarket to do this. My other pea plants will go full term and grow pods with peas in them. IF it works try it. Love the idea of the beans and also the links from other readers. Drop by again.

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heirloomseasons May 28, 2010 at 3:13 am

I love seeing your garden! Our peas are only just getting past an inch or so, we are so excited about them though. I listened to your talk the other evening and enjoyed it very much… I have thoughts to share but am realizing I couldn't possibly express myself briefly enough for just a comment… thank you though, and it's so nice to hear your voice :)

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jessica May 28, 2010 at 10:32 am

That is such a fun idea! I will definitely try this project when I do my garden lessons with my students!! I am so missing my garden this year…yours is lovely!

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Francesca May 28, 2010 at 12:29 pm

Heather, I'd love to hear more about what's actually behind your magazine, and the kind of work you do to make it happen!
You're doing wonders with your garden there. Most people don't really have the option to live in just the perfect place, and yet can work amazing magic with what they have.
Sounds to me memorial day is coming just at the right time. Enjoy the company and the festivity!

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Healing Hillary May 28, 2010 at 12:33 pm

I love sprouts. What a fun idea!

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clarice May 28, 2010 at 12:55 pm

Heather, you should be very proud of yourself and all you have done. Doing something like rhythm Of Home, is a lot of work. It is hard to balance creativity, children and home. Some days the balance is off. Clarice

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perches May 28, 2010 at 1:50 pm

I love the wearable/watchable bean sprout! Such a great idea, thanks for sharing.

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Poster Printing May 29, 2010 at 2:31 am

It would actually be pretty cool to have a plant for a necklace, and you will be able to see it grow even just a little bit as it is always with you. Although I don't know what the effect of moving too much for the sprouting seed, might be good to observe and compare between two seeds in completely different settings. For the meantime though, the cotton in a plastic bag does not look to appealing, but it will be a conversation piece for sure :D)

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pink and green mama May 29, 2010 at 2:57 am

Love this idea — my girls would have a blast doing this! Thanks so much for sharing : )

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Leanne June 1, 2010 at 3:53 am

Ooh but Heather gardening is an exciting thing to share! Enjoy your backyard lessons and produce. Perfect perfect.

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Kate June 3, 2010 at 3:33 am

Thanks for this post! I have done seed buddies with the plastic bag and some form of plant gelatin, expanding balls that keep the seed wet, but find the wool much more appealing. Such fun.

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heather August 13, 2011 at 8:28 pm

i love the idea of bean necklaces! so simple, and yet so cherished and meaningful! what a beautiful way to add to the garden :)

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