Life as I know It

My photo
San Luis Obispo, California, and South Bristol, Maine, United States
Author ~ Illustrator ~ Lecturer

Friday, September 28, 2012

Scarecrow Sampler

Yes, it IS a crow, a scarecrow crow that is sitting in the garden of the historic Bianchini house in downtown Cambria, California.

"Shoo-hoo, shoo-hoo!
Away, birds, away,
Take a corn, and leave a corn,
And come
No more today."

Ever since childhood I have loved autumn and the crowds of scarecrows that spring up like mushrooms after a soaking rain. At first I believed that scarecrows were a Yankee invention, but I've found, through research, that they've been around for 3,000 years.

Human "scarecrows" or bird-shooers, who watched over seedlings and crops, were shown in hieroglyphics and murals in the ancient Egyptian tomb of Nakht. 

Historians believe that the first man made scarecrows were used in the fields of wheat cultivated along the Nile River. Hundreds of years later, the Japanese began their tradition of building tall bamboo kakashi, outfitted in rags, twigs, and clattering fish bones. The Kakashi loomed over flooded fields of rice and struck terror in the hearts of crows and unwary travelers.

Jack Larkin, Director of Research and Collections at Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts, said that a 19th century traveler's account told of "figures constructed of a jumble of old clothes, piled up on a stick and wearing a hat."

In the American Southwest, native American Zuni peopled their cornfileds with groups of frightening, life-sized figures called "the watchers of the corn sprouts." They were made of poles and branches, with faces of rawhide, long tresses of horse hair, corn husk rounds for eyes, teeth of cornstalk strips, and long, red leather tongues. Feathers, twigs, ropes, rags, and hide strips dangled from the "watchers" and whirled and twirled in the winds.

Throughout the world, the tradition of including a scarecrow in the garden continues and thrives. Now isn't it time for YOU to build your own?

Slow down and take your time meandering through my old hometown of Cambria Pines by the Sea. Their Scarecrow Festival is legendary. They're expecting to show off about 300 of them this year. Take your kids for a ride and visit this sweet town, and while you're at it, be sure to snap some photos of them with some of the scarecrows.

Welcome to the Scarecrow Festival!

I love this pair.

And hovering over the entrance to Linn's Restaurant on Main St... this winsome witch with skinny legs.

Outside the Ball and Skein on Main Street this well clad gal in felted slippers greets visitors.

Next door a shopping scarecrow and tired husband wait for Wildwood to open.

"Artist Gone Wild" at Gallerie Lulu on Main St.

On Bridge Street, outside the picket fence in front of the Tea Cozy, two soldiers stand guard.

In the tradition of the Germans and Amish, it isn't uncommon to find both a male (Bootzaman) and female (Bootzafrau) scarecrow standing guard over fields and orchards.

Amelia, we were wondering where you'd gone. You'll find her in front of the Bianchini house on Burton Drive.

Charles the Grape. 

Mom and her children, and oh, don't forget her piggy, too.

At the Bianchini House, this skinny gal in the Pippi Longstocking socks greets you in the garden.

Willie Nelson strums a tune.

Outside of Seekers Glass Gallery, Dale Chihuly strikes a pose.

Lost tourists consult their map.

The sky above a pumpkin-headed scarecrow churns with turkey vultures. I could NOT have asked for a more wonderful and appropriate image.

The scarecrow in front of Robin's restaurant, sort of a Carmen Miranda image.

This well clad scarecrow greets customers of The Porte House on Center Street (just down from Heart's Ease).

Outside The Garden Shed on Main Street, you'll be greeted by this gorgeous lady in pink...

...or this chef...

...or this plump Hippie Mama...

...or my friend Dino, who can be found at Lily's Coffee on most mornings.

Outside the Bluebird Motel on Main Street

Oops, looks like Little Red Riding Hood met an awful fate.

Indigo Moon's chef!

A newly married couple wait for a bus. Their luggage (you can see it between the legs of the passerby) says "Just married."

Some scarecrows just have to keep working.

Dare ye enter the Emerald City?

Glinda, the Good Witch. One of my favorite characters.

The Cowardly Lion, Dorothy, and a bona fide scarecrow.

Ok, don't tell me that I am irreverent. This was done by the folks at Santa Rosa Catholic Church.

My favorites! The dancing driftwood girls scarecrows. Imagine that, and they're in front of the bank!

Can you see the dog flying behind her on the leash?

Two lighthouse keepers cleaning and tending the old Piedras Blancas Fresnel light lens.

All gussied up and nowhere to go!

A driftwood and shells scarecrow waves outside of Home Arts on Main Street.

A fitting scarecrow on Moonstone Beach at the entry to the Moonstone Bar and Grill.

Ahoy mateys!

A lone sportsman stands in the bocce ball court on Main Street.

And one of my favorites-this group of ladies playing mahjong in front of the Joslyn Center on Main St.

Now we're packing our bags and props and getting ready to take to the roads of America for my book tour. We'll begin at the A.K. Smiley Public Library in Redlands, where I'll give a talk, and the library will give 200 of My First Bird Book and Bird Feeder to the first 200 participants. I look forward to signing books, both old copies and new, bookplates, and talking to all of you who attend.

Then, it is onto JetBlue and the rest of our journey. Check my schedule as things are being added a few times a week.

Love across the miles,


P.S. The WINNERS of the three copies of Imagine Childhood are:

Lori Ann Graham, Lori Times Five
dc, an anonymous commenter (we need a name and address for shipping. It will be kept confidential)
Kathy Tollenaere,  Yard is Green, the Grimy Hands Girls Club member random drawing winner

P.P.S. Husband Jeff here. Follow Sharon on Facebook for a daily glimpse of her book tour


Terra said...

