Recently my good friend Alia bought a sweet little home in outer SE Portland, the area where I am poking around. Until we figure out this home buying thing (I'm taking Home Buying 101 through the Portland Housing Center at the end of the month, very exciting!) I've been living vicariously through my buddies who have been lucky enough to get into some lovely little houses. Alia told me that last year, a persistent little green vine kept poking its way to the top of her compost heap. After covering it over and over, not really thinking about what it might be, she finally felt bad and pulled the whole thing out (it turned out to be several inches long!) and planted it. As it grew, it revealed that it was a bean plant. She pulled the pods open and was surprised to see little spotted pinto beans! The plant hardly produced enough beans to mention, but she ended up with a good handful, which she dried, and plans to plant this spring. I can't wait to help her pick, dry, and cook them. (Or at least photograph the process. By the way, if you've got sharp eyes- yes, the photo above pictures pinto beans and sunflower seeds. She had them in the same jar.) Hopefully by this time next year we'll be getting ready to buy our own home, and when I start thinking about the endless gardening possibilities, my eyes glaze over. Thoughts of rain barrels, chicken coops, worm bins- you know, hippie stuff. I can't wait to show my son how to grow vegetables. One of my favorite things to do when I was a kid was walk out to the garden and pull up carrots, rinse them with the hose, and eat them with the tops still on (usually while impersonating Bugs Bunny). I also enjoyed (and still do) eating green beans raw, straight off the vine. My mom usually got pretty pissed if I snagged all her beans, but it was worth it.