109. Garden Fail – Birdhouse Gourds

On Thanksgiving Day, our (very) local neighbourhood gardeners and friends/family get together for the annual vegetable contest.

Now, I am not competitive at all, but I am a gardener, and I like a challenge and a deadline to jumpstart my creativity.

So in the spring I signed up to receive the little 3-seed packet for this year’s vegetable. We usually are challenged to grow something that matures near Thanksgiving (Canadian Thanksgiving, about 6 weeks before American Thanksgiving). This year’s vegetable was a birdhouse gourd.

All three of my seeds germinated. I planted two of them in pots, and one in the herb bed in the rooftop garden. These five gourds were all I could grow, and they are too small to dry out and use as bird houses. Our best gardener was able to grow a bunch that were big enough (about 14″ – 16″ tall.)

So I had to fake the birdhouse, by painting a black hole on each. Then, I faked actual (is that an oxymoron?) birds, too, by painting five of our favourite local birds right onto the gourds.

I have a bird colouring book the right scale for the gourds, so I traced the bird onto the gourd using a ball-point pen and tracing paper.

Then I painted them using the acrylic craft paint I had on hand. 

Of course, I needed a display box. I made one just the right length using scrap wood. The two sides are the last bit of what, in this family, we call “Grandpa’s Post.” Grandpa’s Post was salvaged from his workshop before the house that he built 60 years ago was torn down. It was a gorgeous piece of 4×4 fir, that I sanded down and intended to use for our bannister, but it wasn’t long enough.

The post sat protected in our crawl space, until our favourite daughter was making her bed, and she was able to use it for both footboard posts. There were two beautiful thin wedges left over, placed into the burn pile for kindling. I just couldn’t burn them – they were too precious to my heart. I trimmed them down to use in the box.

Sanded, then whitewashed the box. Inserted the gourds. Went to the contest. There were a bunch of clever and humourous entries, some done by children.

Won the prize. Obviously not for biggest gourd. The prize is re-awarded every year, thank heavens, because it is the ultimate in tacky. Witness yourself:

I have to keep it for a whole year, taking it out of hiding if any of our neighbours should pay a visit.

What’s green about this post?

  1. the gourds
  2. the gardening
  3. the recycling
  4. and the neighbours, who are green with envy that I have this fish-like thing in my house for a year