Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Garden Gnome Picnic

If you go out in the woods today,
You'd better not go alone.
It's lovely out in the woods today,
But safer to stay at home.

For every gnome that ever there was
Will gather there for certain, because
Today's the day the garden gnomes have their picnic

It looks like some of the guys are beginning to line up for the donkey ride.

Score: 0 points

Hey, the gnomes are having their holiday. Let's leave them alone.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Red and Blue Dutch

In the world of collecting it is a general practice to place collections together to get the full impact of the presentation. Sometimes people choose to string out their beloved items resulting in a poorer visual display.

Case in point: field reporter Eventer79 has submitted the following yard for scoring:

- dog: 1 point
- Kitsch Dutch people kissing (in blue): 3 points

- 2 deer: 2 points
- Really colorful bird bath: 1 point
- Check that out, second Dutch people kissing in red!: 3 points

- Chicken: 1 point
- Cutesy kid with an unfortunately shaped mushroom companion: 1 point
- Kitsch Yard jokey: 3 points

Creativity Bonus

I may have felt compelled to grant points if all 3 kitsch items were in a grouping. This yard is a great find but 0 points for creativity.

Total: 15 points

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Study in Birdbaths

I love birdbaths. Birdbaths are nature friendly. They create dimension in the garden, add interest in the dreary winter months and are a constant source of counting for the game. Often noticed, is the add a figurine and/or structure in the center of the birdbath phenomenon. The birdbath becomes a pseudo-pedestal used for additional display. What I love, is the broken birdbath display, unfortunately, all of these seems to be functional:

The score:
Birdbaths: 3 points
Girl with watering can: 1 point
Flamingo: 1 point
Goose (I think, that's what I am calling): 1 point
Frogs: 2 points

subtotal: 8 points

Creativity Bonus
Player 1: What will you give me for a frog with an umbrella
Player 2: You are always wanting something but
There seems to be some inappropriate touching...
Player 1: What, I cant believe I missed that. Oh, OK I want 1 point.
Total: 9 points

I don't count angels, although that may be a cherub. I'm calling out for a ruling on this.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Call Out for Super Chicken (Puk Awk)

To get you in the mood for today's entry cue the theme song:

Now that the tune is hopeless stuck in your head a little background. The highway game was developed over time by my daughter and I as we traveled to various shows and events. We prefer the smaller country roads to major interstates and when you spend a lot of time driving and admiring rural scenery, a pattern slowly begins to emerge. People like to decorate their yards in odd and amusing manners. It tends to happen in clusters. But more on that later. My daughter and I love the game, we still play it, her friends play it and some of my friends play it too. When I saw the super chicken I knew the time was right to share our enthusiasm with all 1 or 2 of you.
Without further adieu:

It is a Giant Chicken.

OK, let's score oh oh wait. It's a Giant Chicken.

- Chicken (super variety): 1 point

- Fancy fountain: 1 point

subtotal: 2 points

Creativity Bonus

There is a garden orb thingy that is usually not counted but this one is framed quite nicely with its own trellis: 1 point

Super Chicken (are you kidding me, I love this thing.) It is hard to see and I will provide proof at a later date, there are 4 spotlights on it! The Chicken is lit up at night in a spectacualer display of pride of ownership. And as my friend, eventer79 has pointed out - it's patriotic too. 4 points

total: 8 points

I only wish I had more points to give

Puk puk puk

Thank you Eventer79 for the spectacular photo. Check out her blog Wander With Wild Things as she explores the natural world.

Monday, January 26, 2009

South of the Border

This past weekend I had the privilege to travel the back roads of North and South Carolina and witnessed the true majesty that is South of the Border at night. I don't hesitate to say that it is the Las Vegas of the South. I unfortunately did not have my camera ready and although it in no way qualifies as yard art, it is visual entertainment. Be that as it may, it segues quite nicely into today's yard that has that pedro-like motif.

There is so much going on here that I can hardly contain my enthusiasm:

deer: 2 points
rabbit: 1 point
cat: 1 point
fox: 1 point
Little pedro guy taking a siesta: 1 point
I'm ignoring the owl because it may be there for working purposes

Kitsch factors:
2 lawn jockeys/ groomsman: 6 points
donkey and cart: 3 points

subtotal: 15 points

Creativity Bonus (are you kidding me)

It's a Mexican lawn jokey...He is lighting the way for the donkey cart meanwhile the seista guy is chained to the poor donkeys legs: 4 points

Total: 19 points.

You have got to love this stuff.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Kill the Wabbit

Eventer79 is stepping forward with an entry to play and has been challenged to score:

Because they are homemade (they appear to be giant Bic pens with Lego heads) and it looks like they are Ninja vikings (check out the ski masks), I want 1 point apiece. I'm not sure why they are all facing different directions, but my guess is that since they are Ninja vikings, they simply can't see each other. And I want 2 points for the cyclops dragon who has managed to sneak up that close to the vikings despite the fact that he has no legs or wings at all. His one eye must have special powers that allows him to see through Ninja invisibility.

score: 8 points

Here's where Eventer79 made a mistake and I would have called it differently:

- viking guys 7 points

- dragon 1 point

- subtotal: 8 points

Creativity Bonus

Eventer79: come on what do you give me for the cyclops dragon.

