Saturday, May 4, 2013

Hillbilly Lawn Ornaments

Today thoughts of spring have made My Hillbilly reflect back on the lovely yards he grew up with. Here he shares some Missouri gardening tips:

It is springtime and people are beginning to do yard work, planting, and decorating their yards.  Being a hillbilly that grew up on a small farm, yard work for me was mostly mowing.  Trimming around a house or flowers was just getting as close to them as I could get with a lawnmower.  Mom did the flower thing and if she made it to where it was hard to mow, flowers “accidentally” got mowed also.  One of the funnier plants she once ordered through the mail and planted had some fancy name but just wound up being what we call buck brush and grew wild all around us.
Buck brush plant
Missouri Buck Brush

But today, I want to talk about hillbilly decorations.

Hillbilly yard decorations vary from the more permanent to the more seasonal.  One I remember seeing quite a lot when I was a boy, was old toilet stools made into planters.  It was always a moving experience.  Just think of the ingenuity to not waste something to which you had such a close relationship. And there might have even been some natural minerals and fertilizer there that did not go to waste.  Just picture some bright orange flowers growing up out of the tank and purple flowers growing up from the stool.  I mean, it just makes your heart sing!  Other planters were made up of coffee cans, old dish pans, etc.  Why let anything go to waste?

Seriously, one of the cuter yard decorations I remember having seen was one my aunt made up.  She got one of my cousin's pair of old tennis shoes (I think they were size 16’s).  She cut a hole in the toe of each one, a couple of other small holes and planted hen and chicks.  It was actually quite cute.  
Not the actual shoes worn by The Hillbilly's actual cousin
Sometimes you saw old wooden wheel farm wagons or real old farm equipment. ---- I guess they were decorations.  It could have been that they had just been set aside, replaced, and not moved.  Then of course, there were the old cars, on or off blocks, engines hanging from the trees, etc.

Other decorations you saw were bull skulls, (I have actually seen large fake human skulls made from concrete), old milk or cream cans, mail boxes with supports made from logging chains welded into some shape.  Mail box supports made from old wheels, etc.  My parent’s box was kind of plain.  It was just an old milk can with a 4x4 post with a box mounted on it.  Years ago, I had one all welded up that poison sumac grew up on.  It was really pretty, but the mail man left me a note saying that if I wanted mail, I would have to remove the sumac.   Mostly, my parents and I were just into functionality.

Speaking of functionality, due to a rash of mail box damage by idiots driving by and bashing mail boxes with bats (probably by them there city folk), a friend of mine got an old round tank, filled it full of concrete, filled pipe with concrete, and made an almost indestructible mail box.  He figured it would almost break someone’s arm if they drove by and hit it with a bat.  Unfortunately, one of his neighbors hit it with a car first.  It flipped the car.  It was one mean mailbox.

Temporary decorations could vary depending upon how hillbilly the hillbilly was.  During good catfishing weather, I have seen yard fence post, (wooden fence post), with every post having a large catfish head decorating them, (mouth pushed over the post).  It was a decoration that made a statement --- look how good of a fisherman I am!  Of course there were the really temporary decorations of deer hanging from the trees or occasionally tied on the hood of the truck, (hillbilly hood ornament).

Cynthia's Note: I found pictures of catfish heads on fence posts. You don't want to see them. You're welcome.

The Ozarks are more modern now and have better decorations, like fake deer.  They have become pretty realistic.  I knew of some road hunters, (against the law), that drove by a yard one evening and saw one of them there decorative deer.  It was a buck with a good set of antlers.  They were wishing it was real.  As they started driving off, the ornament walked off into the woods!

Is it real, or is it Memorex?

By now, I am sure that there are some of you city folk are laughing and making fun of these different hillbilly yard ornaments.  I laugh at them too!  However, I don’t remember a single hillbilly, in my neck of the woods, that had one of them stinking, stupid, plastic, pink flamingos in their yard.  So there!  We were more uptown than you thought!

Pink flamingo lawn ornaments

Well, having said that, I think I will show this California neighborhood how to be tasteful in their yard decorating.  I suspect that after I get started, that very soon, they will all be asking for my advice on what to do with their yards, particularly after I have a good catfishing trip!

From the Hillbilly’s Corner!

Sigh. Well, while I go deal with the Homeowners' Association, why don't you all leave some comments about the most interesting and/or unusual yard decorations you've seen.