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Meet the Columnist

Columnist, Sheila Moss, is humor writer from  Tennessee. She writes  a weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny things that happen to everyone.

   She has written for  the Daily News of Kingsport,   Griffin Journal, Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton Advocate,  and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal. She has been published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks at Guidepost Books.  Her articles have appeared in numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.

    She is a former board member and past  Editor of  the Columnists.com, website of  the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, the oldest and largest professional organization for columnists. She is the Web Editor of Southern
Humorists.com
  and  a founder of the Southern Humorists writers' organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of HumorColumnist.com

    To carry her weekly column in your newspaper, or to republish an article, please contact her. It's that easy. 

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One Stupid Gourd...
 


One Stupid Gourd


The pictures on the gourd seed packages were so pretty that I couldn't resist purchasing a package. I could hardly wait for the ground to become warm enough to plant them. I fanaticized about the colorful crafts I would make.  I would have bright orange mini pumpkins, green striped gourds, and yellow fruits to decorate for fall.

Next problem, where to plant them? I have a large yard, but I didn't want to bother with digging up grass. I found a nice spot behind the fence where grass had been cleared away. I could easily dig that up and plant my seeds.

And so I did: Braving the scorching sun, measuring the distance between the holes, carefully dropping two seeds in each hole in case one didn't germinate.  I expected that my gourds would be big and beautiful, just like the pictures on the package.

Gourds are supposed to be easy to grow without much intervention, but I intervened anyhow. I checked the patch daily and before long tiny sprouts started appearing. Success! They are growing. I found a package of liquid fertilizer in the garage and gave them a drink of water spiked with the growth drug. It couldn't hurt to give them a little extra nourishment.

The leaves became large and green. The lush vines grew over the top of the 6 foot fence. They were strong vines with little curly things that help them to stay attached to whatever they were growing on. Giant orange blossoms soon appeared. I was thrilled. If I have a fruit for every blossom, I will have bushels, I thought. But not every blossom creates a gourd.

I looked up “How to Grow Gourds” on the internet and read all the comments. They are easy to grow and require little care. “Easy to Grow” is the magic word as far as I'm concerned. I weeded and watered all summer long, braving the heat, sweating, slapping mosquitoes, scratching chiggers and nursing sunburn.

After jumping the fence the monster vines tried to take over the patio. They grew foot long runners over night. I turned the vines around and routed them back to where they came from before they covered the entire house. I was afraid to go to bed at night lest they grow through the windows.

Although the vines continued to grow, I saw no baby gourds. It must be too early. Finally, I saw a small orange ball in the shadows of the leaves. From the numerous gardening articles I had read, I knew that it should not be picked until the vine died. I waited.  At last the vines began to dry up and it was time to pick the gourds.

While I was researching gourd growing, I also studied articles about how to dry decorative gourds. I spent hours studying so I could do everything exactly right. I read about the various ways that gourds can be dried and what to do to kill bacteria that might cause them to rot.

I went outside ready to harvest, but there was only one gourd. After I slaved away in the heat and spent hours doing research -- one lousy gourd! This was the entire crop for the summer? And it wasn't even a decent gourd. It was a tiny orange orb about 2 inches in diameter. It will probably rot like 50% of its siblings. I don't know why there were no gourds. I can only guess that the bees were loafing on the job and didn't pollinate the flowers.

So, I ended up buying gourds at Walmart. "Did you grow those gourds?" Honey asked, seeing them in a bowl on the table. I was too aggravated to reply.

One stupid gourd for all my trouble?

 

© Copyright 2015 Sheila Moss - All rights reserved

 
 



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