End Of Days For The Sunflowers
OUR BEAUTIFUL SUNFLOWER FIELD HAS SEEN BETTER DAYS. NOW IT IS TIME FOR THEIR TRANSFORMATION.
They stood tall, bright and beautiful for months. They come in many shapes, colors, and sizes. Known by many names, such as lemons, giants, mammoths, and vanillas, their life cycles are all the same. From a tiny seed, they break through the ground and push those little leaves skyward. Somehow gather what they need from the earth below, they grow towards the sun at an astounding rate. They grow, grow and grow. Almost as if they think they are trees, proclaiming the field in which they stand as their forest. Shouting to all around that they are the masters of this domain. Which in some ways is true. But the life of a sunflower and a tree couldn't be more different. Sunflowers shine for but just a moment. An exciting, dramatic, passionate moment, to say the least, but it is still just a moment.
Their flower heads now packed with the weight of thousands of seeds. They can no longer look to the sun and instead look downwards to the earth below. The birds above know it is now time for them to play their role in this cycle of life. They will descend on the fields to assist the flowers in continuing their journey. The birds will feast and be overly greedy. Taking more seeds than they can hope to eat. Flying high in the air, dropping seeds on new unclaimed lands. Lands that will someday give those seeds a chance to do it all again.
But that isn't the fate for most of our Sunflowers
Our sunflower fields have also turned that last corner. Their lives are coming to an end. Their heads are full. The seeds in those heads have many possible futures waiting for them. The most important of those is to become food for our 1000 plus Noci Permaculture Chickens. Our feathered girls and boys have an unstoppable appetite. Lucky for us, the sunflower is made to provide. Packed with protein, vitamins, calories, and oils, the seeds of the sunflowers will feed our girls for many weeks to come. Enough food to make another 6720 eggs. Let me say that again. Our sunflowers will somehow magically turn into six thousand, seven hundred and twenty eggs in the next two weeks. Eggs that will become pasta, ice cream, omelets, pastries, and who knows what.
The cycle of life, of energy, is just simply amazing.
But the story of the sunflower field doesn't end in the belly of our chickens. Not even close. The story goes on. Some of the seeds will be dried and saved. In the Spring, we will begin again, in a fresh new field. We will place the dormant seeds in the soil of the earth. The warming days will somehow awaken the seeds, and they will know exactly what to do. They will know exactly who they are.
The stems and leaves will also continue their journey.
We will cut them down, where they stand. We will stack them high in a pile, along with other veggies and greens, like our tomato plants and peppers. The piling of plant matter like this is called composting. The energy of all those plants creates an incredible amount of heat. Rising to 120 plus degrees as all of that matter begins to break down. Months will pass, and the once green vibrant plant fibers will be transformed as if it was a butterfly. But instead of spreading wings at the end of its transformation, it will spread life. It will become the very building blocks for the next generation of plants. It will become rich, dark, smelly, teaming with life, soil-like material. Food for the next generation of plants and animals. Just what our fields will need in the Spring.
If you listen and watch, nature will show us all the way. Everything we need is right in front of us. If we only know how to see it and have the patients to allow, it to express itself.
Before the sunflowers disappear for the year, let us look back at all their glory.
Hopefully, you were as lucky as I was and you had a chance to walk within the sunflower forest at Noci. It was a moment in time I won't soon forget.