We took a day off from church to stay on the farm and start prepping the garden for winter. I felt a little guilty so I was way too productive to make up for it. I baked a loaf of white bread and zucchini bread (all low-carb) and sliced up a bag of apples to dry in the dehydrator. Then I went out and started to tackle the sunflowers.
I did not think this sunflower job was going to be such a big deal. I pulled out the stalks by the garden while Joe was taking out all the plants inside the fence. (Didn’t he do a lovely job of it? ) I looked over each dried flower and trimmed the ones with enough seeds that had not yet been plucked by the birds.
That made a nice big pile to harvest, so I moved it out of the way and decided I shouldn’t let the ones out by the vineyard go to waste. There were probably four or five times more sunflowers out in the field, so I methodically cracked each ten- or twelve-
foot stalk, pushed it over, and cut off the flowers that were worth harvesting. I got only one of the two rows done before I had to go sit down and rest, but not for long. I wanted that job done!
I hauled five or six baskets of flower heads back to the barn and sat down to start sorting and cleaning them. You know, that is not such an easy job!
I rubbed two flowers at a time against each other to remove the blossoms and get down to the seeds, and tossed them into another pile to be dried. By now, my hands and arms were stained black with dirty sunflower oil and they ached from the task. I looked at the pile I had cleaned. Then I looked at the pile remaining to be done. Groan!
I began to be less and less discriminating about which flowers had enough seeds to be worth my efforts and I tossed lots more of them into the discard pile.
I still had to come up with a way to let them dry out without the birds and mice cleaning me out. I decided to use my onion-hanging technique, and began stringing the flower heads together with twine. Geeze, this was going so slowly. I had to stop before I was done to go in for dinner, so I left the barn in a terrible mess, seeds and chaff everywhere, sunflowers on every table and big piles of discarded stems. You know what this means… I’ll have to get up early tomorrow and get back out there to finish up. The internet suggested I put a paper bag over each flower to catch the seeds when they begin falling out of their own accord. This could be hours more.
So, I definitely bit off more than I could chew this year. If I plant all the seeds I harvest, I’ll have even more flowers next year, and then exponentially more to harvest after that. Where will it all end? I think I’ll have to curb this instinct to waste not – want not. It isn’t working for me.