Monday, September 27, 2010

2010 Ohio Gourd Show

A year in the garden has paid off for Gourdo, whose entries at the 2010 Ohio Gourd Show scored a rainbow of ribbons (only a few of his entries with their ribbons are shown above). Congratulations, Gourdo!

The weather was perfect for the show at the Darke County Fairgrounds in Greenville, OH. Everyone seemed to be having a marvelous time viewing the selection of dried gourds and everlastings, seeds, dyes and other gourd-related paraphernalia that was available for sale. The artwork was again truly inspiring. It never ceases to amaze me what people can craft from gourds. There were lamps, jewelry, musical instruments, bowls, vases and all kinds of decorative pieces from the whimsical to the truly aesthetic.

Gourdo eagerly anticipates this show every year, as do hundreds of like-minded gourd nuts. For those of us who attend with a gourdie, it's a time to sit back and watch our loved ones revel in their passion. It's fun to observe from the sidelines, so to speak. My father, who has zero interest in gourds, attended the show with me one one year and had this to say about the hordes of grown men and women dressed in gourd jewelry and playing gourd instuments: "They are a very nice bunch of people and they seem harmless enough." That always makes me laugh to think of it. How else can you sum up such an interest? It is a little silly, but it's a lot of fun. Gourdies spend tireless hours planting, watering, training and worrying about their gourds. They harvest and watch over them as they dry, moaning over prized fruits that crack or turn to mush and rejoicing over ones that dry beautifully--which in the case of a gourd means hollow and hard and covered in mold. They rigorously scrub them and they carve, burn or paint them. They share them with anyone and everyone.

When they enter shows like the Ohio Gourd Show, they do so only for the personal satisfaction. The handful of ribbons Gourdo brought home will be cherished all year. He knows his garden was a success. There will be no money, no fame, no measurable glory for all his efforts, but that blue ribbon will fan the flames of his passion all year long. Way to go, Gourdo! I'm proud of you.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Butterfly Summer 2010

If I were to sum up the summer of 2010 with one word it would be this: butterflies. This was the summer of butterflies. We had hundreds of them in my little flowering oasis. Buckeyes, black swallowtails, monarchs, silver spotted skippers, sulphurs, cabbage butterflies, tiger swallowtails and more swirled in kaleidescopic frenzy about the butterfly bush and nepeta, especially. It was dazzling. I hadn't seen a buckeye since I was a child! Pictured above is just one sedum in my garden--and all of the flowers in my garden were just as loaded with butterflies. It was astonishing.
I would put a chair in the center of the garden and sit there, with scads of butterflies swirling about me and it felt like heaven must feel. Fragrant, warm, surrounded by color and beauty. Amazing.
I would be remiss if I did not at least attempt to explain my absence from this blog:
The long, dreary months of last winter gave way to a wonderful spring, and I was overjoyed. Plants that normally fail to bloom in my garden due to late freezes rewarded my impatient vigil with glorious bowers of color and fragrance. June provided warm days and plenty of rain. But the warmth grew quickly uncomfortable. There were few balmy days, but plenty of blistering ones. Thankfully, the weekly rainfall continued, but the 90+ degree heat and humidity drove me indoors, and there I languished. Without the sunshine to restore my soul, it was as though the seasonal winter blues never really left.

If I had one goal for this blog, it was to never let it get bogged down with negativity. So I quit writing. Several of my friends asked me where I'd gone and I just had nothing to say. A blue cloud had settled on me like a shroud.

Now, as I face the prospect of another winter, I am peering out of my turtle shell. I can't remain completely silent for much longer, but what direction my writing will take is a mystery even to me.