Note: If using Outlook click the above bar where it says “Click to download photos”  This issue has many photos so it may take a couple of extra minutes to download. 

  Artist Sheree Leonard brings grace to a handful of pine needles. This is a beautiful design and the choice of colour of the needles really compliment each other.
In This Issue: Basket making is one of the oldest crafts in history and many gourd artists utilize basketry and weaving techniques in their art. This month's featured artist, Sheree Leonard, is passionate about pine needle basketry and this passion is evident in both her art and teaching. 
Welcome Sheree, your work is truly inspiring. 
 Pine Needle Rim by Sheree Leonard
The natural markings of the shell peeking through the dye adds to the overall appeal.
We will be getting caught up on new products and workshops and as you will see from the photos, the new gourds that Carolyn and Linda have sourced will open the door for many unique creations. Don’t forget to check out this month’s specials as well – they are generous!  
The HOG’s (Happy Ontario Gourders) just completed a gourd exchange called the Spring Fling and Carolyn was thrilled when she received this colourful Monarch butterfly from Lynne Longhurst. Lynne lives in Southern Ontario and is an amazing artist who is very adventuresome in her work. Butterflies (I might add) are just one of her specialities.
To learn more about the Monarch butterfly click here.
Carolyn and Linda have decided to take a few weekends off this summer so they can attend family events. On the front page of the website, in top right hand corner, the regular hours are posted. For the weekends where Northern Dipper will be closed,  the changes will be highlighted in yellow in exactly the same spot.
Keep in mind there are many days throughout the week when Northern Dipper is open, and if this works for you, just give Carolyn a call at 705/435-3307 and set up a time.
Note: Northern Dipper will be closed on Father's Day, Sunday, June 15. 

40% off all Razertip Tips
Applies to in-stock only, limited supplies available.
To view click here.
Woodburned Minis Using A Razertip Tip
50% off on Canteens
(4, 5, and 6 inch) 
To view Canteen gourds click here.

Sheree Leonard
Celebrating A Life Long Relationship With Pine Needle Basketry   
Basketry may be defined as a primitive textile art and is one of the oldest crafts in history. Pine needle art dates back thousands of years and actually predates pottery. In every civilization, in every part of the world, basket making has been practiced, and much like the gourd, baskets were used for storage, for carrying food and water and for sifting grains.
Our featured artist Sheree Leonard has been dabbling in the art of basket making for twenty years. This life long relationship began with a basketry course, and now in addition to creating award winning art, Sheree also teaches and demonstrates throughout the year in the state of Florida.


 Sheree collects the pine needles from her yard and does all the dying herself. Pine needle baskets are durable as
well as beautiful.
“There is something magical about taking a gift from nature as basic as a bundle of pine needles or a gourd and turning it into a timeless treasure. My favourite media is working with pine needles and more recently, gourds."
"I have always been fascinated by gourds but not until about 5 years ago did I attempt to experiment with one. I attended a gourd show and purchased a book and I was hooked. What I love about working with gourds is the endless variety of techniques to be explored."
"All my designs are originals and no two are alike. Even in the dying process the shades can vary depending on the needles. So not only will my designs be different in their planning...they will also be different due to Mother Nature.”


The natural brown pine needles radiate earthy tones.
Many artists colour their pine needles using either natural or synthetic dyes. Natural dyes are pigments taken from common plants and their tones are beautiful and earthy. Examples are goldenrod for the yellows and berries for purples.
Most artists however use the synthetic dyes such as Rit. Sheree loves her Rit dye and states “I have always used Rit dye with great results. It is easy to use and even though I have experimented with many other dyes, I always go back to Rit."


"The secret to dying pine needles is to use green needles dried for about 3 weeks. I use 2 packets of dye in boiling water. Simmer the needles for about a half an hour then rinse well in cold water. Spread them out and dry well – on average for about three - four days. Favourite colours that work well with pine needles are: fuchsia, denim blue, dark green, wine, some of the purples, and tangerine."

