Thursday, August 23, 2012

sunflowers and honey harvest (part deux)

I have a sunflower addiction... maybe obsession is a more appropriate term.  There's something about the golden flower that mesmerizes me.  The patterns, the colors, the stature. I can't look away.

Evidence A: click here to follow the link to an album of my smugmug account.  
(password: sunflowers)
Pictures taken about a month ago.

For three years I have tried (unsuccessfully) to grow a patch of sunflowers-- with different seeds, different field prep, doing it all by myself versus having different people helping me.   My goal was to duplicate that very field pictured in the above album.  It's on Route 12, south of Clinton, Michigan.  I've flower-lusted after it so many times as I've driven down that winding road.  For so long, I've wanted a big VincentVanGogh-field full that I could get lost in.  In fact the third and final unsuccessful time, I actually left a maze of an unplanted patch leading to the center of the field, thinking that my kids could indeed get lost amongst the mass of yellow pollen-laden skyscrapers.  What can I say?  Sometimes I'm a sentimental & romantic fool.  However, the chipmunks that share my land are less sentimental.  For them it's all about the hunger.  So selfish.

This year, determined to have even a small patch, I nurtured and babied about thirty seeds. First planting them inside, under my grow lights, then moving them outside during the days when it got warm enough.  I've heard that sunflowers don't transplant well, which is why I've direct sowed in the past to no avail.  Eventually and tentatively I planted them directly into my vegetable garden. I honestly felt a little pang of worry, akin to a parent sending kids off to college.  What if I hadn't taught them everything they'd need to know in order to survive in the wild?  I had taken them this far, to about 8 inches tall, but they had stopped growing because they'd sucked all of the nutrients out of the little pots.  The only way to let them succeed was to let them go.

Now I finally get the the heart of the matter, to the relevance.  Last night as I was playing outside with the kids, underneath these beauties, (which incidentally are seeds poached from Cornman Farms) I noticed my other lovelies, the honeybees, scurrying around the golden orbs.

(turn up the volume for full effect)

It's so wonderfully magic when things of nature come full circle.  Someone once told me that nature and karma are the two most important things that we have to reckon with.  I'm not totally convinced that it's true.  But instead of lamenting that I only have 12 giant beauties, I can't help but get excited that the golden dust of these amazing flowers is feeding my buzzers. Talk about karma...

Photos below taken with my phone.  Some are better (& more artistic) than others, but they each show something a little different.  Notice the full pollen baskets on the close-ups of the bees. Glorious!

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