Harvesting Sunflowers

Did you know that harvesting sunflowers was a thing? Someone asked me that not along ago and I had to confirm that this was indeed true. Why else would you grow all of these beautiful flowers in Moldova?

DSC_0448I had the opportunity to visit my host family’s village home recently and helped with the sunflower harvest using a traditional, old-style method.

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This traditional style method involves hitting the dried up sunflower heads with a stick to knock all the seeds out of them. Yes, all the black you see in the photo are sunflower seeds.

If you need to deal with any kind of anger or stress this is a great and healthy way to deal with it, trust me. I spent hours sitting with my host family and some neighbors one weekend as a mix of Romanian/village language blended in with the steady beating sound of seeds being dispersed around us. Check out the 8 second clip of how it’s done…

I discovered that I liked the process that this harvest involved as it was mundane and therapeutic at the same time. It gave me some time to clear my mind as well as enjoy the quality time with my host family.

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So many dried-up sunflowers to work through… and so many sunflower seeds!

The seeds will be taken someplace where they will be pressed to make sunflower oil. This is the type of oil that we cook and bake with most often here in Moldova. I will come to appreciate the oil that we will use this winter a little more now knowing what goes into the process. As for the sunflower heads that no longer have seeds in them, they can be used as kindling for a fire to heat a home or to cook food over.

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Me, working away and enjoying all there is to harvesting sunflower seeds this summer.
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{Photo Friday}: Farewell to summer landscapes

Summer is officially over and the cool temperatures have been a reminder to me that fall is upon us in Moldova. The summer fruits, sunflowers, and colors are slowly fading away as the brisk breath of fall greets the morning on my daily walk to work. The golden sunflowers fields have changed to a coffee-brown color and will be harvested for oil and seeds. Today’s “Photo Friday” image is to commemorate this past summer, which marked my halfway point with Peace Corps in Moldova, and to share the beauty that summer holds as you pass through the rural parts of this beautiful country.

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Rolling hills of sunflowers, corn, and wheat are a beautiful and common scene as you drive through Moldova.

When you know it is summer in Moldova…

It’s summer in Moldova, which also means SUNFLOWER SEASON! I had the opportunity recently to visit my host family’s home in the village where the sunflowers fields are plentiful.

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All the yellow parts that you see here in this image are fields of sunflowers.

Sunflowers are a major crop in Moldova and are grown for their seeds and the oil they produce. My host family grows sunflowers so they can have sunflower oil to use for cooking.

My host family also has honey bees at their village home and they love the sunflowers. They were working very hard that day that I visited to collect the pollen from the flowers.
My host family also has honey bees at their village home and the bees love the sunflowers. They were working very hard that day that to collect the pollen from the flowers.

This year since there hasn’t been much rain, the sunflowers are not as tall as they were last year. My host dad told me that usually when there is more rain the flowers can grow taller than most people. This year, with the little amount of rain we’ve had in Moldova they are averaging around shoulder height.

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I visited a week later and the sunflowers had changed a lot over that one week time. They're a bit sad since there hasn't been any rain for many weeks.
I visited a week later and the sunflowers had changed a lot over that one week time. They’re now a bit sad since there hasn’t been any rain for many weeks.

Enjoy the photos and the video below to give you an idea of the vast amounts and beauty that surrounds Moldova when the sunflowers are in bloom. If you love sunflowers, this is the best time of year to visit Moldova.

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DSC_0247 DSC_0459 DSC_0480I did a 360 turn in the field for you to get an idea of the magnitude of the sunflowers that surround my host family village home. This also gives you an idea of what it is like as you travel through Moldova in the summer when the sunflowers are in bloom… incredible.

 

Photo Friday: When Sunflowers Go Against the Crowd

This post continues a new series on Fridays as I share an image from my experience as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Moldova.

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I went with my host family to the village house last weekend and the sunflowers are in full bloom. While all the other sunflowers are pointing to where the sun rises, this one was facing where the sun set. Guess this flower is not one for early mornings. There’s always gotta be at least one in every group who goes against the crowd. 🙂 I promise there will be a post coming up in the near future sharing all the amazingness of these beauties — such joy.