In 1998 Sheree began teaching. She says that every where she went she received requests from "interested individuals to learn what I consider the dying art of pine needle basketry." She discovered that she loved it and currently teaches once or twice a year at Leu Gardens in Orlando Florida. She has a class coming up on the first Saturday in September of 2008. 
Sheree also demonstrates and sells her pine needle and gourd vessels 3 times a year at Pioneer Days Craft shows with a group of friends who all make wonderful hand made items. For inspiration and new ideas, Sheree attends the Florida Gourd show and take as many classes as she can. She has read several books on gourds and basketry and would like one day to publish her own book on the Art of Pine Needle Basketry.


Originally from San Francisco, California Sheree has lived in Orlando, Florida for 24 years. She has a 23-year-old daughter and lives with her husband Joe and their 2 dogs in a log cabin home surrounded by long leaf pine needle trees. Sheree can often be found bent over in her front yard picking pine needles.

For information on natural dyes and the flowers which provide the dyes click here.
For information on pine needles click here.
Thank you Sheree for this article and all the photos. Your baskets and gourd art is just tremendous. You have inspired
me & I for one will be pulling out the pine needles to use on a
few of the gourds that are sitting here waiting for rims.
All the best to you and Joe... Carolyn and Linda 

The Gourd Grow Report # 3

TIP: As soon as you see a flower with a pepo or baby gourd underneath it, you will know that it is a female flower. If these flowers are pollinated you will have gourds.
Sex In The Gourd Field
Pollination is essential for a good crop and for pollination to occur, you need flowers. In Canada the white, night-blooming gourd flowers will start appearing near the end of June. At this time there will be mostly male flowers. Be patient because in July there will be an explosion of both sexes.
Take a few minutes and note the differences in the photo between the male and female flowers. If you live in an area that has night-flying moths and insects natural pollination will occur, but if you not, you will have to play Mother Nature. Step 1 - Get out a paintbrush. Step 2 - Dab the male and then the female. Step 3 - Presto – you should get a gourd!
Those Nasty and Deadly Pests!

Cucumber beetles are approximately 1/4” long and have either black striped wings against a yellow body or spotted wings against a greenish yellow body. Its main occupation, as with most insects, is eating and reproduction. Cucumber beetles over winter in long grass or debris and in the spring the females lay their eggs in the cracks in the soil. The beetles will devour the vine, flowers and will even bore into green gourds later on in the season. These beetles spread disease such as bacterial wilt, which will decimate a gourd crop. June is a problem with this beetle, July is a bigger problem and then in August the population slows down.


For a natural approach in control Ginger Summit recommends in her book " Gourds In Your Garden," that one plant radishes around and throughout the gourd garden. Let them go to seed. She also recommends catnip or broccoli.


If you wish to use a pesticide we recommend you go to your local nursery. They will be well versed in cucumber beetle control and will be able to help you out with a product that is suitable and legal in your area.

Cutworms are the larva of a brown moth with a wing span of about 1 1/2". Cutworms are no stranger to people who have experienced damage to their lawns, and to the stems of seedlings in May and June. Cutworms feed at night and plants are often cut off completely at or just below the soil surface giving the appearance of a freshly mowed area.
To combat the cutworm:
1.) Using a flashlight (at night) look under the bottom of the plant and at the top layer of soil for cutworms. Handpick any that you find and squash them or easier yet, drown them in a bucket of soapy water.
2.) Make a collar of plastic or heavy cardboard such as toilet paper rolls to protect the stem of the plant. Plastic pop bottles or milk cartons work well too.  Place the collar around the plant and push firmly into the soil.
3.) Sprinkle crushed eggshells around the plant base. It will cause the cutworm to dehydrate and die.
4.) Diatomaceous earth, an insecticide dust, will cut the outer layer of the cutworm's body causing it to dehydrate and die. Sprinkled around the base of the plant so that the cutworm must cross it to access the plant.

For more information go to your local nursery. Be specific in telling them you want something for cutworms.

For additional tips on growing gourds check out the Northern Dipper Gourd Growing Guide here.   

Reader's Corner  

Kildeer protecting its nest by moving away and feigning a broken wing.

Hello there Readers.

This year we have Kildeers nesting at our farm for the first time and they are fascinating birds. This one laid the four eggs in our gourd patch right on the ground. The male and female stick together and when danger approaches the male makes a shrieking sound like it is hurt and just drags it's wing. When you move closer to him he jumps up and runs a few feet ahead and then drags his wings. He'll keep distracting the danger this way.


