(Helpful Hint #1: Click pictures to see larger versions)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

156" and fend off the paparazzi!

Today was fun; it's been raining a lot lately -- hazy, muggy, the sunflowers were not having much fun, although I guess they enjoyed the water. But today the sun came out and peeped over the rooftop, just about the time the Daily Herald photographer showed up. The paper doesn't send you copies of the pictures, so I tried to recreate the spirit of the photo shoot below with my rinky dink camera. The photographer was good natured and agreed to shoot some silly shots, but I don't know if any of them will end up getting in the paper, so here goes:


This is where it all begins. With a seed.

(Note: I haven't worn a friendship bracelet in a long time, but I was kind of blown away by a recent visit to the offices of Warm Blankets Foundation, where they gave me this bracelet, and where I learned more about how they rescue kids from all kinds of situations in Cambodia and the Sudan. I guess kids are a little like seeds -- they need water, and food, and sun and fun. If you like you can read more about the visit at my other blog by clicking here.)

Start with a seed -- then, before you know it, you have a bunch of monsters growing in your back yard!

At first glance, this looks like a normal everyday picture of 12 foot tall sunflowers. But wait, what's that in the background, right by the tallest sunflower?

If you look closer to the right of the tallest flower in the middle of the picture, below you'll see the measuring tape sticking up. Thanks to my friend Mark Neal, who knows about these things, there's this special technique for measuring something that is twice as tall as you are. You basically set the end of the measuring tape on the ground, get it up to about your height, and then bend the measuring tape around, hold the part pointing towards the ground, let more tape out, and then kind of push the angle up. Then it's kind of tricky when you try to figure out how many inches tall the tape is telling you that your carnivorous sunflowers are, because you can't quite see the measuring tape, and you're keeping an eye on the sunflowers in case they didn't succeed in ushering very many squirrels into squirrel heaven the night before. So it usually takes two people, one standing from the angle of this picture, telling the "taper" when to stop.

Or something like that.

This past sunday morning as I was about to head out the door, the doorbell rang, and I was surprised to find two young ladies who asked if they could see the sunflowers. It was actually raining, but it didn't stop them; their friend evidently walks the neighborhood and saw one of the lovely brutes sticking his head around the corner of the house. (It was probably hungry and looking for a yappy dog or it may have just been defending itself from one of the crazed vampire rabbits that frequents the area.) So I was happy to oblige them and they gave me their camera so I could take their picture with the sunflowers. I guess that means that sunflowers can actually have fans Watch out Brad Bitt and Angelina Jolie, here come the sunflowers!

A recreation of the sunflower fans, showing a curious onlooker, entranced by the wondrous power of the sunflower seed:

It's important to realize that when sunflowers get hungry, they get kind of crabby. They're friendly enough creatures, but after all, they're sentient beings, and they're not vegetarian.

So if it's been awhile since a careless goat or an unsuspecting yak has wandered by, it's a good idea to carry an ax with you. You don't need to actually use the ax, you just need to brandish it a little. Sometimes you can even catch the sunflower in the right mood, and get it to ham things up a little:

The end of the summer is not too far away; lately things have just been . . . well . . . surreal.

How can you have 13 feet worth of sunflowers growing nearby and not get that summery autumn surreal feeling?

For anyone who made it this far, especially if you're visiting from the Daily Herald article, or for anyone else for that matter (like if you want me to let you know if I end up giving away or selling monster seeds), who has a comment, a question about the sunflowers or who would like to arrange a visit or to get the sunflowers' autographs, here's my email address:

Also if you enjoyed this blog it would also be really cool if you could click the little envelope icon (below and to the right of this sentence), and email this blog to 1 or 2 friends, and ask them to do the same if they dig it. Spread the word about the monsters!