Photo courtesy of tspaceonline.com
Perhaps one of the oldest uses for gourds are as vessels for holding and transporting liquids. Dippers, bowls and drinking vessels have historically been crafted from gourds by peoples from around the world.
Have you heard of the drink called yerba mate? An infusion that hails from Argentina, it has become increasing popular over the years, due in part to its rejuvenating and antioxidant properties. This link will tell you all about how to prepare the drink and its history, but what we want you to know is that the bitter infusion is prepared in – and consumed from – a gourd in combination with a metal straw called a bombilla. Our raw roger gourds could be used in crafting a mate gourd, if you so choose. They are also offered for sale at Guayaki and other online vendors.
Curing Your Mate Gourd
We recommend that you “cure” your gourd prior to your first use. This helps to protect the gourd for yerba mate use.
1. Using a teaspoon, scrape the inside of the gourd to remove any loose skin and debris.
2. Fill the gourd ½ full with dry loose yerba mate.
3. Carefully top off the gourd with boiling water. Note: when drinking yerba mate later, DO NOT use boiling water as this can burn your mouth and also harms the flavor of the yerba.
4. After a few minutes the water level should go down as it soaks into the yerba leaves. When this happens, carefully top off the gourd again with boiling water.
5. Let the gourd sit for about 12 hours to allow the yerba mate mixture to penetrate the gourd completely.
6. Empty and rinse the gourd with hot tap water.
7. Scrape the inside again (see step one).
8. Rinse with clean hot tap water and dry quickly and completely (see care instructions).
Caring For Your Gourd
Following a timely cleaning and drying routine after each use, storing your mate in a dry location, and inspecting the gourd prior to each use, should keep your gourd clean.
1. Immediately after each use, empty the gourd of yerba and rinse the gourd with clean clean tap water (if you use hot tap water it will help it dry faster).
2. Hand dry the gourd with a clean towel. (A towel will not completely dry the gourd but helps removes the excess water so the gourd dries faster). Prompt and complete drying is necessary to prevent mold growth.
3. Place the gourd upside down on a rack in a dry location and allow it to dry completely. It may be necessary to dry the gourd near some source of dry heat like a home heat radiator. However, be careful not to place the gourd near a flame or where it could catch fire – the gourd is flammable!
4. When your gourd is dry, store your gourd right-side-up in a well ventilated area. We recommend storing it near a window where sunlight can enter the gourd to help prevent mold or mildew.
5. Always inspect the gourd before each use to make sure your gourd is clean.
This coming Saturday, November 19th, during our Winter Open House we will be holding a Painting Class! Participants will have the opportunity to add their own personal touch to this lit winter scene gourd.
Our customers are always so creative! We look forward to seeing the finished gourds. All skill levels welcome. There are a few openings still available. Email email@example.com to reserve your space at either the 11:00-12:30 class or 1:30-3:00 class. The cost is $30.
We’re so glad that we had such a great turn out for our Gourd Egg Hunt a couple weekends ago. But in case you didn’t get a chance to come and have fun with us then and since Easter is on Sunday, we thought we’d share some great ways to have an egg hunt at your own home!
The great thing about egg hunts are that they are such a classic way to have fun with your kids on Easter. If you’re working with different age groups, be sure to accommodate for all. Try assigning a different color egg to find for each child or make it into more of a scavenger hunt by making a list for the kids to find – for example, 2 red eggs, 4 blue eggs, 3 purple eggs, etc.
While a lot of the eggs can be filled with candy treats, consider adding stickers or bouncy balls as prizes inside the eggs!
One suggestion that we found to be very interesting is to change up the time of your hunt. Instead of having it in the morning or during the day, consider giving the kids flashlights and heading out to look for their eggs at dusk! Could put an interesting twist on this contest.
As January comes to a close, we realize that Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. While a store bought bouquet of roses or a box of chocolates would be a nice gift, what mother doesn’t enjoy receiving a homemade card from her children!? We found some cute and easy homemade card ideas from Kaboose.com
that both kids and mom will enjoy!
This first card idea is both fun and easy for kids of all ages.
Allow the younger children to use glitter to jazz up their creations. Meanwhile, the older kids can create shapes using scissors and different designs of paper. For more detailed information on required materials and this simple project check out: http://crafts.kaboose.com/valentine_homemade.html
The next card idea allows kids to literally get “hands on” with their project.
Here’s a suggestion: pair one of these charming homemade cards with one of our precious Meadowbrooke gourds.
“He’ll steal mom’s heart!”
This gourd would make a cute night light!
Click here for more information.
One weekend left!
This is the last weekend of our October Open House, so be sure to come by if you’re in the area. Today and tomorrow – the 22nd and 23rd – you can still pick your own gourds for Halloween and Thanksgiving. Also, on Saturday, we are giving wagon rides and tours of our plant. There will also be another great sale and a bonfire in the evening! It’ll be accompanied by an auction and – you’ll love this – live music! Click here for all the details.
Coming up very soon, another look at the progress of the gourds we are drying and documenting for you!
Photos from our Create Your Own Jack O’Lantern event…
We start with your imagination…
…one of our artists cuts the design into your gourd
…and here's the Jack o' Lantern!
Surely you can come up with something more creative than our Billy Jack family.
Hello, everyone. First, just a reminder about this weekend’s Open House activities. You can always pick your own pumpkin or gourd, but this is the second weekend for our Create Your Own Jack-O’-Lantern activities. You pick the gourd, your draw the design, and our artists carve it on your gourd for you. You can enter your creation in our contest, if you like. Maybe yours will be the one chosen to be in our new catalog! Click here for more information.
