When doing my annual fall cleanup in the garden this year, I came across a couple of pretty decrepit looking bird houses that had been nailed onto the trunk of a couple of apple trees in the back yard, right next to the brand new squirrel proof bird feeder that I acquired last summer. I actually took a critical look at these old houses and determined that, yes , they’d had their day, served their purpose and were ready for the scrap heap.
Rustic & weathered, a bit crooked, lopsided even, any remains of paint long gone, they really didn’t do too much to enhance the decor of the yard.
Or did they?
Dad, do you know how to build a birdhouse?
I got thinking of the origins of these old hand made bird houses, and recalled that almost a quarter of a century ago my 6 year old sons bouncing home from school, shouting Dad, do you know how to build a birdhouse? It seems their class at school was doing a project on birds, and the teacher had suggested the kids enlist their parents in a home project and help them in building a birdhouse to round out the bird project.
Now this was long before the days of the Internet and Google, so getting bird house plans was a bit of a feat, but the teacher wisely dug up some birdhouse plans and photo copied them and sent a set home with each kid that needed them. Being the total non practical guy I am, I sure needed them.
I recall the better part of a Saturday was spent with the boys doing this “task”, a trip to the lumber yard to buy some plywood, a pint of paint, a hole saw attachment for my drill etc, and then some very pleasant hours measuring, cutting, gluing, nailing, and painting as we worked towards our finished product, a couple of very basic, generic style bird houses.
These were proudly taken to school for a “show and tell” session, then were nailed to the tree trunk with great expectations that spring. Sure enough, they did their job and a succession of birds filled them with twigs and made their home there. In fact there’s been many a sparrow emerge from it’s egg in those old bird houses.
I took a look at them today, dumped on the corner of the deck after I forgot to trash them last fall, now that we’re in our winter season, covered in snow, and definitely showing their age. Ready for the trash? Absolutely.
Will they get scrapped?
Not a chance!
You see some things are too precious to throw away, and one of these was memories of some good times with a couple of little guys as they “helped” their Dad build a bird house. They can be literally rotted and disintegrating entirely but I’m sure I’ll be finding a way to get them back up in the old apple trees next spring.
They might not be as glamorous as the Kinetic copper wind sculptures but they are every bit as important to the look and feel of my homely backyard!