Tuesday, July 19, 2005


We interrupt your regularly scheduled political fulmination to bring you the following rustic meditation on...

Sunflowers. Outside my office. It's kind of strange that they should be right outside my office since I work as a programmer. Realistically, a programmer should only be surrounded by chrome and glass and an artificial pond. But our office is located right in the middle of a farm -- a kibbutz actually -- just upwind of the cows.

Here are the sunflowers as they looked almost 2 months ago, just after they were first planted:


They were beautiful then. I made a point to bring my camera to work and snap off a few pictures when I had the chance. Sadly, the photo I missed was the next day when an old crop duster swooped low along the side of the road, skimming the last row of sunflowers, and laying down a cloud of, well, I'm sure it was some sort of aerosol vitamin spray. Watching the plane pass maybe 20 feet away made me long for the day I'll have a great camera in my cellphone and always carry it with me so I can get all the shots I miss today.

I was very curious to see how they would harvest these guys. I watched. And watched. Nothing much happened, day after day, week after week. Nothing except for the slow droop and dry of the majestic stalks. To the best of my knowledge, even now, almost two months after they were fresh and yellow and beautiful, the flowers have still not been harvested for their seeds:


They look really awful, like the scorched remnants Sherman's army left behind. But despite appearances, the sunflower seeds are still there:


Each flower's dried out carcass contains about 100 seeds. What's not clear is why they haven't covered the flowers with something like cheesecloth to prevent birds from pilfering the seeds. The flowers I checked were already missing about half their seeds.

Obviously, I'm just a humble blogger, so I wouldn't presume to tell real farmers how to do their job. But they really ought to consider harvesting these guys while there's still something left, or at least covering them. Maybe I should find the Central Farming Office and tell them to Google their crops before planting them, so they'll be educated about it like me. I'm sure they'd appreciate my advice.
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