WON Landing Page OCT 2022

Babbs in the Woods: Take time to stop and spot the yard ornaments along the way

barb-baird-out-standing-in-field2One summer we pointed the big truck southward and headed to the Gulf Coast for our vacation. We loaded it with boogey boards, my teenage daughter’s entire flip-flop collection, a Gameboy, a thousand CDs and other necessities.

While traveling through our region, I decided to keep a record of some of the yard ornaments we saw in the Ozarks. This idea came to me after I marveled at a life-sized concrete pig statue, in Sedgwick, Ark., sporting a flag in its mouth – very patriotic.

The most popular yard ornament appeared to be the concrete birdbath. In Blackrock, Ark., a statue of the Virgin Mary stood in one. I recalled the time I’d seen Mary holding two flags, a cross between religion and patriotism, up in Westphalia, Mo.

Down the road, near Imboden, a homeowner had planted an entire flowerbed of whirling plastic daisies. I guess watering and pinching dead blossoms didn’t appeal to this gardener.

Of course, several donkeys pulling carts appeared as we zipped by houses. The city of Raven, Ark., has a 10-foot tall raven near the entrance to its city park. That looked daunting. Life-sized ravens look mean enough.

When I took over the driving, I tasked my husband with keeping the logbook of yard ornaments … “That place has too much stuff to write down,” he said, as we flew by yet another yard saturated with ornaments.

My daughter got into the act of spotting yard ornaments, too, until she exclaimed, “Hey, I just saw a naked guy come out of a trailer!” Thoroughly repulsed, she decided to go back to playing Gameboy.

Rusty cream cans, leprechauns sitting under mushrooms, windmills of all sizes (some tipped over on the ground), wagon wheels, swans, wishing wells, pink flamingos and water pumps stood alone or surrounded by green growth.

In Koshkonong, Mo., an old lawn mower had been gutted and an oak barrel filled with flowers placed on the mower deck. Now there’s a fellow that knows how to avoid weed- eating around statues. He probably moves the entire contraption, mows and then sets it back in place.

Another homeowner in Koshkonong had a life-sized plastic horse on his front lawn, as an obstacle between the driveway and the front door.

Here's one of my favorite houses for yard ornaments. This woman decorates for the seasons. Photo by Barbara Baird.

Here's one of my favorite houses for yard ornaments. This woman decorates for the seasons. Photo by Barbara Baird.

Yard ornaments reflect attitudes. There’s probably many an interesting story to go with those yard ornaments out there. You can hardly go 10 miles in rural America without seeing a deer in repose in someone’s yard, or ducks or geese.

My local nurseryman, Stanley Dillon, of Stanley’s Garden Center in St. James, Mo., has heard a few stories related to the purchase of yard ornaments. He stocks yard ornaments all year long, and says yard décor is a blessing to nursery owners. He thinks people have shown an increased interest in having yard ornaments because a well-maintained yard with some decoration usually indicates a well-maintained house. Taking that logic one step further, does it indicate a well-maintained mind?

Dillon’s bestseller in the yard ornament department is the concrete birdbath. He says folks also like figures that are “lifelike, such as children, angels and fairies.” Made of polyresin materials, these figures lend themselves to detailed work.

Stanley keeps two deer in his backyard, and a birdbath, too. He reminds birdbath owners “to dump out the water every two or three days, and to scrub the birdbath with a brush (no detergent).”

The next time you have to travel the highways and backroads, you might want to keep an eye out for unusual yard decorations. Who knows what “ornaments” you’ll see? It certainly helps to pass the time, and keeps you entertained, too.

~Barbara Baird

Twitter: http://twitter.com/babbsbaird
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  • About Barbara Baird

    Publisher/Editor Barbara Baird is a freelance writer in hunting, shooting and outdoor markets. Her bylines are found at several top hunting and shooting publications. She also is a travel writer, and you can follow her at https://www.ozarkian.com.


The Conversation

  • teebird says: September 29, 2009 at 10:32 am

    The yard ornaments are my favorite part of the drive to MO. The people of southern Arkansas are very creative 😉

  • Jo Schaper says: September 25, 2009 at 7:38 pm

    If you go out north of I-44 near Richland Missouri, on the county road you have to take to get to Cave (Formerly Caveman) Restaurant near the river, you will pass a cemetery which is full of yard ornaments between the stones. I’m talking plastic Sylvester and Tweeties, pink flamingoes, a jockey or two, and deer. It is a very small cemetery on a curve…we passed it in my former life as a wage slave, so I took no photos, nor noted its exact location. But the general effect is the same as coming around a curve and suddenly seeing a fully gold and bejeweled Indian elephant in the road ahead.

  • Tammy says: September 24, 2009 at 10:16 am

    Does the washing machine and the car on blocks count?? Might go well with the naked guy coming out of the trailer. HA HA!!