Hobby activities

Larry G. Field
Thursday, November 14, 2019
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Gardening offers many opportunities that I group as hobby activities. Probably the most obvious is centerpieces for your various tables, TV stands, Chests, etc. The most obvious center piece would be the bouquet, but the bouquet doesn’t have to be just flowers. In fact, some bouquets contain no flowers. One may include such things as fresh or dried seed heads from things such as large grasses, cattails, dill and many others (natural, painted, flocked, etc), large leaves such as fall colored oak, fern, cattail, corn, etc. Let your mind wander, don’t let peer pressure limit your choices.

Other centerpieces can be a horn-of-plenty with gourds and colorful corn spilling out, etc. We use pumpkins as the bodies for many centerpieces including turkeys, witches, Santas, coaches, snowmen and so on. In cases such as turkeys, if room permits, families can be made with a large pumpkin hen and small pumpkin chicks.

Similar decorations abound for the front door area. Corn shocks, witches, maidens, etc. arranged from corn shocks, all can be decorated with a host of garden items including pumpkins, squash, gourds, colored corn, and so on.

One may go as far as to contour plants for hobby use. Small gourds can be inserted into bottles/jars and allowed to grow there, taking the shape of the vessel. Strands of strong cord or wire can be wrapped around items that already have some “shape” (Danish & butternut squash) to add additional shape. I contour (braid, knot, etc.) willows for use as frames from which to hang wind chimes. At one time, I haven’t checked recently, one could purchase molds to put around squash and pumpkins to form them, as they grow, into any of various items such as boats and cars.  

Pumpkins and corn probably present the most opportunities. Corn stalks can make shocks and human likenesses, corn silk can make hair, corn leaves can add to bouquets and be used as other craft items, corn ears (especially colored corn) can be used for front door decorations, centerpieces and more. The ear and/or cob can be used to make dolls, as was a common practice in the “old west”. Normally doll making would involve leaving the husk on the cob to form into hair, face, clothing, etc.

The pumpkin can obviously be converted into a jack-o-lantern. If involving youngsters I would recommend coloring, not carving for safety. This veggie’s uses abound. As an example, we make “pumpkin” turkeys. Let us discuss only the tail of this turkey. The tail feathers can be colored scraps of wood, turkey feathers, cattail seed heads, large grass seed heads, large leaves, ears of colored corn, and on, and can be a mix of some or all. You still have a head, wings and beard to make, a potential menagerie.

In addition to decorations, the garden can serve the hunter and fisherman. Grasshoppers and earthworms abound. Worm beds can be fashioned. I slope my garden and run water down the rows as opposed to sprinkling. Earthworms tell me how deep the water is penetrating. For every worm that surfaces for air, my water has penetrated about 1 inch. To water shallow crops such as onions I run water until two worms (2” penetration) surface. For potatoes I water until 6 or more worms surface, 6 or more inches of water soaked ground. Unfortunately for these worms, as the saying goes, “no good deed goes unpunished,” after they tell me how deep the water has penetrated they end up in my ever present refrigerated bait box.

Any time that one uses a perishable item on a damageable surface the surface should be protected by a waterproof item such as plastic or a plate.  

Let your needs, desires, wishes and imagination be your guide.    


(Editor’s note: Larry Field is winding up the gardening column for the season, but he’s happy to take suggestions on topics for next spring. Is there any aspect of gardening you’d like to learn more about? Send you ideas to news@laureloutlook.com)


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