1. Q. I have purchased some ornamental gourds and pumpkins to decorate with for Thanksgiving. What can I treat them with to prolong their beauty?

A. The attractiveness of ornamental gourds can be prolonged with proper curing. Remove from vine by cutting so a short portion of stem remains on the fruit. Wipe fruit with cloth dipped in rubbing alcohol or dip fruit into a bath of 1 part Chlorox and 9 parts of water. Lay the gourds so they don't touch each other. Dry for 3 to 4 weeks inspecting and discarding any that start to spoil. When well dried, apply several coats of clear shellac to enhance color and preserve beauty for several months.

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