Sunday, September 16, 2012

Gourds, Goldenrod, California Condor

I love this time of year, cool mornings and evenings with leaves starting to fall. When I'm at the grocery store I look for these colorful bumpy gourds. Just yesterday they showed up, so I got a small bag for display. They'll last quite a while as a still life, much longer than cut flowers. Here are the gourds in my rusty look, rustic basket.

I've seen goldenrod growing along the roadside here but haven't stopped to pick a bunch. Seeing it reminded me of a drive Gary and I took up Blue Ridge National Wildlife Refuge in 2007 when we lived in California. The goldenrod there is much sparser than it is here due to the hot and dry terrain; I guess there are hundreds of varieties.

The Blue Ridge Refuge was set aside to help protect the California condor, the largest North American land bird. In 1987 there were only 22 condors left in the wild and all were captured and taken to the San Diego Zoo for protection and breeding. In 1991 condors were reintroduced back into the wild. At this time there are 405 known condors with 226 living in the wild. Thank goodness their numbers are returning. At an almost ten foot wing span, seeing a condor in the wild must really be something. Can you imagine one riding the thermals? Photo by Phil Armitage released to the public domain. Happy almost Autumn to you.


  1. my gourds are curing now- they are so cool. What a wonder they are.

  2. Hi Meredith, thanks, are you growing this type of gourd or the smooth kind, I do love them. I like the Indian corn too, such beautiful fall colors.

  3. How wonderful that they were able to increase the condor population by so much. I can imagine they must be quite a sight.

    I always feel a bit of trepidation cutting flowers, as they are then on their way out of this world. The zinnias keep coming back the more you cut, and they are hanging on despite a frost already, but gourds do make wonderful still lifes of much longer duration.

  4. Hi Teresa, thanks, I was amazed at learning about the condors because I remembered when they took all the wild ones and put them in the zoo and I felt so bad at the time and then I read just today about their successes with the bird and now I wonder if saw one flying where I lived and just didn't know it was a condor, as I have just learned they were nesting nearby our former home.

    I normally don't like to cut flowers but I know there are plenty of goldenrod growing. I like to show how my vases look with flowers and the goldenrod seemed an inexpensive way to do that with a seasonal display.

    Oh I do like zinnias and their seeds can be saved for next year, they last quite long in a vase and the butterflies love them too.

  5. My hat's off to you if you can live in the same room as a vase of goldenrod. It holds no place in my heart. The comeback of an endangered species, however, is wonderful. We now have bald eagles nesting in the valley, along side the blue herons. People should get along as well!

  6. for years i bought gourds every fall, always a combination of the bumpy and the smooth. they look great in your basket.

  7. That's a lovely still life you've created with your gourds, and the towers look full of Eastern Promise! :)

  8. I have been amazed at the incredible amount of goldenrod this year! As I drive around and see ditches full of it, I wish I could mow it all down. I'm surprised that you like it well enough to put it in a vase. I doubt if goldenrod will ever be extinct as long as it is flourishing from Minnesota to Florida!

  9. Totally in lOve with your basket!

  10. Oooh and aaah. The gourds were the only one of your photos I have had any experience with. I love them. The golden rod was spectacular and the condor such an majestic sight. I am thrilled to hear that their numbers are increasing. A conservation good management story. Thank you.

  11. Hi Joanne, thanks, well I went out and it seems the yellow flowers I thought were goldenrod were something else so I may have been mistaken. Yes if only people got along as well as the birds.

    Hi Michele, thanks, they do add a spot of color and usher in the fall weather.

    Hi Jinksy, thanks so much, Eastern promise, eh?

    Hi Ms. Sparrow, thanks, no I don't think there is any danger of it's going extinct, I think in some places it has become invasive and threatens native plants.

    Hi Linda Sue, thanks so much, I have "fun" making them. Ha, lots of trials and tribulations but worth it in the end.

    Hi Elephant's Child, thanks, yes a conservation management marvel as I understand quite an expensive one, but I think some expenses are worth it and surely this magnificent bird was worth the effort.

  12. I love the gourds! I came over from Elephant's Child because you mentioned Golden Rod and I've never seen any. it's mentioned a bit in some novels I read, a herb used for various things, but dangerous. Now that I've seen your photo, I realise I've seen it here in Australia too, but I'm not sure what we call it.
    I like your art work. Thank you for visiting my blog last Sunday.


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