Hortense Is On Watch

There are some things you need on the farm, and you buy them, like the fencing pliers I bought at True Value a couple of weeks ago, and like that chipper/mulcher Amanda and I gave each other for our anniversary. I owe you a description of the chipper, and it will be forthcoming shortly. And then there are the things that you would never buy for yourself, but they’re fun when someone you love gets them for you.


The solar-powered plastic owl scarecrow has to fall squarely into category #2. The box arrived after Father’s Day with no card, no explanation. Just a box from BIC Warehouse in Brooklyn, addressed to me. Had somebody sent us 10,000 ink pens? Inside I found 18 inches of mystery, a plastic owl scarecrow. Later figured out it was my Father’s Day gift from my son Joe and his wife Michelle. Michelle, bless her heart, did the spadework to find it and order it. I told them it was the perfect Lee gift!

I’m glad to say that with the exception of the crows that dealt us fits with the compost pile before we put a lid on the cage, we haven’t yet been aware of severe damage from birds. We know that birds love blueberries, and since the blueberries began bearing this spring we’ve been girding our loins for the onslaught, but it has yet to arrive. And that’s good timing for the owl scarecrow. The instruction card tied around Hortense’s (yeah, the name was my idea) neck helpfully warned me not to use her after the birds had already begun plundering.

I set a t-post at one end of the line of blueberries and mounted to it, you guessed it, a length of 3/4″ PVC pipe. I then sat Hortense on the pipe so that it looks like she’s perched on top of the t-post. Hortense is now on guard over our blueberries. The interesting thing about this is that we will never know if she has been effective, because we hadn’t gotten any bird damage yet anyway. But hey, can’t hurt, right? And there’s something sweet about having a gift from our children helping us protect those succulent berries.

The video runs a little less than a minute and gives you a chance to see Hortense is in action. Don’t say anything, though; you may break her concentration, and her work is important.

3 thoughts on “Hortense Is On Watch”

  1. This is so cool. Maybe I should get one. Houses in my neighborhood are often targeted by woodpeckers at sunrise. It’s a very unsettling way to wake up, especially when the rascal is a few feet away from one’s bed.

  2. Ooh, you’re right. I remember that sound at our suburban home. Why don’t you give it a month, and then I can tell you whether the birds seem to be leaving the blueberries alone?

  3. Hortense is so high tech! My Ganny just hung pie tins on the grape trellis, which seemed to work ok.

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