Try this crafty idea to keep birds off your crops, says Katherine Miller
For several nights, the unfinished, faceless body of a scarecrow laying in the dining room made me jump out of my skin, so I was pleased when we put his face on and took him outside.
My youngest son (aged three) helped his brother (aged six) to stuff and dress the scarecrow, but he was better suited to making a simple bird scarer from a coat hanger. This resulted in a charming, random creation and he became fascinated with running around the garden trailing it behind him to scare away the pigeons. It was satisfying to know that all those pointless lengths of ribbon that I had been saving for years had finally found their destiny.
As we searched through my mum’s box of old buttons for eyes for our scarecrow, memories of sitting at my grandmother’s table, sorting buttons in an old tin tea caddy came flooding back. So it was incredibly satisfying watching my own children finding pleasure in something so simple, just the way I did as a child. I have happy memories of ‘helping’ my grandad in his greenhouse, so it’s no wonder that I want to encourage my kids to do the same.
I really enjoy watching them exploring simple things, and building happy memories of gardening along the way.
I’m hoping they’ll have had fun doing all this stuff with plants… and not look back and say: “Do you remember when Mum used to make us plant salad so that she could take photos?”…
Make your own scarecrow
We made this scarecrow with recycled items including dry grass, plastic bags, a long stick, buttons and old clothes.
For the head, we stapled hessian from an old shopping bag around a football to get a good shape, removed the ball, turned it inside out and stuffed it with plastic bags.
For the body, we wrapped plastic bags around a long stick and covered it with an old babygrow. Then, we stuffed the arms and legs with more polythene bags.
We attached the head, by pushing it onto the stick. Then dressed the scarecrow in old clothes and tied bundles of dried grass around the hands and feet with string.
We added buttons for eyes, a felt nose and sewed a smile using wool. Adding a hat and scarf and some straw in his pockets gave him some character.