A scarecrow is an American icon. People have used
scarecrows for centuries to scare common crop predators
and pests (especially crows) away from their fields or
gardens. Most modern scarecrows are made with sticks, old
clothes, stuffed feed sacks and a straw hat. The scarecrow’s
purpose is to frighten, not harm, the grain-eating
opportunists. Scarecrows in Town Square, however, are
there to welcome people to Black Mountain. Come see,
look and have your picture taken. Just for fun.
Four years ago, Mary Werner suggested to The Beautification
Committee that we create a scarecrow and place it in Town
Square, not to scare off birds but for people to enjoy. This was
the beginning of our first scarecrow, Rocky.
Mary Werner and I got together to determine how to create a scarecrow who could endure the sun, rain and wind for a month and still look good. Mary is a great shopper. She found overalls, and boots at Good Will. A shirt and sweater were purchased at a great price at Kiwanis Thrift Shop. Some discarded clothing has also been gathered at various places--old gloves for hands, hats, burlap from a bag of peanuts, old buttons, pantyhose, pieces of material, dried gourds, plastic flowers. We even dumpster dived for pieces of wood and plastic piping. We needed hammers, nails, a glue gun, duct tape, needle and thread, plastic bags, newspaper, rebar, wire, straw and dried flowers.
We then laid out the clothing and decided what looked best for our scarecrow. We needed to decided where we would place our scarecrow in Town Square, and after determining that he (we knew now it would be a “he”) would sit on the bench, we went back to Mary’s garage to start putting him together. We decided to name him Rocky for Black Mountain, “The Little Town that Rocks.”
Rocky’s frame had to be made first. We started with his head, using an old pair of pantyhose. We filled the pantyhose with plastic grocery bags store stuffed with crumpled up pieces of newspaper. We then flipped the pantyhose upside down so that the filled pantyhose would now become his head and arms. We used the burlap peanut bag to cover the top of the panty hose and cut out pieces of material for his eyes and mouth. His eyes were enhanced with old buttons that were sewn onto the material. The first year the perfect nose turned out to be a dried gourd; it’s now an interesting piece of metal.
Since we decided Rocky would be seated, we used the plastic piping to provide support for his arms and legs. We inserted the legs of the pantyhose into arm's length portions of the plastic piping. We duct taped a piece of wood that would be his body to the plastic piping that would be his legs.
It was time now to start putting on his clothing. Shirt first and then overalls. We cut a sweater to use the sleeves for his socks. We tied pieces of the sweater together to use as a scarf. That scarf also helped keep his head sturdy.
Rocky, of course needed a hat to shade him from the sun so we glue gunned a straw hat to his head. We also glued dried and plastic flowers and a feather to his hat to make him look dapper. For his hair, we glued dried weeds and straw to the underside of his hat. Yes, the glue gun is our friend as long as you’re careful with the hot, molten glue.
The boots were fun. Mary did a wonderful job with her Good Will purchase and a super job polishing them. (She polishes them every year.) To attach the boots, we used rope and wire and tied the boots to the plastic piping, covering up what
we what we didn’t want to see with his socks.
So many people liked sitting with Rocky and getting their
pictures taken by his side, Mary and I decided Rocky needed
a friend so two years ago we created Rockette.
Since Rockette stands we had to buy a fence post to hold
her erect. The first year, Rockette only stood in Town Square
for one day. She was kidnapped. BUT fortunately, we found
her discarded parts and were able to bring her back to life.
Just like Rocky, Rockette’s body is filled with newspaper filled
plastic bags. Her head keeps its shape with the help of a
plastic mayonnaise jar inserted for more structure. Her hands
are discarded garden gloves filled with kapok and hot glued
to her dress.
Each year Mary and I get together, and we experiment with
ways to keep Rocky and Rockette together and looking good.
One year we dyed Rocky’s faded overalls. Another year we
replaced his nose. This year we’ve had to replace some of
Rocky and Rockette’s clothing because the clothing has
taken a beating in the wind, rain and sun.
Creating Rocky and Rockette takes planning, yes, AND we have so much fun doing it. Hope you find Rocky and Rockette fun too! Come see, look and have your picture taken. Just for fun.
Bio: Joyce Ackerman joined the Beautification Committee soon after retiring to Black Mountain in 2012 from Delaware with her husband Fritz. The couple maintains the Rain Garden in Town. Joyce assisted in plant selections for the recently installed planters in Town and planted and maintains four of those containers. She serves as the committee's garden site coordinator.