Note: If using Outlook click the above bar where it says “Click to download photos” The photos are the best part.


            Cannonball Gourd by Ivy Howard

In This Issue: 
Ivy Howard is a passionate artist. Growing up in a home filled with paint, clay and a kiln, gourds seemed like a natural extension of sorts many years later. Each of Ivy's gourds are uniquely different and portray the creative depths her mind moves in. 

Ivy is also an award-winning basket designer. The twelve inch pine needles she uses are transformed into works of art that are showing up in collections across the U.S. Please welcome Ivy Howard to the October issue of Gourd Fever.

                      Basket by Ivy Howard

It is harvest time and throughout the country farmers are busy getting in their crops. In Ken Carlson's garden he is busy thinking about his upcoming harvest along with thoughts about longevity and health. Of course Paula and her 96 year old mother are there to help him out with their take on the subject. Hilarious as only Ken can be, enjoy this month's essay The Secret to Health and Longevity.
             Michelle Ballantyne's Snowmen 
Our mailbag was bulging at the seams with photos and comments and then there is the usual trivia. We like the trivia as we get to learn something new every month. For example our "Other Stuff" segment is all about the promiscuous female mouse. The reason for this behavior is not what you may think. But before we get to that let's introduce this month's featured artist Ivy Howard. 

Ivy Howard: Art - Forms A Bridge For Communication
There is an old saying that you can take the girl off the farm but you cannot take the farm out of the girl. This proves true in the case of Ivy Howard. Growing up on a Iowa farm with her 6 siblings, Ivy gave up the farm life and moved to Colorado as a young woman. There she got married, began a 25 year career as an orthopedic nurse and now retired, lives up in the Colorado mountains.
Looking back Ivy states that during childhood she was always surrounded by multiple forms of art. Her mother, creative in her way, filled the house with clay, molds, paints, brushes, a kiln, fabric, yarn and an environment which invited experimentation. For many years, Ivy's passion was tole painting.
Once Ivy discovered gourds however, her passion changed lanes and she found that she was content with just focusing on gourds alone. She bought gourd books, took classes, attended gourd festivals and spent hours surfing the Internet. She claimed that it must have been the farm girl in her that drew her to the humble gourd.
Ivy's approach varies from gourd to gourd. She often lays inlay polished cabochons in her work or uses smaller cabs for accents. Ivy has a collector's personality and has accumulated an array of interesting, unusual stones and it may be the pattern or shape of the stone that triggers the design. Sometimes it is the gourd itself that speaks to her.
As you can see from Ivy's work, her style lends itself to a clean, uncluttered design. She believes her style has evolved into a more free-flowing creative line. She is willing to take risks and tackle more difficult and time-consuming designs.
In addition to gourd art Ivy's is well-known for her basket designs. She states that pine needle basketry was actually an extension of working with gourd rims. She prefers to use the Southern long leaf pine needles which are about 12 inches long. She loves the feel of them and appreciates the wonder and flexibility of the wood-like needles.
Ivy has done some teaching but it is not really her thing. She exhibits at 4 - 5 juried summer art shows in Colorado and Utah and in the winter  spends her time building inventory. 
She is eager to continue exploring the possibilities with gourds and has many ideas she wants to implement. Chucking she explains that with every gourd she thinks...'next time I'll try (fill in the blank...)' In addition to creating art, Ivy became an American Gourd Society Certified Judge and hopes to do some judging in the near future. 
On a personal note Ivy and her husband divide their time between summers in the mountains and winters in Arizona. She adds that her husband is her biggest supporter/promoter/helper in all of her gourd endeavors. 
Ivy enjoys traveling, hiking, photography, golfing and spending time with family and friends. She has 3 children and 5 grandchildren ranging in age from 2 months to 18 years.
To see more of Ivy's art click here:
A venue where Ivy demos and sells her work:


