Salty Sam’s Fun Blog for Children

Number 330

Crop Circles

 

Hello Everyone

 

 

Everybody loves a good mystery, don’t they?

 

And for some, the more creepy and spooky and unexplainable the mystery is, the better!

 

Several years ago, in the mid 1970s to be exact, people in Britain were puzzled by strange circles and shapes that appeared overnight in some large fields of corn.

 

Some people argued that no human could have made such perfect circles without leaving tracks in the rest of the corn.

 

And so speculation started that they could only have been made by extraterrestrial beings.

 

Were they made by beings from another planet?

 

Were the strange, amazing and perfectly-formed shapes being made by the bottoms of spaceships resting down on the corn?

 

The crop wasn’t just crumpled down though, it was swirled around and the stalks were lying flat on the ground in a very regular way.

 

Or maybe aliens were sending important and complicated messages to each other in a form of communication that we could not understand.

 

The shapes seemed to be full of clever mathematics which might be very meaningful and relate to all sorts of difficult-to-understand subjects like astronomy or quantum physics or ancient magical spells.

 

These wonderful and complicated patterns were dubbed (named) ‘crop circles’.

 

These crop circles always appeared at night when nobody was looking.

 

Although they could be seen from the ground, the full spectacle of them could only be viewed from the air.

 

They were photographed from the sky by aircraft and the fame of the crop circles travelled far and wide.

 

They were reported on the news and many people had views about what could be causing these fantastic phenomena.

 

Every time a new crop circle appeared, journalists would rush to the scene trying to ascertain what had happened.

 

The roads were blocked with sightseers.

 

The news went global!

 

To make things even more mysterious, they often appeared near to very ancient sites of earthworks and stone circles.  Sometimes they were sited near underground streams or places known to have naturally-occurring magnetic fields.  Many of these were in Wiltshire.

 

Some of them were absolutely enormous at many metres across.

 

The argument raged for several months. 

 

Many people said that this was not a new phenomenon, and crop circles like these had been reported in the area before.  They had, in fact, been around since ancient times – and this added to the mystery.

 

People talked about a famous picture printed in 1678 that shows a circle in an oat field being worked in by mediaeval peasants.  But the stalks have clearly been cut and not laid down.

 

Were there rare and strange whirlwinds or magnetic energies coming out of the Earth that had not been known about before?

 

But it was mass-media spreading the news – and of course the availability of helicopters to film the circles, that lead to the hysteria about the circles.

 

Wiltshire, you have to understand, is a county where there is a lot of land owned by the military.  This land is not open to the public and manoeuvres that take place there are mostly hidden from view. 

 

ln addition, and maybe as a consequence, it is an area very famous for UFO sightings too.

 

But then, eventually, the people creating the shapes in the fields admitted to their tricks.

 

Can you guess how they had made them?

 

Well, they tied ropes to planks of wood and with the ropes looped over their shoulders they would tramp on the boards with their front foot and systematically squash down the corn as they walked forward. 

 

The simple piece of equipment of a length of string was used to accurately measure the width of the circles.  Some teams did use the kind of surveying equipment that builders use too.

 

They needed teams of people to carry out these night excursions – all the members of the team were sworn to secrecy.

 

They waited for a clear night when they could work by the light of the Moon and stars, and then they would not need torches which might attract attention.

 

They would park their cars a good way away and walk to their intended site with as much stealth as possible.

 

They worked when the ground was hard so that they did not leave footprints.  They walked between growing plants so that there were no visible tracks left.

 

lt was amazing how they could create such intricate and geometrically balanced patterns in this way when you consider they were working at ground level.  lt was quite a skill.

 

Sometimes they would add another tiny little circle at the side of a larger design.  This was like a signature and was called a grapeshot.

 

But of course the farmers did have quite a lot of their crop trampled down and some people were prosecuted for destruction of property!

 

Hundreds of pounds worth of damage could occur.

 

Nowadays, if crop circles are made, the creators tend to ask permission from the farmer.  Then the farmer can charge tourists to come and look at his crop circles which will compensate him for his lost yield.  Some farmers even sell souvenir T-shirts!

 

Crop circles are made in wheat and barley, which are thought to be the best stalks to use, but in other crops too.  The plants have to be stiff enough to be broken down in the right way. 

 

The crop has to be at the right stage of growth – not too young and not too dry.

 

The creators have always used plans.  But nowadays they can use computers, lasers and GPS systems to help them too.

