A Kinrowan Estate story: Scarecrows

Fall leaves

Scarecrows are something that I think work rather well for keeping certain birds such as crows off the Estate crops, and they add a bit of whimsy to the fields so I let the Several Annies, Iain’s Library Apprentices, make a fresh batch of them every year.

Here in Scotland, we call them tatie bogles or craw-bogles. We put them up in the fields, one or two, to symbolically protect the crops from the sparrows, crows and such that like the things we plant. Like all magic, it’s a matter of believing they work that matters, so I let them be as they’ve been working for centuries.

Old clothes past wearing, straw for stuffing, eyes made of buttons snipped off clothes long gone, and fetish bags comprise them. The fetish bags, according to Estate Head Gardener journals, first appeared three centuries ago. The size of a small hand they contain feathers, bird bones, and such that together form talismans against the despoilers of the crops. No idea who first had the idea but I’m guessing it was the Estate Hedgewitch of that time as that’d be something one of them would do.

The Several Annies made some thirty of them over the past Winter, all of them as individual as the Estate felines are. We make a ritual of placing them up with Tamsin, the current Hedgewitch, blessing them and the fields they guard as they’re placed, and placing the talisman bags upon them one by one. After they’re all up, we hasten back to have a warming meal as its usually still quite raw when we put them up at first thaw.

now, as it’s Autumn, we do a ritual of taking them down and salvaging what can be reused which isn’t much given the weather in the course of time they stand watch.

And so another cycle that has no beginning or end goes on…

Fall leaves


I'm the publisher of Green Man Review and Sleeping Hedgehog. My current reading is the Wylding Hall novella by Elizabeth Hand, Simon R. Green’s Night Fall, and listening to Rita Mae Brown’s Crazy As A Fox. I'm listening to a whole bunch of new Celtic and Nordic new releases but I'll dip in my music collection for such artists as Blowzabella, Jay Ungar and Molly Mason, and Frifot as the weather stays nasty.

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