Ken Carlson: The Secrets To Health and Longevity

The time is almost here when we get to enjoy the work of a long summer. Since the spring we've pulled, carried, watered, bent and dug. Finally, after weeks of devotion, we've reached the reward of the harvest.
Harvest: noun, a season for gathering the crops; the product of our action. Our action...what is the product of our action?
This is must understand that I was a math major in college and tend to think in numbers, stats and percentages. In writing for this newsletter I have concluded that due to the product of our action, the readers will live 5 - 10 years longer than the average person.
They will have better health, both physically and mentally and a better quality of life. Why? Because it is the kind of newsletter that gives help, advice and encouragement to "do" something. What kind of something...pulling, hoeing, bending, walking and thinking.
OK, you can see where this is going:
People who have a hobby, who exercise, think and problem solve, who breath fresh air and are passionate about something live longer. (One study suggested that every smile and laugh adds 20 seconds to your life.)
This is not just my opinion, it is fact. It...wait...
hold that thought for a second...I can hear what sounds like a small pack of hyenas in the kitchen. Oh, is my wife Paula (English major, cumma su or sumo cu... well anyway she was second in the class of 1974 at N.S.U.) and her 96 year old mother (school teacher extraordinaire for most of the years A.D.).
As I listen to them I think it can only be about 3 things: 1.) They are correcting the grammatical errors in their small hometown weekly newsletter. 2.) They have found something else about the article I wrote 2 months ago - you remember - the little guys. It can't be though - that article has been scrutinized by all family members, friends and their relatives for over two months, two holiday weekends, four birthdays and five family get-togethers. 3.) They found the first draft of my article this month.
I know better but I enter "the den" pretending that I need a diet coke. "Say Ken" starts the informative one, then she pauses. She always pauses until I stop and give her my full attention (teaching first grade since the first printing press has given her the patience of Job) "Do you think," she continues "that I'd live a little longer if I subscribed to that newsletter you write for?" "Why Mother," Paula jumps in before the other one starts chuckling, "I'm startled that you thought of that, but it does seem obvious."
They're both laughing at me now as I grab the diet Coke and try to slink out of the kitchen. "Mother," Paula continues with tears running down her cheeks, "If you had been a faithful reader of his newsletter you would have had better health. Didn't you stay at home from school that one day when I was in high school?"
"Oh yes," her mother replied, breathing into a paper bag now trying not to hyperventilate. "Otherwise I would have had perfect attendance for almost 50 years."
"If you only had Kens' newsletter back then," my current wife mumbled into the dishtowel she was using to dry her tears.
"And I would have been so much smarter too," the ancient one injected into the laugh-a-thon with no pause at all, a first in my 34 years as her daughter's unfortunate other.
I pick up the draft off the counter and continued into my office. I considered writing about something different for this month, but decided that I would sound-proof my office instead. Might as well since I couldn't go back out there until after they were done calling all the relatives.
I started rereading my article and it didn't sound as good as I had previously thought. Once again I can only hope that some of my readers got as much enjoyment out of the article as Paula and Company did!
PS If you want to hear about an excellent harvest,  call my mom (Read about how to harvest in The Gourd Jungle in the right hand column.)


Out Of The Mailbag

Hello there,
Thought I would send this photograph of me with my two granddaughters. As you can see they love gourds as much as me. They will be thrilled when the birds start nesting in the houses they painted. 
If I ever make it to Northern Dipper Farm I figure we can trade gourds for lobster. How's that for a deal!
                            Dave Bradshaw - Nova Scotia
You've got a deal Dave. Thanks for writing. Carolyn


Hi Carolyn and Linda,
Here are a couple of photos of myself (on the left)and my friend and gourd enthusiast Nancy Hind at the Parry Sound Summer Market. As you can see from our smiles we are having a terrific time. Thank you for introducing us to gourds; they are fantastic to work with and attract a lot of attention at a show.
                                              Michelle Ballantyne 
Thanks for the photos! See you soon... Carolyn and Linda                                   
Michelle is the owner of Northern Whimsies, Home of Natural Woodcrafts. To see what Michelle and Nancy are up to click here:
  Michelle and Nancy's Birdhouses & Feeders

Hi Northern Dipper,
Thought you might get a kick out of this picture. This is part of the Laguna Laughter Yoga Club that meets at Main Beach at 8:00 am everyday except on Saturdays when we meet at 10 am.