 

Over the years, thousands of crop circles have been created in the central part of the south of England and many hundreds of pounds of crop are destroyed in the making of really big ones.

 

People still think they are magical to look at, and some people even say they are magical to be inside.  They say that when you stand in the middle of them you feel very relaxed – almost as if all your troubles disappear.  They report feeling strange and weird sensations.  They believe the crop circles must have special powers.

 

Crop circles now appear in many parts of the world.

 

lt has become a sort of hobby for some people.

 

Researchers into the phenomena are called cereologists.

 

After telling Bill and Bob about crop circles the other day, they said that they wanted to have a go at making crop circles on their lawn. 

 

lt had grown very long and they thought it might just be possible.

 

lt didn’t work very well though and their dad made them get the mower out and clear up their mess!

 

 

Bye bye everyone – don’t forget to subscribe to my blog!

 

Love and kisses

 

 

Salty Sam

heart

www.christina-sinclair.com

 

Bill and Bob’s Joke of the Weekjokejoke

 

Bob:  What has got ears but cannot hear?

 

Bill:  l don’t know.  What has got ears but cannot hear?

 

Bob:  A field of corn!

 

 

Salty Sam © Christina Sinclair 2015

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of material from this blog without express and written permission from this blog’s author and owner is strictly prohibited.

Links may be used to www.christina-sinclair.com

 

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Picture Gallery

 

1678 pamphlet on the Mowing-Devil

 

 

 

 

 

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  desk  THE SALTY SAM NEWS DESKdesk

 coffee

 

This week was a big week for Auntie Alice and her entrepreneurial endeavors.

You will remember that I told you about her schemes to make some extra money so that she could get her cottage re-thatched.

Bill and Bob thought they might need some extra money too, so they taught their piggy banks to sit up and beg.  The idea didn’t work very well.

Auntie Alice had some much better plans.

One of the things she planned to do was to hire out her doves to people who were holding weddings and parties.

They were to be released instead of balloons during the celebrations.

Auntie Alice was a bit nervous, but Captain Jack told her not to worry because he had trained them really well.

When the doves were first put in the dovecote we had made for them in Auntie Alice’s garden, we had to net them in to make sure they settled down and got to think of it as their new home.

Then a few weeks later, Captain Jack and Cousin Hamish took them a little way away from the garden in a basket in the back of Captain Jack’s car and then let them go.

They found their way back home.

The two men repeated this process taking the doves further away each time.

So Captain Jack was convinced that the birds would be able to find their way home after being released from a wedding down in the town last Saturday.

Auntie Alice waited back in the garden.

The children came round too.  They thought it was all really exciting.

Emily had a clip board and Bill had a clip board, and as everyone counted the birds coming back they both marked down the return of the doves by drawing five bar gates.

 

 

When they compared notes, both Emily and Bill had the same number of doves counted back and they knew all were safe and sound back in their home.

Auntie Alice was very relieved!

Operation Dove Release had been successful and the doves could be used for another party to be held next week.  Next time it will be a birthday party.

Everyone went inside to have a strawberry milkshake to celebrate!

 

 

 

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Quick Quiz

 

Can you pair these words up with their opposites?

 

exterior

recede

entrance

permanent

subsequent

modern

approximate

interior

prior

exit

temporary

ancient

proceed

precise

 

 

 

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lt’s the Weekend!

 

 

HOW TO MAKE A PlXlE lN HlS TOADSTOOL HlDEOUT

As you already know, pixies are very elusive creatures – that means they are hard to find – this is because when they hear humans coming, they quickly find a place to hide.

This pixie loves to hide in this toadstool.  When he closes the side of the toadstool up, you would never know he was there!

It is too small for him to live in all the time, but it serves well as a hidey-hole just until any danger has passed by.

 

 

PIXIE BODY (KNIT ONE)

Using 4mm knitting needles and dark green dk yarn cast on 15 stitches

Knit 10 rows of stocking stitch

Change to pink dk yarn

Knit 6 rows of stocking stitch

 

Change to brown dk yarn

Knit 2 rows of stocking stitch

 

Don’t cast off

Cut off the yarn leaving a length of about 10-15cm and thread this through the stitches on your needle and pull the knitting needle away

 

ARMS (KNIT TWO)

Using 4mm knitting needles and dark green dk yarn cast on 6 stitches

Knit 4 rows of stocking stitch

Change to pink

Knit 2 rows of stocking stitch

Don’t cast off

Cut off the yarn leaving a length of about 10cm and thread this through the stitches on your needle and pull the knitting needle away

