Life on Regal-Hill: August 27, 2008

We finally have had some good hay weather here at Regal-Hill. The tractor has been busy mowing the hay down while a few hours later another tractor goes through and teds the hay, helping it to dry faster. Tomorrow it may be tedded again and raked later in the day, and then baled if it is dry enough. Round bales would be faster but ours will be the small, rectangular bales since they are easier to handle and more saleable for us.
You want to mow everything down and hope there will be enough dry days to get it all. One farmer I was talking with said they had a hundred acres of hay down. If the weather forecast changes before the three days are up I think the farmers will shoot the meteorologist that had originally said the next three days were going to be dry. We have been waiting so long for this stretch of good weather; I really can’t blame them.
If this good weather had been earlier we would probably be getting ready to do a third cutting instead of only a second cutting. Anyway, this year the second cutting is so thick it will take longer to dry. Only manure was put on most of the fields after first cutting this year because the price of fertilizer is so expensive. We did put fertilizer, left over from last year, on one field that is farther away, as it doesn’t usually get manure. It now really looks nice and tall with a dark green color and is so thick, so it will probably be even harder to dry but should be of good quality. At least time will not have to be spent doubling up windrows to save time and energy when the tractor, baler and wagon go through. It has been nice to hear the tractors and machinery running again. I hope that there will be another three-day stretch of dry weather very soon, to get more second cutting.
Our green beans are beginning to be big enough to eat now. Actually ours are pole beans so at least they are easier to pick. I didn’t intend to get pole beans to plant, but that is what we have. According to my vegetable catalogue pole beans take longer to mature but yield all summer until frost, while bush beans mature more quickly and produce heavy crops all at once.
Try these recipes and eat them as another way to enjoy green beans.

Green Beans and Mozzarella Salad
2 cups cut fresh green beans (2-inch pieces)
6 plum tomatoes, sliced
1 block (8 ounces) mozzarella cheese, cubed
1/2 cup Italian dressing
1/3 cup minced fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Place beans in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil; cook, uncovered for 6-8 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain and rinse in cold water.
Place beans in a large salad bowl. Add the remaining ingredients; gently toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.
Yield: 6-8 servings.
2008 Taste of Home Annual Recipes

Herbed Green Beans
1/2 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
1 small onion, chopped
2 tablespoons water
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1/8 teaspoon dried tarragon
Salt and pepper to taste
In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the green beans, onion, water and garlic. Cover and microwave on high for 5-7 minutes or until the beans are crisp-tender, stirring twice; drain. Stir in the vinegar, tarragon, salt and pepper.
Yield: 3-4 servings
2007 Taste of Home Annual Recipes
Editor’s Note: This recipe was tested in an 850-watt microwave.