Saturday, January 7, 2012

Out of your gourd?

You don't have to be crazy to love gourds. They're actually purported to be the first crop harvested by man. Who knew? Think of all those gourd ladles and spoons, cups and bowls that occupied those dreary caves.

Now, these hollow pods are more often a simple, yet beautiful canvas for artistic expression.


This gourd (above) was hand-carved by our raft captain while my BFF and I rafted down the Martha Brae River just outside of Montego Bay, Jamaica. He steered us for most of the trip, then sat down with his pocket knife and simple gourd and began to create a work of art as we drifted down the jungle's waterway.

We watched him as he carved the entire gourd with such expert attention to detail using the most rudimentary of tools. Incredible! That's us below ... Terri (left) and me (in the hat, right).

Anyway, back to gourds ...

Native Americans are credited with crafting the first bird houses from gourds. Apparently, the early settlements along rivers and streams became a haven for mosquitoes. So, the clever villagers crafted gourd bird houses and hung them from the trees to attract mosquito-eating Purple Martins to nest. Brilliant!

Hubby received this handmade gourd birdhouse from Peru as a Christmas gift. Beautiful!

And, let's not forget that these perfectly suited birdhouse gourds can be a bright spot in the garden, too.

I love these photos I found on Pinterest (above and below). They make me want to grow gourds in our garden just to create some fun, colorful designs for our little feathered friends.

These are easy to hang with just a couple of holes drilled in each side and threaded with twine or wire. If you live in a hot climate like ours in Texas, drill a couple extra holes near the top for ventilation.

Now, I'm off to read about planting gourds ...

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