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frost killed all my flowers and only a few hardy survivor plants
struggled in the cold winter ground. Soon, they too would yield to the
cold. Winter birds scurried around the bird feeder looking for food.
It was depressing to look out my window, but I had an idea.
In the attic, I had about a dozen old bird houses
inherited when my dad passed away. It was too cold for the birds to
build nests now, but the bright colors would add a happy note to the
Daddy had a workshop in the old tin garage behind his
house near the garden. He loved to piddle with wood and build things.
Benches, tool boxes, and bird houses were his specialty. He had given
all the kids and grandkids more birdhouses than they had room to hang,
and anyone he liked received a bird house.
His birdhouses were not the fancy decorated ones like
you see in stores. They were real birdhouses, the kind birds actually
live in. There is something about knowing a birdhouse is functional,
not just a decoration, that appeals to me.
Online I had seen a picture of bird houses displayed
on an old wooden ladder. As luck would have it, I had an old wooden
ladder that I had not yet thrown away. It was not safe for climbing
any more, but it could easily hold birdhouses.
So, I went upstairs to the attic and dragged the old
wooden ladder downstairs, through the house and out to the muddy yard.
When cleaning the attic, I had rediscovered the birdhouses, including
the large purple martin house that used to be nailed to a pole in
dadís back yard.
I arranged the birdhouses on the ladder and the
overflow went on a shelf on the fence that I use for plants in the
summer. Daddy had once decided that his plain houses needed to be
decorated and tried to paint flowers and decorations on some of them.
His wood working skills greatly exceeded his artistic skills.
I put them all outside anyhow and they were bright and
cheerful, painted in greens, blues, and reds. Every time I look out
the window, they make me smile.
No bird will move into them during the cold weather.
Next spring, I will need to move them, space them further apart and
put them where they are safe from the neighborís cats. For now,
however, they look great just as they are.
So, Iíve now become bird house buff. Iíve started
scouring Pinerest, Etsy, Amazon, and eBay to look at different styles
and types of houses. I am shocked at the prices, but intrigued by the
variety and design.Some are like miniature models of houses, some have
decorations like keys,knobs, or other hardware, some are painted with
elaborate decoration, and others are rustic, covered with twigs or
I decided that what I like is the natural look of
wood, bark and moss. The birds do not really care whether the house is
fancy. They want something that will provide shelter and deter
predators. I had already had one of my older houses claimed by wasps.
Nothing will run away birds faster than invading insects or animals.
I have disguised some of daddyís more flamboyant
artwork, painting some of the houses in more subdued colors. Iíve
added moss and bark to a few roofs. The only hardware added was a
horseshoe that used to hang over the door to daddyís garage. Somehow
it seems appropriate.
The one of a kind, rustic bird houses made by hand
will always be distinctive. You can mass produce bird houses that look
better, but you canít mass produce the love daddy put in each of his