Aug 15, 2009

Gourd Day

I remember a few summers back I tried to raise 500 silk worms. My attempt was fueled by the vision of the many lustrous cocoons I would eventually unwind and spin into pure silken thread. Mission failed. I have also attempted to grow my own cotton here in Northern Wisconsin. Mission failed (duh). These and a few other similarly fated experiments were pursued in the name of furthering my hand spinning prowess. But, I did learn from these mishaps. For example: I definitely know better than to even try to grow my own woodeny gourds for crafting.

Dad, called into yarn-winding action.

Much like cotton, gourd plants demand a long growing season so, last Spring I sent my Dad an envelope full of the large, flat seeds for him to play around with in his garden. He lives about 500 miles due south and has been a landscape designer by trade for most of his life. Suffice it to say mission accomplished. He tossed a few of seeds in the garden and voila, 24 gourds.

It would be fair to say that my father is not a householdy sort of fellow in his retirement years. He has several fishing poles leaning in the corner near the front door. He has a large container of assorted chisels, shovels, and picks conveniently at-the-ready near his bedroom dresser. This makes sense as he's an 82 year old man who enjoys intensive landscaping as a hobby. He likes to use large slabs of stone to build assorted raised garden beds. This Spring he worked on a railroad tie staircase that he'd set into a sloping path on the south side of his property. (I don't know too many people his age who drag railroad ties around.)

But, even a less-than-householdy person can eventually grow weary of having 24 gourds drying on the dining room table for a year. So, Dad declared it was time for the family to, "Get crafting" and Gourd Day was scheduled. My sister and her son flew in from Montana, my other sister flew in from Seattle, I drove down from Wisconsin and the rest of the family was already on hand in Kansas City. In fact some family members wrote their names on chosen gourds in advance of Gourd Day (that's the kind of fervor and excitement visions of a special, special Gourd Day event can bring about).

Let's pause the story for a moment: How do you know if you are in a weird family? Well, if your family is truly weird you won't know. In order to be genuinely weird there must be a total lack of insight into the facts of the situation. We really have no idea if our Gourd Day is similar to all the other family Gourd Day celebrations around the globe. For our event there was no dress code and we ordered pizza rather than cook traditional Gourd Day dishes. Our version may have been a bit laid-back but, perfectly normal I assure you.

My daughter, Teal chose to enjoy Gourd Day outside and away from the crafting fray going on in the house. She used a magnifying glass to direct the sun's rays and burn a design into her gourd. In the below picture an arrow points out the smoke rising from her work.

While Teal harnessed the sun's rays to create a more natural gourd my sisters and I decided to bring modern technology into play. It was off to the local craft shop for beads, felt, pipe cleaners and a glue gun! Sadly, I have no pictures of our efforts but here are a few of the good ones.

Front, center: Teal's Sun Burnt Gourd Bowl. Left back: Dad's Cozy Bird Home (work in progress) Right back: Aunt Julie's Adventurous Bowl with Lid. Not pictured: Hogwort's Castle, Zoo Diorama, The Witch's Lair, Anniversary Vase, Twisty Basket and Waves of Wonderment.

1 comment:

Els said...

At 80, my father requested a book on solarization for his birthday. At 90, ripped the rear of their house off, building an entire new bathroom wing all by his lonesome, including somehow getting a claw bathtub into place and then tiling the entire room with 1" ceramic tiles! At 92, he hoisted a central air conditioner onto their roof and ran full ductwork throughout the house! 93, he was hauling wheelbarrows full of rocks for landscaping. At 95, he carved a 20 foot totem pole, and at 96, he had me take him to the doctor for viagra so he "take care of my new girlfriend." He died at 96, his mind mostly gone but he was still walking a mile a day and climbing stairs! So your dad has MILES to go before he sleeps. :-)

I think the secret may have something to do with KC, dad grew up there!