Tag Archives: scarecrow

An Interest in Handicrafts

Things have been happening down in the garden – with preparations for various Autumn events.

The Day of the Dead Kitten is one example, as they get ready for Halloween. Halloween is a strange festival. When I was a child we used to hollow out turnips and swedes to use as lanterns and my grandparents used to talk about Mischief Night.

Now we carve Pumpkins and have the legalised extortion of Trick or Treat. And lots of plastic gimcrackery in the shops.

Another thng they have done is to make a perpetual calendar from the blocks they use to make pallets. This displays the date while Feathers McGraw from The Wrong Trousers looks on.


The pallet calendar


He was built by one of the volunteers as an entry in a scarecrow festival and has now been donated to the gardens. He’s in the polytunnel because he’s too good to be left outside.

To complete the autumn handicrafts Julia has been making poppy brooches from beads and safety pins.

Poppy Brooch - beads and safety pins

Poppy Brooch – beads and safety pins


I’ll try to take a better picture over the next few days.

A Rabbit Comes to Call

Here are some pictures from the MENCAP Open Day.  The painted stones sold well, as did the nest boxes and various other items. I say “various” because I’ve forgotten what Julia said.

I know it came to around £100 and is going to make a useful contribution to the garden running costs. One of the volunteers who helps with the garden brought Peter Rabbit to form the centrepiece of the garden display. Ironically, when you consider what he did in Mr McGregor’s garden, Peter is a scarecrow.The group all helped out and everyone had a good day.


The group took a number of photos of Julia with the visiting rabbit

Even the photograph album (which was back-to-front after my late night glueing session) was judged to be successful.

Cobwebs and raindrops

First, yes, I know the water droplets come from fog, but I’ve substituted accuracy for sound in the title. I would say euphony, but I’m trying to avoid coming across like Stephen Fry.

Today, after a misty journey, the verges of the lane were lined with moisture enhanced cobwebs. When I see these it always takes me back to 1964 when I used to go to a village school in Lincolnshire where nature study was a regular feature. That’s where I first remember seeing moisture droplets on cobwebs. It was a magical experience then, and, fifty two years later, it still is.

That’s enough reminiscing – here are the photos from the garden.

It’s not the easiest subject – autofocus and a simple camera can produce some random results. At times like this I long for slightly more control over focus and depth of field.


I’m now off to make salt dough. It’s a varied life!

Open Farm Sunday (1)

Well, it’s done for another year, and although I enjoyed it I can’t say I’m sorry it’s over.

It looks like final numbers will be well up on last year, with numbers about the 1,400 mark, which is four hundred up on last year. The cafe numbers are up too, and we sold all the extra ice cream we laid in.


Without being smug, I thinks it’s true to say that we have improved steadily year on year and we delivered a good day. Most of the feedback forms were positive, and I’m going to compost the ones that weren’t.

Not much time for writing just now, as there’s tidying to be done and I’ve been tasked with eating the last of the strawberry and marshmallow skewers before they start to wilt in the warmth. I would show you a picture but I managed to eat it one-handed whilst typing with one finger of the other hand.

I am a man of many skills…


A blog in need of a smart title

Even if I cut out all the boring bits (I do cut out the boring bits don’t I?), and cut out details of my personal life there’s still a lot happening. Even after I cut out the lives of our clients, the majority of my moaning and, intriguing as they may be to me, the workings of my bowels, there is still too much happening. Without spending all night writing about it I just couldn’t cover it.

So this is a quick digest of some things that happened in the week.

(1) Got some good butterfly and moth sightings – Julia got the best ones this morning whilst taking round a class of 4-year-olds. Included Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood and a Painted Lady.

(2) I got a good photo of a Silver Y in the polytunnel – hanging on the roof to make the photo look weird.