We’re starting a project on our blog. We’ve talked about drying, cleaning, and crafting a gourd, and we will continue to do that. But now we’ve got a couple that you can go through the process with us, step by step. On the right
Here they are, right off the farm.
are two gourds, a martin and a gooseneck. What is in front of them for scale is the case from an audio cassette tape (Remember those?). They’re just off the farm and we are beginning the process of drying them. As we’ve suggested you do, we have them set up off the ground. It will not hurt them to sit directly on the ground, it just slows the drying process. Periodically throughout the winter, we’ll check back on these and show you the gourds at the various stages of drying.
If your weather is anything like ours right now, it’s beautiful out and a perfect week to pick a pumpkin and create a Jack-O’-Lantern.
Hey there, everybody. We just want to remind you about all the fun activities going on at Meadowbrooke Gourds during our Open House all during the month of October. Every weekend has something for everyone and great family adventures. First of all, throughout the month, weekdays as well as weekends, you can pick your own pumpkin and ornamental gourds. These can make beautiful centerpieces and other decorations for the season. Read all about our pumpkin patch in this previous post.
But get there early. They go fast!
Starting tomorrow – Oct. 1st & 2nd – is our much anticipated Oops! Sale. You’ll get fantastic discounts on our beautiful gourds that have minor flaws and defects. (Many flaws you won’t even be able to tell, but they didn’t make our standards to be on the shelf.) This weekend and the 30th we have Gourd Painting classes as well!
Our Own Jack-o'-Edgar
Discover the artist in you on the second and third weekends – Oct. 8th & 9th and Oct. 15th & 16th – when you draw a design and we carve that exact drawing on a gourd to create your own unique Jack-o’-Lantern. And here’s something special: At least one of the best of these will be featured in our 2011 catalog! Your design may be sold nation-wide!
October 22nd & 23rd we will offer tours of or farm, Wagon Rides, and a special Customer Appreciation Sale. You’ll get 25% off anything in our retail store. Perhaps best of all is the bonfire on Saturday evening, featuring live music, an auction, and FREE hotdogs and soda. Download the flier so you know what’s going on when. We’ll remind you, too, as each weekend approaches. If you’re not already a member of our Facebook Fan Page, we will be updating with pictures from our open house events! We are also running a Facebook contest throughout the month of October.
We hope to see you this weekend!
Last year's Fall Open House Oops! Sale
October is so filled with activities for us here at Meadowbrooke Gourds and all of them are great family activities! Here are a couple highlights of what’s going on…
As part of our Fall Open House events, the first is our Oops! Sale on October 1st and 2nd, a Friday and Saturday. It’s just what you’re probably thinking it is, items that have a
Oops! Sale photo
flaw so small you might not even notice it. But we do, so we won’t sell it as first quality. We know many people who are familiar with us wait all year for this sale, so if you’re interested, it only happens twice a year!
We have painting classes on those days, too. Class sizes are always limited, so signing up as soon as possible will ensure your spot!
Our large, lit Billy Jack
The following two weekends are Create-your-Own Jack O’Lantern events! You draw it and we’ll carve it into the gourd for you! Yours may even be judged the best, and you’ll appear in our 2011 catalog!
There are wagon rides, tours, auctions, live music, and various other activities throughout the month, and we’ll remind you of them as they get closer. Be sure to “like” us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to stay updated with our latest events and gourds. Fall is one of our favorite times of the year and we hope to see you out at the farm at one of our events!
Meadowbrooke Gourds pumpkin patch
It’s time to start getting excited about pumpkins again! Fall decorating is not complete without pumpkins! Not to mention, Halloween will be upon us sooner than you think, and we all need our jack o’ lanterns to scare away the restless spirits that prowl the night on All Hallows Eve. The holiday has a truly fascinating history, and we will share some of that with you, but first things first. You’ve got to get your pumpkin.
For the first time, this year we are offering you the chance to pick your own pumpkin!
And you won’t be picking from pumpkins piled up on tables and in boxes. You’ll go out into our pumpkin patch and pick one right off the vine. You can combine trips and pick a pumpkin at our Oops! Sale the first weekend in October.
The 2nd and 3rd weekends of the Open House would be perfect, too, since they’re Create your Own Jack o’ Lantern weekends. Of course, those jack o’ lanterns will be made from dried gourds, like the martin and the bottle gourds, but still…
And you can’t beat the prices! They’ll run about $1–6. Get each of your kids their own pumpkin! Get one for the dog, too.
You can create beautiful, ornate designs… (emptyeasel.com)
If you were around in the late 60’s, you might have a wood burning kit tucked away in a closet somewhere. They’re a perennial favorite, but it seemed back then, you just had to have one or you were not cool…or groovy. Well, you might want to dig yours out of that closet because there’s another way to use it.
You can wood burn a raw cleaned gourd exactly the way you do wood!
…or start with something simpler. (artinstructionblog.com)
It’s even easier with gourds for several reasons: One is they’re lighter, easier to deal with. For its weight, gourds are much lighter than wood. And while something like balsa wood might be just as light, or lighter, they do not have anywhere near the durability of gourds. Another advantage: You never have to deal with the grain of wood. Gourds don’t have any grain. And you never have to worry about hitting a knot. Boy, that can mess things up when you’re working with wood! But not a worry here.
Meadowbrooke Gourds offers raw, cleaned gourds at our retail store and online! Click here to view what’s available. We’ve got over 35 different ones, some partly crafted – a hole for a birdhouse, say, or the top cut off for a bowl. Most are just the whole gourd, though.
There are soooooo many ways to craft with gourds that we couldn’t begin to name even a fraction of them here, but we’ll discuss others regularly in this blog.
This can be a great family activity, especially if your kids are too young to be turned loose with a wood burning iron on their own.