Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 90.djvu/908

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Entertaining the Crow

The modern scarecrow is a yelling gymnast that twirls with the wind

By George Worts

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��T is rather common knowl- edge that scarecrows are there to scare the crows away. If the unhappy figure, flapping in the breeze on its hickory limbs in the center of the cornfield, happens also to discourage the advances of the sparrow and the coyote, your average farmer is perfectly satisfied.

For the same reasons that childless indi- viduals know much more about raising sons and daughters than do fathers and mothers, persons who have never been nearer a farm than the observation platform of a fast train, know all about scaring the crows away.

Recently, several humorists, disguised as inventors, brightened up the columns of the Patent Ofhce Gazette with various im- provements upon the time honored, flapping, cornfield variety of scarecrow. While their inventions are labelled scarecrows or "crow jacks," the descriptions which accompany them are delicious satire. The inventors seem to have decided to furnish everybody with a laugh, from the employes in the patent ofhce to the crows in the cornfield. Each one of the little group of humorists was positive that the average farmer is not pleased with the dividends, so to speak, which his old suit of clothes draped over the usual hickory limbs or old broomsticks has been declaring.

Before these merry-makers ap- peared with their side-splitting

���The cornfield gladiator who waves his swords with the wind

��it had been our opinion most futile occupation in was that of the man who goes through all the mental gymnastics necessary to calculate, for example, that if all of the beans baked in Boston during one week were placed end to end, they would stretch from Hoboken, N. J., to Mars, with enough left over to pave a road twenty feet wide from Gallapolis, Ohio, to Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. But we overlooked the occupation of inventing improvements for old man scarecrow.

On the other hand, why waste time improving the hickory-and- old-clothes scarecrow of our fore- fathers? Why not adopt the scheme that a New York man applies to hens?

"The hen is instinctively a well mannered bird," says this poultry- man. "Be polite to her, and she will roost awake nights, hatching schemes to increase her output."

What stands in the way of applying this plan to scarecrows? A crow jack with a phonograph attachment which repeated in a soothing voice at inter- vals, "Please go 'way, Mr. Crow," should find the birds too polite to steal other folks' corn. They would flap their wings in embarrassment and fly guiltily away. This sugges- tion is offered to scarecrow inventors absolutely gratis. Compared with this idea, some of the schemes of the humorist-inventors are lacking in

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