May, 2018 browsing by month


Spring garden

Monday, May 28th, 2018

Here is the garden map so far this year.

We succeeded again in having lettuce growing all year round, and for the first time, we also had garlic throughout the year. We are still finishing last year’s crop as we harvested the first bed this year. The scapes were great this year, and we made a very delicious pesto and also pickled some.

The fencing has really worked out well, so we are trying a few favorites that we’d given up on in the past couple years like sweet potatoes.

And as the garden is getting more predictable, we are also growing some flowers.


Gourd art

Friday, May 11th, 2018

Last year, I grew some bushel basket gourds with the hopes of making them into drums. The gourds didn’t really get big enough for drums (I’ll try again this year), but I thought I’d use them to practice in the meantime.

I got a bunch of books from the library to get inspirations for what I might make and to learn the techniques. It’s quite a process.

First, the gourds need to dry outside for several months. They go from being very heavy to being quite light as they dry.

This is what the gourds looked like when they were done drying. Those black spots are yucky mold.

The next step is to soak them in hot soapy water overnight. You have to weight them down so they don’t float up.

Then you scrub the outside of the outside of the gourds with a metal scouring pad to get all the skin and mold off. When I got done and dried them out again, they looked like this:

Next I cut open the gourds. Depending on what I was going to make with them I either used a hand keyhole saw or drilled a hole in the top with a hole saw. This is that the insides looked like.

I scraped and separated the seeds to save for this year’s growing. Then I scraped out the other dry stuff out and sanded the inside to get it smooth. Then came the fun part, finishing. I stained the outsides with some soy-based wood stain.

For one of the gourds, which would have a visible interior, I decoupaged the inside. I used tea bag envelopes and tags, since I was making a tea holder.

To finish the outsides, I used acrylic paints and then varnished thewhole thing.

Here’s the end product. The one of the left is a tea candle holder.

Given that this is the first time I’ve done anything like this, I am happy with the end results. I have several more “practice” gourds and am looking forward to experimenting more with these.