 

LEGS (KNIT TWO)

Using 4mm knitting needles and dark green dk yarn cast on 8 stitches

Knit 8 rows of stocking stitch

Change to black yarn

Knit 2 rows of stocking stitch

Don’t cast off

Cut off the yarn leaving a length of about 10cm and thread this through the stitches on your needle and pull the knitting needle away

 

EARS (KNIT TWO)

Using 4mm knitting needles and pink dk yarn cast on 3 stitches

Knit 1 row

Knit 1 row

Cast off

 

HAT (KNIT TWO)

Using 4mm knitting needles and white dk yarn cast on 8 stitches

Purl 1 row

Purl 1 row

 

Change to light green dk yarn

Knit 1 row

 

Continue knitting in stocking stitch starting with a purl row and decrease 1 stitch at the beginning of each row until 1 stitch is left

Cast off

 

TO MAKE UP

  1. Swiss darn a line of white stitches over the dark green knitting at the bottom of the arms and legs
  2. Then at the top of the jacket and the bottom of the jacket – which is 3 rows up from the bottom of the body and join up these 2 horizontal lines with a vertical line just to the left of the centre line of knitting at the front
  3. Also put 3 French knots in the centre front line of knitting by wrapping red yarn around a knitter’s needles twice to make three buttons
  4. Sew up the back seam of the body and head right sides together using over-sew stitching and matching all colours up
  5. Turn the body and head the right way out
  6. Pull the top of the head shut and stuff the head and body (you may need to put a couple of extra stitches in the top of the head in the same colour yarn as the hair to close up the little hole)
  7. Sew along the inner leg seams using over-sew stitching right sides together and turn the legs the right way out
  8. Tightly bind the ankles twice around with black yarn
  9. Stuff the legs
  10. Sew across the top of the legs and the bottom of the body from behind (lay the legs across the stomach as you work) to attach the legs
  11. Sew a strand of pink yarn into the back of the neck and wrap it around the neck a couple of times, pull tight and secure the yarn into the centre back of the neck
  12. Embroider a face onto the front of the head using one strand of black yarn (you can pull double knitting yarn apart to get thinner strands)
  13. Sew along the under arm seams using over-sew stitching right sides together and turn the arms the right way out
  14. Tightly bind the wrists twice around with pink yarn
  15. Stuff the arms with the ends of the yarn left over from the knitting and a little stuffing as well if required
  16. Sew the arms securely to the sides of the body so that they point forward
  17. Sew the ears to the side of the head
  18. Sew up the side seams of the hat using over-sew stitching and right sides together
  19. Turn the hat the right way out and make a red bobble for the top of the hat with a French knot wrapped around the needle twice
  20. Sew the hat onto the head to keep it in place

 

 

There will be lot of stitches on your needles when you make the toadstool so you may want to look out some long needles if you have them.

 

TOADSTOOL STALK (KNIT ONE)

Using 4mm knitting needles and white dk yarn cast on 35 stitches

Knit 6 rows of garter stitch

Knit 22 rows of stocking stitch

Cast off

 

TOADSTOOL UNDERSIDE OF TOP (KNIT ONE)

Using 4mm knitting needles and white dk yarn cast on 280 stitches

Cast off

 

TOADSTOOL RED TOP (KNIT ONE)

Using 4mm knitting needles and red dk yarn cast on 300 stitches

Cast off

 

TOADSTOOL SPOTS (KNIT FIVE)

Using 4mm knitting needles and white dk yarn cast on 12 stitches

Cast off

 

 

TO MAKE UP

  1. Sew up the back seam of the stalk using over-sew stitching right sides together
  2. Turn the knitting the right way out and pull the knitting onto the empty inside of a roll of lavatory paper or kitchen paper which has been cut down to size
  3. Sew the red top, white underside of the top and spots into tight spirals
  4. Sew the spots to the red top and the underside to the red top
  5. The top will rest on the stalk and the pixie can lift it like a lid to quickly jump into his hideout – it is big enough for him to sit inside

 

 

Please note that the material on this blog is for personal use and for use in classrooms only.

It is a copyright infringement and, therefore, illegal under international law to sell items made with these patterns.

Use of the toys and projects is at your own risk.

©Christina Sinclair Designs 2015sand

Quick Quiz Answers

 

  1. exterior – interior
  2. entrance – exit
  3. modern – ancient
  4. approximate – precise
  5. prior – subsequent
  6. temporary – permanent
  7. proceed – recede

 

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