Learn How to Create a Gourd Birdhouse
Escape for a two-hour lesson in carrying on a Southern Appalachian tradition.
Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you can’t take some time for yourself and head to our beautiful and beloved North Georgia mountains, especially if you return with newfound knowledge about a Southern Appalachian tradition practiced for generations by mountaineers and Cherokees before us.
As a young girl growing up in Miami, my mother brought me to the North Georgia mountains for several summer vacations. I recall seeing rows of gourd bird houses hanging from tall poles as we passed farm houses along rural roads and being fascinated by these unusual objects that I soon learned were erected to attract Purple Martins – birds that devour aerial insects and keep predatory birds at bay.
I listened intently to local residents as they shared their secrets of using gourds to draw in the Martins. They had learned from previous generations about the perfect locations, heights and dimensions of gourd houses. This was a beguiling tradition that reflected everything I grew to love about the Southern Appalachian region.
So, on Saturday, Feb 18, from 10:00 a.m.-noon, I encourage you to visit the Smithgall Woods State Park in Helen. A fun seminar is scheduled – “Make a Gourd-eous Birdhouse” – in which participants learn how to create a birdhouse out of a gourd. Hear about proper cleaning and preparation of gourds for use by birds, as well as drilling the right sized holes for our avian friends to inhabit their gourd house. Gourd artist Sherrie Sage will assist you with painting your gourd, and you will leave with a new birdhouse in hand!
Gourds and other supplies are provided. The cost is $15, or $20 if paid after Feb 3, plus a $5 parking fee. Call 706-878-3087 to sign up or for more information.
Escape to Helen and enjoy – as I did many years ago - learning about gourds, birds and a bit of Georgia history. Don’t forget to tell them that Dee sent you!