One month later: After all the hours of watching my Kildeer, there was one egg left hatching. You can actually see the fuzzy little bird starting to peck through. I was checking it every 15 min, came in for a quick dinner, and you got it, it hatched while I was in the house. I was so disappointed. Really wanted some pictures of it actually coming out of the egg! Now I'll have 4 miniature carbon copies of the mom and dad running around … I’ll get a photo for next month.


Hi Linda,
Just a short note to say thank you to both you and Carolyn for my wonderful gourd. I purchased a plain gourd at the Canada Blooms and you kindly hollowed out the appropriate holes. I am so pleased to announce that a tiny, sweet wren has made it his home.
He is now just waiting for a female wren to arrive. Such a simple thing has brought our family so much joy to watch.  He tries hard to get those sticks in anyway possible. 
Anyway thanks again and I hope to visit your location over the summer time to purchase some more.   

Sincerely, Mary Ann Moran

Hi Carolyn,
Thank you so much....great packing job, I guess I'm not a prophet! All arrived safe and sound and these look even better in person. The big gourds will make fantastic drums, they should have a real deep boom by the size....I can hardly wait to get going on them.

Don't worry I will send pictures as I finish them. The first one will be the little bottle you sent last time, I just have to stretch the head on it.
Thanks again Carolyn,

Hey there Northern Dipper

Love the newsletter…very informative, educational and fun! We look forward to it every month…we never know where your links will lead us. Keep up the good work.

Maurice and Sylvie – Montreal, Quebec
Please send pictures or comments to Reader's Corner. Click here to contribute.

Gourd Sighting 

The Greenpeace Jaguars On The Move

Industrial Agriculture Gone Wrong

The Green Peace Jaguars are a group of activists that have been fighting to protect land and Indigenous people for the past 34 years in Argentina. Currently in NW Argentina the government has sold protected land for agribusiness. Every day the roar of bulldozers is heard clearing the forest. To put it in perspective, in one hour, the size of 20 football fields is flattened. Consequently the Wichi people, who have been living in these forests for thousands of years, are being displaced.


Global Currents, a TV news program, did a series about Green Peace. In # 4 the Jaguars were profiled. Gourds were sighted when the Green Peace Jaguars were made honorary members of the Wichi tribe.

NEXT ISSUE:  Next month we are going to introduce a man who has a bigger-than-life personality. James Ozburn, more commonly known as Oz, is a self-taught artist, whose portfolio includes gourd art, furniture making and the lost art of knot making. Oz’s gourd art is pretty amazing. His subject matter is vast and ranges from detailed wood burned portraits of friends and family to sexy lizard ladies. We are certain that you are going to enjoy Oz, his art and his words of advice and humour.


Pruning and powdery mildew will be in the forefront in our ongoing series on gourd growing. By the beginning of July you will have lots of flowers to pollinate every night…get in practice and get out there in June. Every flower you pollinate may be a gourd, and the earlier pollination occurs, the longer season that gourd has to mature. 

And now for our monthly bit of fun. On Saturday morning we were listening to GO on CBC Radio. Host Brent Bambury had people from the audience come up and demonstrates their special talents. There was an 11-year-old violinist who had been studying since she was two and a half. There was a man who could imitate a loon. But the most interesting was the man who could put his body through a squash racket. If you have not seen a man do this before, here's your chance. Check it out at -    

                                Happy trails....                      
Carolyn Cooper and Linda Bond
© Northern Dipper 2008

Back issues of our newsletter Gourd Fever are available at

Volume 4, Number 41 


In this Issue: 
Sheree Leonard - Bringing Back the Art of Pine Needle Basketry
The Two P's in Gourd Growing -Pollination and Pests
Dear Carolyn! PLUS Reader's Corner
Gourd Sightings & Trivia  

At Northern Dipper Farm
 These curly dippers are made for sculpture...
and wouldn't the maranka make a cool purse. Just think of the doorstop made from the goose... now that would be a real
conversation piece!
NOTE: Some gourds and supplies are only available through farm visits due to their large sizes and different shapes and will be noted on the website. To view these speciality gourds click here.
   Northern Dipper has everything you
need to make drums… gourds, rings, pre-cut
skins in 10, 12, 14, 16, and 18 inch, and cord.
For skins, rings and cord click here.
For drums click on the speciality gourd link listed above.
Try numerous ways, both ancient and contemporary, to construct a variety of drums. This book offers drum making basics to drum project examples. For more info click here. 

