Backlight

This week’s photo challenge asks us to capture an image that shows something that hijacks your attention like an object that drives a child to proclaim, “Ooh, Shiny!

I have a few things that distract me in a delightful way. Spotting someone who has retained a hairstyle from a bygone era is one of those things. I’m not talking about an intentional retro makeover here. I mean someone who is old enough to have sported that hair style when it was current. I’ve seen a woman about town who has a perfectly permed and feathered mullet from 1984. How did she find a stylist who will keep up such an outdated style? What spectacular thing happened 33 years ago that she has made her hair a shrine to it? By the way, only her hair is stuck in the past. Her clothing and accessories definitely belong to the current era.

While I find time travel hairdos fascinating, I have not had the opportunity this week to take such a picture. I also feel uncomfortable with street photography that makes fun of the folks portrayed. It would a tough task indeed for me to photograph Mrs. 1984 Mullet in a way that doesn’t insist, “Look at this ridiculous hairdo.”

Because of this concern about exploitation, I offer another sort of scene that rivets my attention. I love seeing morning light through flowers, trees, and many other sorts of flora. Every time I drive to work and see sun beams filtering through gardens, I wish I could stop and take a few pictures.

This morning I took a picture of the morning sun illuminating one of my sunflower plants. I stopped everything that I was doing, grabbed my camera, and headed toward the garden when I spotted the sunflowers through my kitchen window this morning. Full sunshine has been elusive this week. We are stuck in a pattern of cloudy, hot days. I hope it rains today and that these showers steer us toward clearer skies.

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Garden, August 15

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Every year I take a small back-to-school vacation to help my daughter prepare for her next school year. We hope to get every last thing she needs for school, but we usually accomplish the most essential thing, resting up for a busy year.

The sunflowers are usually in bloom at this time, and this year is no exception. Our garden is past its peak. Despite the hot, dry days of this time, the nights will soon get too cold for some of our flowers to thrive for much longer.

So much will change in the next month, as it does every year at this time.

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Summer Photo Walk, August 5

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The sunflowers are in full bloom at the Allen County Children’s Garden. The ones in my garden are lagging behind others in town because I was late to sow their seeds this year. The annuals are prospering everywhere, and this public garden was no exception.

I spotted a wind chime fashioned in part from souvenir spoons. That’s some creative upcycling.

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Garden, August 5

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We are recovering from a blustery day that lost its way back in October and found home yesterday. When I returned from work, I found that my flower pot that sits on a pedestal in the yard had fallen upside down into the grass. I placed in the main flower bed for its convalescence:

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My hibiscus continues its heavy blooming, and the sunflowers have buds.

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Food Unites

I have thoroughly enjoyed writing about food and sharing my recipes. I wish that I had better skill at taking photos of food, both the ingredients and the finished recipes. I tried to find a garden photo of a fruit or vegetable for this post, but the closest thing I found to an edible subject was a sunflower. I have grown Mammoth Russian sunflowers during several summers just to get pictures of them, with the bonus of feeding birds with their crop of seed.

In the photo above, which I took eight years ago, the sunflower looks like a drone whose mission is to spread nothing but joy.

Next year I think I’ll take the time to save some of the seed harvest for my family. Mammoth Russian sunflowers can actually be an economical source of nutrition in the family garden. With a packet of seed costing 33 cents to a dollar, I’ve grown flowers that collectively produce up to five pounds of seed.

I’ve been thinking that food is unique in how it can unite us. We can be so different in our choices of food, yet everyone needs to eat, no matter what ends up on the dinner table. Through writing about food, we can find our common ground yet show how we are different in a non-confrontational way. I’m equally pleased with online chatter about venison stew as I am with a recipe for vegan cheesecake. These are windows into different perspectives that I might not have seen so closely otherwise.

My choices in cooking also say much about me. Through writing about food, I can tell the story of my life in a way that is more candid than memoir. In sharing a recipe that features a full pound of dried beans, I cannot hide that I spent part of my life in poverty. Only necessity can create a soup that costs as low as a quarter a bowl.

I look back on some of the things I made during hard times, and I feel uplifted at how well I did. While I’d like to share all sorts of recipes, I do hope to post more of the frugal ones to honor that time of my life.

When I get around to buying all the necessary ingredients, I will tell you how I met the challenge of making 30 burritos with 10 dollars. Since the price of food has risen so much in the past decade, it may be impossible to replicate the recipe at such a low price. I’d love to see a stash of homemade burritos in my freezer again.