Thursday, October 10, 2013 • 1:56 PM Comments ()

Winter is Coming

posted by Caleb Rounds

My soup beans have been drying in the garage since mid-September. The boss senses things like this from a distance. Though she doesn’t go into the garage much she has a sixth, or seventh, sense for disorder. Once she’d effectively, if temporarily, subdued household entropy she marched on the garage like some sort of anti-2nd-law-of-thermodynamics crusader.

As I’m sure my reader knows the 2nd law of thermodynamics essentially states that all isolated systems will move towards disorder: entropy increases. The term “isolated system” is important here because my garage doesn’t count as isolated. If order increases in one part of the system, then order must decrease more somewhere else. This is the rub of the 2nd law when it comes to life – energy must be harnessed to perform work creating ephemeral order.

Luckily for me and the boarders, we were “busy,” so much of the ensuing disorder was created in the boss’ vicinity; she turned a great many calories into heat and work. I had a small part in the operation as I had some food temporarily stored in our garage.

My food was “neatly organized” on tarps spread around the floor of the garage. Looked at another way, say my boss’ way, I was perpetuating chaos, perhaps even encouraging it. I’d be better off doing something about it right freaking now.

So, yes, beans, I cleaned ‘em.

Shelling beans is not the best part of growing your own dry beans. I’ve had some luck stomping on them, then pouring them from bowl to bowl in front of a fan to blow away the husks. I’ve also split several pounds one pod at a time. It can be soothing. Paying the indigent boarders makes little sense as beans cost about a dollar a pound.

I went on the internets to see what I could find in the way of labor saving tools. Lots of folks had come up with clever devices – most notably using an old clothes wringer. Few were particularly cheap, so I’ll probably stick with stomping them.

But looking for ways to shell beans got me onto some prepper sites. “Preppers” are folks who believe that the end of civilization is imminent and that the smart bet is on stockpiling food, weapons, ammo and poorly thought out opinions. The most laughable of these sites used the acronym SHTF (shit hits the fan) a great deal. Apparently, they didn’t mind lying about the president, but they didn’t wish to spell out that nasty word. Many preppers tend to keep a lot of seeds on hand to grow in case of emergency. It would have to be a pretty slow moving emergency for beans to grow, dry and get harvested, but no matter. I too have prepper tendencies.

For instance, just as the boss’ anti chaos crusade was coming to a close, I found I suddenly had time on my hands and decided I’d best pile the cord of wood that we’d had dumped in our driveway. In my own little way I was helping to keep a lid on disorder. It also makes me feel good to think that I’ll be able to heat my house as I’m shelling dry beans, even if the government never reopens.

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