Welcome to Wiser Now’s weekly email blast which reflects my eclectic interests and, I hope, yours. This is Unusual Crafts and Hobbies Month which gives everyone’s quirkiness free rein. In a world full of woe, I take refuge in the folks filled with whimsy, so today we’re highlighting, pumpkin kayaking, yarn bombing, and extreme ironing. These three also go well with the idea of getting you outside for Recreation and Parks Month. See our Kiosk of resources for more.

I hope you are finding these offerings fun, and perhaps even useful, and I welcome your feedback. ( And if you haven’t yet pressed the subscribe button so this newsletter doesn’t go to spam, please do so now.


The Quirky Quote

1) "You never lose a dream. It just incubates as a hobby." ~ Google co-founder Larry Page
2) "There is a very fine line between hobby and mental illness." ~ humorist Dave Barry

The Quirky Art - Do you dorodango?

Hikaru Dorodango is a hobby I’d never heard of but now find fascinating. The literal Japanese translation is “shiny dumpling,” but it’s also known as dirt polishing or simply clay balls.

The basic idea is to take a small ball of mud, extract all the moisture and then coat it with fine layers of soil. Eventually it becomes possible to polish the ball of dirt into a smooth sphere. There are dozens of videos that demonstrate the process. Start with this short introduction and view more detail here.

The Quirky Fact

According to this article, having a hobby can reduce your risk of depression by 30%. I rather doubt that the authors were thinking of the hobbies highlighted here, because then the reduction rate would certainly have been even higher.

The Question
Do you have an unusual hobby? Do any of those featured here appeal to you? Share with family and friends and me.

Featured Product
Weirdly wonderful festivals, contests, and competitions have long fascinated me. Check out my Quirky Competitions in the new Wiser Now’s individual resource category of my online store. If you think it can’t get stranger than pumpkin kayaking and extreme ironing, you’re in for a surprise. Bog snorkeling, anyone?

The Quiz 
Can you guess the answers to these three unusual hobbies?

1. Extreme ironing guidelines suggest those new to the sport should begin simply by ironing in a tree.
True ___ False ___

2. Extreme ironing has strict rules about the ironing board (must be at least one meter long with legs) and object to be ironed (at least as big as a tea towel), but apparently none about plugging in the iron or wearable results.
True ___ False ___

3. Extreme ironing competitions have two categories: Single and groups. The largest documented group ironing event involved 148 underwater divers in the Netherlands. Note shark in background of picture.
True ___ False ___

4. Yarnbombing is a type of graffiti or street art that employs colorful displays of knitted or crocheted yarn or fiber, usually on inanimate objects like lamp posts and bridges. It’s easier to remove than spray paint, and legal.
True ___ False ___

5. Proving humanity has a sense of humor and craves color, yarnbombing has become a global phenomenon and some knitters are paid handsome sums for commissioned projects.
True ___ False ___

6. The competition among members of the Pacific Giant Vegetable Growers Association (PGVGA) to grow the biggest pumpkin has been going on for decades. The idea for turning them into boats came in part because giant pumpkins don’t, in fact, make tasty pies or lattes.
True ___ False ___

7. There are two types of pumpkin kayaking – short distance races and long-distance record setters. Pumpkins that weigh as much as 1000 pounds are hard to paddle more than about 2 miles per hour, so for the long-distance crew it comes down to how long can you sit in a pumpkin? 
True ___ False ___

Answers and explanations are at the end of this document.

The Shameless Request

Please share Wiser Now Wednesday with anyone you think might be interested, and if you represent an organization that would like a customized version, please send me a note at

The Kiosk of Resources

First, learn more about our quiz subjects here: Other hobbies worth checking out: Hobbies that didn’t make our cut:
  • Extreme Cello: – Cool, just not a talent most of us possess and can therefore participate in
  • Toy Voyagers: - seems a bit risky for the toy
  • Worm charming – These competitions attempt to coax underground worms to the surface, originally as fish bait, but now for bragging rights. Here’s a funny article about competing festivals.
And if you just want to check out other unusual pastimes, try these:
Answers to Quiz
  1. True
  2. True
  3. False – only because the number is 173!
  4. False – It’s illegal, but seldom prosecuted unless it’s truly disruptive, plus it’s often done with permission for charitable causes. One exception more recently is that although the materials used are intended to be biodegradable, there is potential for harming trees.
  5. True
  6. True. But while there are pumpkin regattas in multiple locations these days, it’s still an imperfect sport. Carving for balance, avoiding water accumulating in the base, and simple lack of coordination are all hazards.
  7. True. The current Guinness record seems to be close to 16 miles, but an unofficial record of 26 miles is being bandied about.
My multiple goals are to amuse and inspire you, to share what I and people whom I admire am doing, to stimulate your curiosity and spur you to action. I hope you enjoyed this offering. You can access previous issues here. We welcome your feedback. (
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Copyright (c) 2019 Kathy Laurenhue | All rights reserved.

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