Endangered species

Sunflowers and Blackbirds

I decided to speed up the drying of my sunflower seeds by taking them off of all their pretty heads. Look at the colour variation from one seed packet!

I tried a lot of methods for cracking these things and getting the seeds out. For a one-at-a-time, enjoy the power of your molars kind of thing, a combination of teeth and tongue works well, but means you’re spitting chaff like a blackbird. Forget the seeds in the bag and the rolling pin thing. Go for the blender. A cup of seeds. A few quick pulses. Dump it all in a bowl of water, scoop the chaff off the top, and there the seeds will be, on the bottom. A bit dinged up, though. As troublesome as that might be, getting them off of the heads …

… is the reason blackbirds have beaks. The seeds are in there like graphite bricks in a nuclear pile. They’re not going anywhere. The pattern is kind of cool. It consists of interlocking arcs that are laid over a primary pattern of concentric rings. Blackbirds eat these seed heads from the outside in, as one row of seeds ripens per day. I’m not a blackbird, but …

… I managed. Thumb is damaged, though. This is why blackbird beaks are hard and bony.

But I had fun! And now …

…I have a couple gallons of these. Luckily, they taste a couple hundred times better than the rancid ones in the store. The petals are a nice touch, too! Sadly,

… because humans like to pour gravel into wetlands like this last little remaining scrap at the University of British Columbia in Kelowna so that they can build large concrete buildings, the seeds I planted for the birds are for my salads instead. The planet was better with blackbirds. So was my thumb. Chirp. TweeeeeEEEEEtt!

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