I put the beans in a big pot the night before, cover them with water and bring them to a boil then turn off the pot and let it sit covered over night. The next morning I drain them and rinse a couple of times, then toss in the crock pot with the ham hocks, lots of garlic, a large onion, some chopped celery and seasoning (usually dried chipotle pepper and a big shot of tabasco)and just enough water or chicken broth to come to the top of the crock. Cover and let it cook all day (smells incredible when you get home from work!) Scoop out the ham hocks and let them cool enough to handle, they should pretty much fall apart. Clean out the skin and bones, return the meat to the crockpot, stir and eat! Sometimes I add some ham chunks if I have them.
A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving. ~ Lao Tzu