These are dried and ready to clean; notice the different textures and mold showing on the shells.
From this point, I will soak the gourds, usually on a nice sunny day in a tub in the yard.The sun keeps the water warm and speeds up the process. They float, so I'll use old towels to wrap around them. Once the towels get wet they wick the water,(with a little dish soap and bleach added) and help keep the shell soaked to soften the skin. After about 24 hours I start scrubbing. I've tried a lot of different ways to get them clean, but for me using a green scrubby pad and a plastic scrapper works best. Sometimes I use my thumbnail!
I feel the shell as I go to tell where there are places that still need work. While they are wet they are a beautiful deep tan color, I've tired and can't get that color to save my life in the finished product. I'll keep trying, though.
There are a lot of different processes people use to clean their gourds, but for me this works the best. I can feel any bad places in the shell, study the shape and size, get ideas of what to do with the gourd, and most important, it slows me down to take time to appreciate the small blessings like how velvety smooth a wet gourd shell feels, the miracle that starts with a seed and ends up this hard shell, the seeds rattling inside the gourd waiting to blossom into new gourds, the blue sky, the warm sunshine, and the many other blessings God sends my way.
I'll post on the continued process and how I end up with the finished product another day.