Gazing Globes? Take Tea Within Our Chicken Run

Yes, that is a gazing globe sitting on a stand in the middle of our chicken run.

Yes, we are weird.

Before last week, I never even knew that gazing globes existed. They are also known as yard globes, garden globes, gazing balls, lawn balls, mirror balls and chrome balls – or “orbs,” if you are highfalutin’.

Wikipedia says that gazing globes do nothing useful. They just sit there.

They are about the size of soccer balls, usually made out of ceramic, stained glass or, in our case, stainless steel.

I always thought of stainless steel as a valuable material. It shocked me to think of it as being shaped into a ball just for … what?

“Gazing ball” calls up the image of proper English ladies and gentlemen sipping tea in a manicured garden, silently sitting in a circle around a gazing ball, mesmerized by its reflections of light.

My wife claims that our gazing ball is in fact useful. The reflective ball is supposed to mesmerize hawks, according to my brother-in-law. Rusty Orner is knowledgeable about such things.

“Let’s get one!” said my wife.

“Why?” I asked. In nine years of keeping twentysomething flocks of chickens, we have never lost a bird to a varmint.

Besides, an Internet search revealed that a shiny soccer-size silver gazing ball could cost $35! Add another $20 for the stand, and one has $55 invested in a globe that will be surrounded, not by prim and proper English types, but by clucking, scratching hens and a crowing, strutting rooster.

“But I have seen hawks nearby!” my wife said.

Uh-huh. Sure.

We have seen hawks nearby for decades. They eat moles and voles. Even a large redtail hawk is only about as heavy as one of our chickens. Besides, our barn is out in the middle of a field, and is frequented by dogs and cats. They scare off hawks.

There is some danger from the air. Last year, as previously described in this space, a migrating eagle selected one of our barn cats for its morning meal.

Does a gazing globe scare off large, fearless eagles? Brother-in-law Rusty and the Internet are both silent on the topic.

To see the globes, do a Google search. Wikipedia displays a photograph of a gazing globe on a stand in a manicured lawn next to a lovely Dutch mansion.

Ours sits inside our mostly dirt, somewhat weedy chicken run behind the barn.

“No!” I said. “I shall not spend $55 or thereabouts just so chickens that have never been menaced by hawks can sit clucking in circles around it, while the strutting rooster pirouettes (and defecates) atop it!”

That put an end to the discussion, I thought. But my wife kept on giving me “the look,” also known as “the hairy eyeball.” It weakens me, like kryptonite on Superman.

A day later, there I was, at My Garden in Brookville. Sure enough, that store has gazing globes, but none were the requisite shiny silvered finish.

Up the road I went to Lori’s Landing, another delightful mish-mash of everything from five-seater garden swings to tiny bunches of flowers.

There sat a gazing globe, in silver, its once-bright sheen dulled a bit from having been outside.

“Just use Windex,” said the Lori’s Landing lady, with respect to restoring the finish.

I did. It shone. It reflected. But I am still skeptical.

Why anyone ever decided that gazing globes were worth wasting money on is beyond my understanding.

My wife’s understanding is that a dastardly attacking hawk, swooping toward the chicken run in dive-bomber fashion, will be suddenly startled, then frightened, by the reflection of what it believes to be another hawk zooming toward it with talons outstretched.

“Eek!” the attacking hawk will say, and veer off to find its meal among the mice and voles in our area’s fields and woodlots.

Uh-huh. Sure.

Think “elephants.”

You know the old story. You tell a gullible 6-year-old that you have a surefire way of keeping elephants away. He or she gazes admiringly at you. You clap your hands together loudly three times.

“Don’t see any elephants hereabouts, do you?” you ask, triumphantly.

Of course there are no elephants, but that has nothing to do with handclaps.

The gazing globe on its stand in our chicken run is supposedly standing heroic guard, keeping away all the menacing hawks that have never, in nearly a decade, attacked our flocks.

But it could serve a useful purpose. If a caravan of visiting Brits happens to chug down our rural road in their Rolls Royce or Phaeton, they are welcome to park and step into our chicken run to take their tea in a circle as their images are reflected by our new gazing globe.

Just one thing. Before re-entering the luxurious Rolls – wipe your feet!

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Denny Bonavita is a former editor at newspapers in DuBois and Warren. He lives near Brookville. Email: denny2319@windstream.net