Having a little person in the house definitely sways some of the garden goodies that are grown out back. Any trip to the nursery results in an extra plant here & there, or a few extra packs of seeds. Last summer it was bottle gourds that caught his attention. And, when our then three year old has a pack of seeds in hand, and a garden box all his own, you're bound to end up with gourds everywhere. We harvested about 10 of them last Fall, and hung them in the shed out back to dry. They became covered in a coating of mold and mildew, as they hung there for the better part of 7 months. (we actually forgot about them for awhile). When they seemed to have dried underneath their mildew blanket, we rinsed them in a bleach solution to stop the aging and clean them up.
Our little man recently took a spill and fractured his hand. Now that its all wrapped in a lovely red cast, I'm on a quest to provide engaging activities that don't involve his favorites: sand, water or dirt - not an easy task! Earlier this week he had one of his best buddies over to play, so I set up a little station for them to have at the gourds. We drilled holes in each, in which to invite the birds in for a nest or two, and tied twine to the tops. They painted and painted the houses, these two. Comparing colors choices, mixing up new tones, imagining what type of bird families would like each house, and wondering if the birds would fly from our house to his to try out each of their painted houses. The finished products are awfully cute, but I think I may have enjoyed overhearing their ideas and sharing in their experiences even more so.