Monday, March 9, 2009
A sad story about gourds
"What?" you say..."A sad story about gourds? That can't be possible. Nothing about gourds could be sad. You simply cannot tell a sad story about gourds."
So, if you truly believe this, I'm here to prove you wrong. I know this sad story exists, because I've lived it. It has taken me a while to be able to tell it, but this is my story.
I am a wannabe birdhouse gourd grower. Ever since I'd seen those sweet birdhouse gourds highlighted on two of my favorite blogs, Children in the Corn and Sunny Side Up, I'd been anxious to grow them myself and turn them into something lovely for the birds.
With great anticipation last spring, I planted three birdhouse gourd plants. They were, without question, the healthiest, most thriving thing in my garden! I'd never seen a vine take over the way these things did. They grew bigger, stronger and hardier than anything else, growing beyond the trellis I had staked them to, twining into my garden fencing...:
and up into my apple tree:
They competed with my green and lemon cucumbers for space:
At the height of the season, I had approximately 35 gourds growing, developing, and talking to me as I walked by. Visitors to the farm would question, and occasionally joke, asking me what I was could possibly do with ALL those decorative gourds. "Make birdhouses", I'd say quite simply.
Of course, the bigger my gourds got, the more excited I became. Querying on "birdhouse gourd", I found the most delightful things people had done with theirs.
There was the "simple pear look" that I wanted to try:
And the "disguised as a sunflower" birdhouse was quite clever:
For those birds in my garden able to read, here's a great way to welcome them:
And if I were of Dutch heritage, of course, I could totally work that into my decorating theme:
But - and here comes the sad part - I learned something about gourd vines. They, apparently, don't like to be trimmed or cut back. When the vines in my garden grew too heavy for my fencing and up too far into the trees surrounding my garden, I cut them back. The gourds still developing on the remaining vines shriveled and wilted. At the end of the growing season, this is what I wound up with:
Yes, that's right, one, single lovely gourd and two ridiculous mini versions.
"Ok," I thought. "So I only will get one gourd this year. That's ok. It will make a funny story." Then the December ice and snow hit. For some crazy reason, I had left the gourds outside under our covered porch, thinking this was a good place to dry them. Had it remained dry, they probably would have been ok. But the moisture was too much for them and by the time I realized what I had done, it was too late.
I brought the big guy in and tried to apply first aid. Sadly, the rot quickly set in:
It started to sag and collapse practically before my eyes. So much for my dreams of creative birdhouse gourd decoration.
2008 Birdhouse Gourd Tally: 0
Now, isn't that sad?
Yet, despite the tears, an optimist I remain and I will try to grow them again this year. What I'd really like to make is this:
It's a birdhouse gourd TEE PEE! I think this looks like fun. It's very similar to the bean tee pee that Sarah and her kiddles made last season over at It Blows Here.
Wish me luck.