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Fallen gourd turns into crop

So far, she has harvested about 25 little orange and yellow striped gourds – arranging them in baskets throughout her 75-year-old home, painting them, sitting them on the mantle.

Monday, October 04, 1999

So far, she has harvested about 25 little orange and yellow striped gourds – arranging them in baskets throughout her 75-year-old home, painting them, sitting them on the mantle.

They accent odd pumpkins, larger gourds found at farms and the antiques thoughtfully arranged around the house.

"I like to see what I can accomplish," she said. "The way I like to decorate a house is constantly moving stuff."

And it’s a nice way to spend some retirement time, she added, smiling.

"It’s interesting and I just enjoy decorating especially landscapes. A lot of times, I wish I had been a horticulturalist."

Ms. Carter moved back to her hometown from Columbus about four years ago, bringing memories of other cities she has called home during her career with Sears.

She bought the house at the corner of South Fifth and Mulberry, gave it her decorator’s touch and worked her green thumb magic.

"Some people say it looks like I took the old one away and replaced it," she said. Her family always requests photos of the house when she travels to visit them.

Her neighbors just watch, anticipating each season’s change, she added with a smile.

Ms. Carter hasn’t started decorating for the harvest season yet. Flowers still bloom in her front yard.

But the gourds will wither soon and her mind has begun to churn with ideas, she said.

Whatever the scene, Ms. Carter will paint it with the decorator’s charm – carefully choosing, adjusting for hours, moving things inches at a time to get the angles just right.

It’s worth it, though, she said.

"I like the outcome to be able to stand back and look and enjoy it.

"Then I know someone else enjoys it."