Saturday, October 24, 2009

Calabash Carving

I love fall. I love cider. I love pumpkins and mums. I love the fireplace going. I love the leaves changing. I love trick or treat candy. I love the month of October! In Jamaica "October loves" take on new meaning!

There is a pumpkin patch in our yard. The pumpkins you will find there are green and small. They are used mainly for soup. Our house does have a fireplace but I doubt I will ever use it. Much too hot these days for a fire. In early 1900 when the house was built the climate was different in Mandeville, much cooler. Today they say the weather has changed because there is so much structure development and the buildings keep the heat close.

Something else that is in our yard is a calabash tree. It is beautiful. One of our American guests asked a Jamaican Bible College student if they could open the calabash and eat it. Othniel replied, you can if you want, but I don't! Subtle hint.....if a Jamaican doesn't eat it, you may not want to try!

In my natural desire to carve something in October I tried the calabash! Really hard to cut but I managed. I have enough drying right now to start my own little market! Calabash is only used for "stuff" not to eat! They are round gourds that grow in the tree and when they fall I hustle out there to collect them or you may see Den out there throwing another calabash up in the tree to get the really big one that is up there!! They lodge in between the branches and grow into really cool shapes. These really cool shapes make great purses and objects like bowls. The rastafarians make bowls, pipes, utensils out of the gourd.

Once it is open the inside would remind you of wet cotton, I scrape it out and when finished my thumb and first finger are black. I have opened so many this week that I am not sure if my fingers will ever be my normal color! Within this cotton like mush are seeds. I hope it is not poisinous because Mackee~poo has had her nose in the trash before I have gotten it tied off!

Another item that is made from the calabash are shakers, like maracas. I have a gourd drying now in hopes that it will be my first shaker! We will see. I hope it doesn't go the way of my first starfish drying episode.....really stinky!! But the end product is really neat! I know.... patience is a virtue that I need to work on!

When living in another country it is possible to fill the void that your memories crave, you just have to find a today I made donuts and carved calabash! Happy October!

1 comment:

  1. Hello! I am in Kingston JA and looking for calabash and gourds here on the island. I make musical instruments using calabash. Could you please email me privately at

    Jeff Menzies