The 3 in the front are visiting from Japan (from a Laugh Club there) The one in the middle next to me is Jeffery - the leader. The rest are all friends and artists. You ought to try it sometime. It is good for you!

My new friend who lives 4 doors down from me took the picture. Her name is Bonnie too - Boy are we going to have fun!
                                 Love lots, Bonnie Leigh
Thanks Bonnie! (Bonnie Leigh is a fellow gourd artist and will be a featured artist in the new year.)
To learn about the Laguna Laughter Yoga Club click here:
To hear the Laughter Club Song click here:

Looking Ahead: November 2013

Perfect pie apples from a heritage tree that is 110 years old. The neighbourhood is dotted with these trees - they are from the original farm that claimed the land in 1903.

There are many different styles and techniques in gourd art and one that is a favorite among many is pyrography. Next month we are very pleased to have with us Reggie Eakins, an artist who has perfected the art of pyrography. Reggie is the owner of Southern Gourds and his work is outstanding.
His images, taken from the wild west and from deep in the oceans, are alluring in their detail and story-telling. His skill in handling a wood-burning tool is apparent. We look forward to presenting Reggie Eakins, his art and his outlook on the future of gourd art.
Our time with Ken Carlson is quickly coming to an end but we can expect one last essay from him much to our delight. We will also have one last report on growing in The Gourd Jungle. There are always questions that come up at the end of the season and it helps people plan for next year's crop.
We are busy with the shows during November and December so for any planned trips out to Northern Dipper Farm please call first. If you happen to be at one of the Christmas shows please stop by and hello. We would love to meet you. 
                                          See you soon....
                          Carolyn Cooper and Linda Bond

PS Do you have photos, ideas or comments ? Sent them in to:



































































 Volume 9, Number 103 


In this issue:

Ivy Howard: Art Forms A Bridge For Communication
The Bulletin Board: News From Northern Dipper
Ken Carlson: The Secrets To Health & Longevity  
The Gourd Jungle: Tips For The Home Gourd Gardener

Out Of The Mailbag, Gourd Sightings and Trivia

The Bulletin Board

Upcoming Shows

Ball's Falls Conservation Area
When: Oct. 11 - 14, 2013
Where: 3292 Sixth Ave, Jordan Ont.

Sugar Plum Show
When: Nov 9 - 10, 2013 
Where: Nottawasga Inn

Home For The Holidays
When: Nov 15 - 17, 2013
Where: Markham Fairgrounds
Markham, Ont.

One Of A Kind
Christmas Show
When: Nov 28 - Dec 8, 2013
Where: Direct Energy Centre

Originals Christmas Craft Show
When: December 12-22, 2013
Where: Ernst & Young Centre, Ottawa, Ontario

Ivy Howard

"Gourds really do talk to you
 if you'll listen!"

"One day, about 13 years
ago, a friend told me she
had taken a class on
weaving a pine needle
rim to a gourd. I was
intrigued and when she  showed me how it was
done, my interest in this
 art form soared."

"On her recommendation I purchased Judy Mallow's
 book "Pine Needle Basketry-From Forest Floor to Finished Product" and off I went.
Judy's website is:

"Inspiration for me can
come from anything - 
 the shape of a leaf or petal
 to the ripples in the sand at
the beach. I try to observe
my surroundings and identify pleasing lines or interesting shapes and recreate them
in my gourds or baskets."


Words of Advice For
New Artists

"I recall my early years
 working on gourds and the misgivings I had about not
doing something 'right' in
working with them. I would
hope that newcomers to
this art form will just roll up
their sleeves and dig in."
"Give yourself permission to experiment and practice,
practice, practice."

