Monday, October 10, 2011

Scarecrow, scarecrow!

In fact there is no scarecrow in my garden, there are no crows in my garden. Now there are deer, bears, raccoons, and probably a few critters I don't know about, but no crows to scare.

Over the years I have built many scarecrows for strictly decorative reasons, sweet and cuddly; tall dark and handsome; raggedy or elegant; sweet girls and wild women; even scarecrows with pet crows on their shoulders. every autumn I pour over the book "Scarecrows" by Felder Rushing, not because I intend to make any of the fabulous scarecrows pictured, but because I love to look at the fabulous pictures.

I don't know how long scarecrows have been around, I think our ancestors figured out early on that having someone, even if he was stuffed with straw would keep the crows away, at least until the crows figured out that the ones that didn't move around and yell were also excellent for perches. The ancient Greeks believed that crows avoided the fields where Priapus, the hidious son of Aphrodite, who was huge and permanently erect, rested, so they erected phallic symbols in their fields hoping to fool the crows, the Romans also adopted this idea. Now that seems to be to be a good idea for a couple of reasons, it gave a lot of sculptors a job and it could also be used a a fertility talisman, and what farmer wouldn't like that?

The ancient Japanese farmers used. old rags and noisemakers like bells, affixed to a pole, later they put hats and old coats on those poles.

During medieval times children were employed to wander in the fields and make noise to scare away the crows. As population shrunk because of the plague and climatic conditions the farmers began to hang clothing stuffed with straw on poles, and add a rutabaga or pumpkin for a head. They found these creations worked pretty well
Here also. I think, is the origin of the term "looks like a half starved scarecrow"... which never made sense to me before.

because they scarecrows were supposed to protect the grain not eat it, or were they supposed to eat the crows?

The German emigrants brought with them the bootzamon, or boogeyman who often had a female counterpart at the other end of the field. Native Americans sometimes had adult men sitting on elevated platforms in fields to chase away the varmints.

So i guess the scarecrow has a right to exhibit some attitude, he/she is one hard working and under appreciated dude.

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