My friend Naz offered me the scarecrow that she made with her grandchildren. It will greet trick-or-treaters at our door this Halloween, and I hope that next spring it will scare off any rabbits and woodchucks that nose around our garden produce.
But first, this scarecrow needs a name. Which one do you think is the scariest? Here are the nominations:
Sasquatch? Banshee? Chucky? Voldemort? Ted Cruz? Beelzebub? Farmer MacGregor? Ichabod? Elvira? Goneril? Warleggan? Hecate? Hannibal Lecter? Wickham? Quasimodo?
Scarecrows protect crops in nearly every country in the world. In Japanese legend, they are silent deities who see everything, and in colonial America scarecrows became frightening, according to a post I saw on the Western Mass. Permaculture Guild e-mail list. “Over time, scarecrows morphed from utilitarian farmers’ aids and harvest symbols to Halloween dressing, something more scary and ominous,” according to poster Layla Hazen.
But maybe scarecrows don’t have to be scary. Artist Michael Melle, who will lead a workshop in Ashfield this Saturday, creates sculptures rooted in the scarecrow tradition. But instead of being frightening, they are described as “tender and masterful, evoking natural human movement and expression.” The workshop is from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Bullitt Reservation (call 413-532-1631 x10 for more info).
I still have some questions about what to do with my new scarecrow. Do I need to find a way to make it stand up, if I’m trying to scare rabbits and not crows? Does a scarecrow have to be male, as in “The Wizard of Oz”? Does it need a companion that has a scent? (I heard that stuffing old pantyhose with hair helps scare away critters.) And can my new scarecrow, which has straw for innards, get left out in the rain?
Our garden was attacked last spring by woodchucks that climbed over our woodchuck-proof fence, but I bought a trap that neutralized this threat. Our neighborhood has lots of rabbits that can’t climb the fence but can attack our unfenced vegetable beds. I think I’ll place our scarecrow near where I plan to grow butternut squash, which one year got its tender shoots chomped off.
What should we call this new addition to our garden?