(3) One of the kids got stuck in the toilet seat – too big for the adaptor and too small…well, you get the picture. Actually, and I cannot tell a lie just to appear more interesting, this is a lie. But a couple were afraid of falling in. And someone’s hat once fell in. I remember it well as I had to get it out. The kids didn’t want it back, as you may imagine, but it’s not compostable. Then one of the teachers told us how her daughter got wedged down the toilet whilst potty-training. The daughter is now 19 and hates the story. Well, you would, wouldn’t you.

(4) The scarecrows came home from the Hampton Court Garden Show.



(5) We hosted an evening BBQ, a long bread session, yoga (twice this week) and a group of 4-year-olds. This is a restful week compared to next week.

(6) i reached over 900 followers on Twitter after a surge I can’t explain. I did wonder if I’d inadvertently used some sexual code word, like Coventry Bears Rugby League when they launched their first website without realising that “bear” was a slang term on the gay scene. Oh, how we laughed at Nottingham Outlaws.



Scarecrows and free tea

It’s been a scarecrow day today, with advice (and stockinette) from Shipshape Arts we’re going to be turning out some professional looking scarecrows this year.

All my ideas have been shelved on the grounds of good taste, though I still say that the 100th anniversary of the Great War and the presence of a barbed wire fence in the display area is a sign that we should push the boundaries a little. Julia says no. Bea from Shipshape says no and my sister, my own flesh and blood, agrees with them. Typical!

Otherwise things are a bit slow – we have promises of three more large and twenty or thirty spoon-size scarecrows, meaning we are currently down on large and slightly up on the small ones. Everybody seems to be so busy this year they don’t seem to be able to fit scarecrow-building into the plan.

That’s where my readers come in – I need your photo entries for the competition. If you have children, or nephews and nieces, or can persuade a teacher or youth group leader to submit a few it would be great.

Details are here. We had a meeting yesterday and I have confirmation that the winning school or group and the winning individual (or maybe more than one) will be able to adopt a tree in our new woodland. True, the “trees” are mere sticks at the moment, but they have potential. They come with full information about the tree and the farm so it can be quite educational. As you may have seen from earlier posts we are measuring trees regularly so if you win we will measure yours every year and tell you what size it is.

If you want to sidestep the competition process we can provide you with an adopted tree and a certificate for £20 – all proceeds going towards the cost of maintaining the woodland.

If yopu do win one, or if you pass over £20, I will even offer to make you a free cup of Lapsang Screveton if you visit, providing my tea bushes are still producing. If not you’ll have to put up with mint tea (freshly picked) or maybe PG Tips.



Chocolate Mint

Scarecrow Competition

Open Farm Sunday is coming up and as part of the activity at the Ecocentre we are putting on a Scarecrow Competition.

More details are now available on the new Scarecrows page. We also have a new Scarecrow History page and a new Competition page.

There are classes for schools, youth groups and individuals, including groups and individuals with learning difficulties. You can either enter physically or send us in a photograph for the photo competition – so all of you in America and the Antipodes have no excuse for not nagging  children, friends and neighbouring teachers into participating.

Prizes will be as miserly as I can get away with, because that’s the sort of man I am, Prizes in the Spoon competition are likely to be better because Julia is organising them.

We already have one entry ready from Quercus Community, though there’s no point in us winning as we don’t want a free trip to the farm, we’re already here. If you look at it closely you may notice on other pages that the jockey’s head and arms are visible as parts of other scarecrows on last year. That accounts for the bloodstains you may have noticed…



I’m not actually sure whether recycling old scarecrows is easier than building new ones but it is a satisfying way to go. Take Sid, for instance. He’s the one on the right in this picture. He’s been on a sponsored walk (though he actually rode on Dave’s wheelchair) and donated his head to several bodies over the last four years. The overalls on the other scarecrow have seen similar multiple use, though I’m not sure Sid has ever worn overalls. (Those of you thinking “That scarecrow on the left looks uncommonly like local farmer David Rose” are right by the way – we are no respecters of person once the building urge strikes).