 Carolyn is offering 12 different workshops in the month of June. This ‘Sculpted Pitcher’ combines an Indonesian gourd and dye techniques. The result: this stunning pitcher. 
 The drum that you make in the 'Drum Making' workshop will bring out your primal rhythms.
For details on these and 10 other gourding workshops click here.

Sheree Leonard 
  Sheree holding one of her winning gourds.
 We love this hot pink rim!

 Wood burned and dyed gourd
Advice To New Gourders 
"My advice is to take as many classes as you
can. I took my first basic basket class out of curiosity and opened up a creative outlet I now could not live without."
"Experiment with as many materials as possible. Pine needles are my favorite but as you can
see I like to incorporate various fibres, reed and philodenrum leaves into my designs as well."
Advice On The Use of Pine Needles
1.) Gather dry pine needles in the late summer
or early fall. Never pull the needles from the trees, always gather them from the ground. Choose the longest, strongest, most
flexible needles. Leave any that are
close to black or brittle.
2.) Store them with sheath (capped) ends together in bundles bound on both ends with rubber bands. They can be stored in cardboard boxes - pack them loose.
3.) Before using collected pine needles, wash them in a mild soap / detergent and rinse well. Pine needles bought from reputable suppliers will not need washing. 
4.) Soften the pine needles before using by soaking them for 1/2 hour in hot water.
5.) To store  wrap the soaked needles in a towel and store inside a plastic bag.
6.) Keep in the fridge. Use within two days to avoid the needles going moldy.  
 This basket has been embellished with beads.
 Dyed needles match the gourd.  
Here is a sample of a Wartie gourd 
with a pine needle rim. 
 "Last year, on a recommendation from a dear Canadian friend, I entered a wood burned
and dyed gourd trimmed with pine needles in
the Florida Gourd Show and won First Place
in my category and Best of Show.  I was 
so surprised and so happy!" 
"I have also done several special order
pieces and have displayed in local galleries. Presently I attend 3 shows a year."

The Gourd Grow Report # 3

This photo was taken on June 19, 2005.

 Where Do The Flowers Grow?
On the main vine (the thick vine going up the wire) is where the male flowers sit. On the side or lateral vines that will grow out from the main vine is where the female flowers sit.  
TOP: The female flower - A deep gold center and bumpy in appearance. There is a pepo
 (baby gourd) directly under the blossom.
BOTTOM: The male flower - Pale yellow center
and more recessed than the female. Some nights the centers are thick with pollen.
 Spotted and Striped Cucumber Beetles
Cutworm Larva  
Healthy Seedlings
By the 2nd-3rd week of July this is what your gourd patch will look like. Notice the
multitude of the night-blooming flowers. 

Farm Life
 Mom sitting on her nest.
Break time
See how perfectly the eggs are laid out.
The pointed ends of the eggs are all facing towards the centre of the nest.
Here you can see the baby starting to hatch.

Workshop Photos

Drum circles are popular among both children and adults from all walks of life. It is a real thrill to be able to play a drum that you made from start to finish. To learn about the many types of drum circles click here.

Here are Marilyn and Annemarie holding the drums that they made in the Northern Dipper drum making workshop.
Sanding the rims smooth and even. 
Stringing the drums.
Colleen and BJ learning philodendron

 Flat Stanley was sent to us by our 7 year
old nephew who lives in New Lowell, Ontario. Flat Stanley is a school program where the kids make a 'paper doll' and send it to friends and relatives all over the world. The return package includes photos, postcards, etc and through
it the entire class will learn history,
geography and many other things.
As you can see Royal was not too impressed
by all the hoopla and just wished this
cardboard figure would go home!

Designed & Published by
Pam Grossi
1535 Myrtle Ave
Victoria, BC, V8R 2Z7

 Northern Dipper Farm
5376 County Rd 56, RR # 2
Cookstown, Ont, L0L 1L0
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Northern Dipper Farm - 5376 County Road 56, RR2, Cookstown, Ontario, L0L 1L0, Canada