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Meet the Columnist

Columnist, Sheila Moss, is humor writer from  Tennessee. She writes  a weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny things that happen to everyone.

   She has written for  the Daily News of Kingsport,   Griffin Journal, Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton Advocate,  and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal. She has been published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks at Guidepost Books.  Her articles have appeared in numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.

    She is a former board member and past  Editor of  the, website of  the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, the oldest and largest professional organization for columnists. She is the Web Editor of Southern  and  a founder of the Southern Humorists writers' organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of

    To carry her weekly column in your newspaper, or to republish an article, please contact her. It's that easy. 

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The 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 dreary landscape.

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 moss.

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 creations.


Copyright 2014 Sheila Moss

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