Oh Sharon, I so want to go to Cambria and do the scarecrow tour. Each one is more fabulous than the next.
Enjoy your book tour for that new bird book, which I think includes a bird feeder (?).

Blondie's Journal said...

What a fun town and event! I couldn't pick a favorite! The girl with the flying dog on a leash was very cute and I have been a long time fan of Pippi Longstocking!

Have a great time on your book tour and travel safe. I am going to check your schedule. Wouldn't it be great to meet?!


Lemon Verbena Lady said...

Loved Cambria when we visited. These people really are very creative. Enjoyed the scarecrow tour, Sharon. See you soon. xxoo Nancy

Anonymous said...

Sharon thank you for sharing the unique scarecrows in Cambria---what fun! Such creativity! Good luck on your tour! ♥ Martha Ellen

Susan said...

What creative folks you have there! It reminded me of walking through the arboretum in Lexington with Ari and seeing all the scarecrows lining the paths that students and organizations had done. They really are the keepers of gardens, XOXO
Happy Book Tour!

Pondside said...

I don't know which I like best - I'll have to look again! What fun, and what spirit the town shows with this festival!
I see that you're in Seattle in February. I am going to try very hard to be down there to hear you!

Nellie said...

What a fantastic show of scarecrows! I must say that the Good Witch is my favorite as well. We have enjoyed the Scarecrow Festival on the grounds of the Publick House in Sturbridge, MA when the two times we have visited have come in October.

I wish you well on your tour! It would be grand were you to come somewhere near where I am. My town doesn't usually make the list for stops of authors.:(

Bonnie K said...

That was fun! I bet you really enjoyed going around town. The driftwood ones and the crow were my favorites. Thanks for the tour. I hope your book tour goes well. You should have plenty of fall colors to enjoy if they are half as nice everywhere else.

jerilanders said...

They are all great, but I give first prize to the traditional pumpkin head in the denim shirt. Hurrah for Autumn and scarescrows!

jerilanders said...

They are all great, but I give first prize to the traditional pumpkin head in the denim shirt. Hurrah for Autumn and scarescrows!

Vee said...

Aren't people talented and creative! These are all delightful. Those made out of driftwood that create movement of the body impress me. Some made me laugh out loud and some made me drop my jaw. Just wonderful. Thank you for sharing all these photos. You two have a wonderful journey East.

Shady Gardener said...

Sharon, Thank you so much for your generosity in sending me a book! Too much fun. I'll look forward to receiving it!

Have a wonderful time on your book tour!! SG

Lydia said...

Absolutely charming! We're expecting a population explosion in our family, so am going to try to make the closest book signing.

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

Such fun Sharon. As I scrolled down, it got better and better. I loved the male Bootzaman and female Bootzafrau scarecrow standing guard over fields. But Willy Nelson really gave me a chuckle. I'm forwarding this to my SIL who loves Halloween.

Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello Sharon:
What a carnival of scarecrows you offer for our entertainment and delight here. We can truthfully say that we have never seen such a wonderful parade of these exceedingly lifelike scarecrows ever before. It must make walking down the street in your neighbourhood an altogether 'out of world' experience!!!

We were so delighted to have a comment from you on our latest post, to which we have made reply and through which we have found you. We have signed as Followers and shall stay in touch as you embark on your most exciting sounding book tour.

Claudia said...

These are amazing, Sharon! Thanks so much for sharing them with us. My goodness, what fun!


Julie Marie said...

Ooooh Sharon!... I love your scarecrow festival!.... so hard to choose a favorite... I really love the ladies all dressed up with nowhere to go, but they are all adorable!... I love Cambria and have not been there in years... my little sis is going there next week... she goes every year... now I want to make my own scarecrow!... going to give it a try!... hope you have a safe and enjoyable book tour... like my friend Blondie (Jane), I would so love to meet up with you!... xoxo Julie Marie

Lori ann said...

love how you shared this sharon, your commentary makes it so much fun! we'll be up the second week of october, i wonder if the scarecrows will still be out?

i wrote you back on my blog and said YIPPEE! and thank you!! i will be at one of the shops on friday, but will run over to ginny's to see you and give you a hug before you leave on your exciting book tour!!!

jeff, i'm really thinking about joining fb just for you two, so i can follow along...

see you soon, and thank you so much! xxx lori

Lorrie said...

Those are some amazing scarecrows. What a fun festival to visit.

La Petite Gallery said...

Shannon, what creative minds. I love the witch, willie, the drifwood, they are all so great.
Thank you for all the work you did for this fabulous post.
Have a great Fall.

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Hi dear Lori Ann,

The scarecrows will be up until November.

YES, I'll call you when we get to Ginny's house.



Pam G. said...

what charming scarecrows. I was busy trying to recognize places my daughter and I saw when we spent an evening ate dinner and stayed at a B and B in Cambria around 8 yrs. ago on a trip up the coast of CA. What a charming town it was!

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Does ANYONE know who anonymous blogger DC is? She won the book Imagaine childhood and we haven't been able to locate her. Any help would be appreciated.



Lea said...

A Scarecrow Festival! What fun!
Have a great day!
Lea's Menagerie

Vicki Boster said...

Sharon-- hands down this has got to be about the cutest display I've ever seen. These little scarecrows are amazing- each of them a work of art!!
You have captured the essence of their personalities in your amazing photos-- what fun!!

Oh Sharon- I wish you the greatest success as you begin your tour. Do take care of yourself and Jeff too-- I'm just sick that I'm going to miss you by one day! If it wasn't for the fact that we would literally "miss the boat!!"-- I'd delay our start;(

Have a most wonderful tour!!
Ps- I'm going to buy the book and just hang on to it-- I just know we can meet sometime soon!!