"Join a gourd society or
local patch to avail yourself
 of all the support that entails. Sign up for gourd related newsletters."
"Read excellent site is Bonnie Gibson's Gourd Art Enthusiasts at: will learn lots!"

"I believe that art in all forms
 has the potential to form a
bridge between people who
may otherwise not share a
form of communication. It is
a means of self-expression
 for the artist and contributes
to all our humanity."

Ivy's Christmas Fun

The Gourd Jungle:
Tips For The Home Gourd Gardener

The Harvest and Preparing Your Gourds For Drying
Next in the process of growing gourds is the harvest and the drying. Drying takes a few months and some varieties, like the Cannonballs, generally take longer than other varieties. Here are some recommendations to ensure that your gourds dry well.

When to Harvest?
Do not harvest until after the first hard frost. A hint - the leaves will be brown and dead. This is when it it time to get out your garden pruners.

       Trellised Gourds             
 The gourds can stay on the vines all winter hanging on the trellis. They will dry beautifully. You will not have to bother with them until spring.

Ground Grown Gourds:
Cut the gourds from the vines leaving a couple of inches of stem attached. If the gourds have any soft spots or seem really immature leave them.

The key to drying gourds
is to provide good air circulation around each gourd. You can place them on pallets or thick screens.

Some people store them in unheated sheds or garages. Leave a little space between them. Make sure to check them periodically as immature gourds rot into a slimy pool and it is much easier to grab them earlier rather than cleaning up the mess later.

Lastly, clean up your growing area. Get rid of the old dead vines as they can harbor disease. If you plan to grow in the same area next year spread a layer of thick compost. Over the winter it will enrich the soil giving a head start to the seedlings you will be putting in next spring.

Gourd Sighting

Antonella, our favorite gourd spotter, saw this on the Better Homes and Gardens website.

It is interesting that they are green gourds. Keep in mind that these will mold over. Thanks Antonella! You are
 the best.
Check out Better Homes & Gardens at:

It's A Dog's Life
This is a bad year for ticks.
These parasites are bad
news for both humans and animals as they can transmit infectious disease including Lyme Disease, ehrlichiosis  and paralysis.

Ticks hide out in long grass
or on plants in wooded
areas. As your dog (and yourself) walk through these areas the tick attaches
and proceeds to feed
on its host's blood.

After a walk look over your dog carefully. Ticks like ears and folds of skin; with our
dog they loved her chest.

To remove use tweezers or
a specially designed tick removal tool found at pet stores. Place your tweezers as close to the skin as possible and pull the tick
out using a straight out,
slow motion. Do not twist.

If part of the head is left in
 try to remove it with the tweezers. If you can't grasp
it, it will eventually fall out on its own. Clean the spot with a mild soap and warm water.

There are things available through your vet for fleas & ticks. Give them a call to learn more.

For more on the removal of ticks click here:

Music Pick Of The Month

The Artists:
Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
The Songs:
Fiya Wata

 "Other Stuff"

People have always known that female mice were promiscuous but no one knew why until now. Researchers from the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna have found that female mice will mate with several males 
when they can chose their own partners.
The reason for this female mouse behavior
 is that male mice (male rodents in general) tend to
kill the young. This infanticide rate increases when the
males are virgins.
The females can tell the virgins
 by their scent markings
 and these are the partners they chose.

Once again nature never ceases to amaze. The
female mice are doing
whatever it takes to protect her offspring and that's what is
all about isn't it...the reproduction of the species.

Published by:
Pam Grossi
Victoria, BC, V8R 2Z7

Northern Dipper
PO Box 1145
5376 County Road 56
 Cookstown, Ontario
L0L 1L0, Canada
(705) 435-3307
  © Northern Dipper 2013. All rights reserved. No portion of this newsletter may be used in any form without prior written permission from the authors.
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