I don’t think any garden is complete without a scarecrow. Even when I was a kid, one was always part of our food plot, and over the years I have had many versions of these whimsical entities in my gardens. While I like to think they actually do a job, in my opinion they are just plain fun. I think of them as “yard art” and always try and come up with a different character every year.
To be honest, I never really know what kind of scarecrow I’m going to have stand guard over my vegetables in any given growing season. That’s because I usually buy their wardrobes from area thrift shops when the time is right to construct this masterpiece.
When I first started this tradition, I used to build the stereotypical scarecrow from a pair of old overalls and a flannel shirt stuffed with straw and pieces of twine holding it all together. But one year I looked out my window to see a deer happily nibbling away on the arm of my garden guard, so I figured a little more animation was needed to scare the creatures away.
That’s when I began the “themed” scarecrow creations. For instance, a few years ago I made a cowboy scarecrow after I found a kid’s fringed vest with matching chaps. One year I made a “prom” scarecrow when I located an old ball gown with frilly bangles and bows hanging from it. A few people even pulled in the driveway to take a closer look at that one.
Last year I found a silky Brett Favre jersey and thought a sport-themed creation would be fun, but I got so many complaints and smart aleck comments from the neighbors I took it down.
So last weekend, as I gazed at the bare wooden cross arms that serve as the skeleton to my characters, I decided it was time to get this year’s project underway, and visited the Seventh Day Adventist Thrift Shop, which is located conveniently next to our offices at the Star Journal.
I wander over to this store on a regular basis when I need a break from my computer, and consequently have become friends with the kind folks who run this little shop. Wednesdays are my favorite day to go because my buddies Paul and Sylvia are there, and when they see me come in the door, I always hear the same comment, “Here comes trouble,” which puts a big smile on my face.
But Syl and Paul were the ones that laughed the loudest when I told them I was there to peruse the merchandise for a scarecrow outfit. We chatted and kidded each other like we always do, but my eyes couldn’t stop scanning the merchandise as we talked. Nothing was jumping out at me, and for a while I thought I would leave empty handed. And then Syl, who was unpacking donations for display, pulled out a loud and vibrant red, white and black silk-like shirt from a box. My eyes lit up. Then I spotted a straw hat and knew I had hit the jackpot.
That night I went home and nailed the hat on the head pole and buttoned the shirt on the crossarms. The material fluttered and flickered in the wind, giving off the appearance of a wandering Don Ho strolling the beaches.
As I sat proudly gazing at my new gaudy ‘crow, I was reminded of a little cookie my grandma used to make when I was a kid. She called them her Scarecrow Cookies, and we would request them on a frequent basis. I found the recipe and included it for this week.
But I must admit my new garden addition looks pretty dapper this year. I think it’s going to do the trick, too, because when I woke up the morning after its construction, I looked out at my plot in a sleepy haze and almost had a heart attack, temporarily forgetting Mr. Ho was there. And for some reason I keep singing Tiny Bubbles every time I find myself in the garden.
That alone should keep the critters away.
1 stick unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
4 Tbs. cocoa powder
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 cup quick oats
1 cup chow mein noodles
Melt butter in a saucepan over med-high heat. Add the sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, and milk; cook until the mixture comes to a boil. Boil for one minute, and remove from heat. Stir in peanut butter, oats and noodles. Drop by the spoonful onto a sheet of waxed paper, parchment paper, or aluminum foil. Allow to cool until firm before serving. May be kept refrigerated.
Editor’s note: If you really want to get the full effect of this scarecrow’s colorful garb, check out the picture on our website at starjournalnow.com, or find us on Facebook by searching “Star Journal”.