Player 2: Definitely worth 2 points although I think the vikings look like giant pez dispensers.

total: 10 points

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Country drive-by pleasure

Doesn't this warm your heart. It should, it shows wonderful yard art enthusiasm and patriotism all in one fell swoop. You have about 15 or 20 seconds depending on who is driving.... go

OK what's your count:

- Deer 1
- Cow 1
- Man pulling a donkey 1
- A giant chicken (way on the right) 1
- Bird bath (a great one but not spectacular) 1
- Wind mill thingy (non-functioning structure for decoration) 1
- Pony (it's way in the back, I'm calling it a pony and I'm driving) 1

score: 7


I not feeling great inspiration here. It's a very decent count but the display did not make me slow down and gloat to the opposing player. 0 points

All in all a great count. Although, I will take an inspired combination over a gross count.

Bluff (added 01/22/09)

There is no giant chicken in the yard. I threw out a bluff and my opponent has called me on it.

Revised score: 6

Dang it

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Dressed for the Occasion

One of the things that I truly enjoy are yard artists who dress their statuary for special occasions or for their own personal enjoyment. Notice that not only is the dog ready at any moment to go for a walk but also comes complete with a hat.

dog - 1 point

dressed - 1 point

total : 2 points

Creativity (give credit where credit is due)

Player 1: What will you give me for a dog dressed in a hat

Player 2: Nothing. I'm not impressed

Player 1: I'm pretty sure it's a rasta

Player 2: Oh... wow, 1 point

Player 1 has 3 points.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Most Amazing Find

I had a local display of yard art to discuss and score but I need to put this off until another day. I found the most one of the most amazing collections of yard art I have ever seen. The entire display can be viewed on

The sheer number and variety of animal statuary makes this a significant find. You have to admire the sheer tenacity of the collector. Also it is displayed in a linear fashion for drive-by viewing. Often times yard art is clustered in groupings making the score very difficult to tally. Right now Player 2 is having a mental melt down. Of course it is always required to call out as you are scoring.

Player 1:
black bear 1
giraffe 1
pony (I think) 1
polar bear 1

See its not nearly as easy as it looks. So far Player 1 has 4 points. I believe there are 14 statues here for 14 points. None of them are dressed. So no bonus points. Big score by sheer number.

Creativity (There's more!)

OK lets get to my favorite part of the game:

In the foreground you can see half of the famous donkey and flower cart statuary. At some point in the past, the flower cart met its demise but our creative yard enthusiast replaced the cart with an old metal wagon and then added a gigantic boy for the poor little donkey to pull.

Kitsch classic: donkey and cart: 3 points
out of proportion grouping: 1 point
what will I give you for the radio flyer (without wheels) wagon: 2 points
Score: 6 points
Total Player 1: 20 points
Player 2 needs to find a grave yard.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Rules

The Highway game was developed overtime along the back country roads of the rural south. It is therefore a driving game. You play the game as you enjoy the scenery and admire yard art along the way.

This is a game for the driver and passenger sides of the car. It can be played by a team or an individual player.

The rules are simple:

Points are gathered based on the type and style of the yard art.
Each item has to be declared out loud and accompanied by a running count.
Tallied scores are the responsibility of each player.
The game ends when the trip is over, a determined score is reached or the interest has waned.


Player1: 2 geese with clothes for 4 and a frog for 5

Player 1 has 5 points


Scoring can be open to interpretation. A team or player may opt for a calling from the opposing team. Because of the creativity of yard art enthusiasts, items in a single yard can be varied and unusual. Items may not be on the recognized list of scoring. Therefore you open the discussion with:
"what will you give me for..." These items could be the unusual, the highly creative or over the top kitsch.


player 1: What would you give me a goose wearing sunglasses

player 2: I don't know..... probably nothing

player 1: What if I told you it was wearing a bikini

player 2: Okay I'll give you an additional point

Player 1 now has 6 points

The opposing player can give up to 4 points for an individual item. Remember as the score is being negotiated other yards may be coming into play. Quick callings are important.


This is an old standard for highway games but it works. Grave yards zero out the tally. Grave yards are called by the opposing team. If the opposing team missed calling the grave yard then the score stands. Therefore each team is watching their side of the road for points but must remember to scan the opposing side of the car.

Important considerations:

You can't count it if you don't call it. Opt for higher scoring items or easy to call yard art items. Remember the game is played in a moving car. Yards go by very fast at 60 miles per hour. The driver has the advantage of "accidently slowing down" at a great yard. The passenger side has the advantage of not being the driver.


All yards can and will be open for debate. The game can get loud.