Foster Beans

For two days it lay on my kitchen counter. Two greenish plants with bare roots, and no soil, that were laying on a damp paper towel inside a plastic baggie. The first day I barely noticed it sitting on the counter, and the second day I almost pitched it in the garbage. Sometimes I clean things up without comment, because it's so much faster. But instead, I asked what it was. "My beans!" My daughter exclaimed. "I need to plant them!" "Mom, where's the potting soil?" When a teenager asks you where anything is. . . it's not really a question. Let me translate for you. What my daughter was really saying was, "Can you get some potting soil, and a pot and plant these two beans for me immediately?"

Two little ignored beans in a baggie, that had been sitting on our counter for days and would have probably died if I had just kept my mouth shut, and tossed them. Now these neglected beans were needing to be triaged and dealt with as though they were earths last hope for survival.

The potting soil that I had purchased sometime in the last decade could not be located in our garage. It was then that my husband made the mistake of mentioning that actual dirt from the backyard could be gathered and cleaned by hand. He contended that you didn't need to plant the beans in high priced potting soil. Good old dirt from the back yard would work just fine. He was soon in our backyard, scooping dirt into a container I'd found. But he put his foot down when it came to cleaning the dirt. Our daughter sat at the kitchen counter, painstakingly picking through the backyard dirt and removing rocks, sticks and assorted debris. Great care was taken with the soil, and soon the two little bean plants were carefully and lovingly held in the air (by me) as my daughter funneled dirt around their exposed roots.

It isn't often our whole family rallies together to accomplish something. It's more likely that we're each in front of some kind of screen in the evening. Living in the same house, but not interacting with each other that much. It was a nice change of pace to save lives instead of binge watch. A light watering of the newly planted beans and Operation Save The Beans was nearly at an end. My daughter immediately announced that these were her beans. Reasoning, I suppose, that custody might have been contested, since we all shared in the mission to get them planted.

We planted them nearly a week ago, but tonight she remembered her beans, checked on their progress, and watered them carefully. They've grown several inches since they were potted. I water them and rotate their pot every day. They are still my daughters beans, but they sometimes need foster care.

When the weather is finally nice enough, we can release her beans into the wild. Or more probably the spot in our back yard that used to be a garden. There hasn't been much gardning over the last few years. Instead of watering and tending plants, I've watered and tended my daughter. It's just as time intensive as growing plants, but any harvest is less certain.