Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Nora will use this blog to tell stories of her childhood on the farm and her urban adventures in preparation for the Farm to Fair project.

To a farm kid the word beans means, soybeans. Plain and simple.

Green beans and baked beans and kidney beans were called by their full names. The name beans was reserved for soybeans.  As farm kids, we spent a lot of the summer thinking about beans. And not always in a good way.

Those cute little, you-can-swear-that-you-can-see-them grow beans,  turned in to the hottest, longest, most-likely-to-make-you-want-to-take-a-swipe-at-your-little-brother-with-a-hoe summertime task.

Our family called the chore pulling weeds but I've also heard it called walking the beans or hoeing beans. 

Whatever you called it, it was a hot and sweaty task.

In retrospect, I can't believe how much we complained about the job. In the time we spent dragging our feet and doing the math of how many rows apart we could walk and still reach the weeds with our hoes we could have finished for the day before the sun was blindingly hot and we weren't speaking to each other.

The goal was to kill the weeds in the field that competed with the beans for sunshine and nutrients and choked out the beans and attracted bugs and reduced the yield. A byproduct of pulling weeds was seeing the beautiful rows of beans with nary an offending weed peaking over the top of the beautiful rows of soybeans.

Weed control has changed dramatically since the 1970s,  with the help of chemicals and more sophisticated equipment, but that doesn't stop me from judging a bean field by its weeds when I pass by.

A field of beans is one of the prettiest sights in Indiana - as long as you're not standing in them with a hoe.


  1. Crazy! When I was 12 or 13 our neighbor (a 90 year old bachelor farmer) on CR 700 East in Shelby County paid me $1 a row to hoe the volunteer corn from his soybeans. This was no garden, this was his field. I did it for a while. Crickets, bees, sweat, heat, horseflies, etc. I didn't last long! A friend of mine asked the neighbor if he could do it and I gladly gave him the job.

  2. Great story, Nora! Makes me think about de-tasseling corn. Often that was the first (and last) taste of farming we non-farm kids got!

  3. Hi Nora
    I have just added you as one of my blogs that I follow maybe we can get you added to others I don't blog everyday you are welcome to add me to yours I am also a friend of Doug's We have several fields of beans