Birdhouses: An Inspired Project

Reader Contribution by Shawn Hosford
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I have a deep appreciation for birds. As a young woman I took flying lessons and this increased my awareness of flight and all its wonder. I am one who is constantly looking up when hearing the slightest sound. I enjoy spotting eagles, owls, song birds, towhees, pileated woodpeckers, humming birds and most any other bird in flight or just going about the business of their day.

Because of this deep appreciation we no longer have cats as family pets. For me, cats love a life of outdoor fun. Fun for our last cat included hunting birds. Since the passing of Tinker Bell our garden’s bird population has increased significantly.

In homage to our neighborhood birds, I recently decided to build some birdhouses. Once I figured out which materials I wanted to use, I knew I would need Peter, Carly and Mark for help.

Peter is a gentle, patient, and skilled craftsman. We met recently when he helped with a home improvement project. While getting to know more about Peter, I learned that he loves woodworking. I too loved woodworking in high school but haven’t done much since. I remember what it felt like to take a chunk of wood and work with it as it became something else.

My newest woodworking plan included turning scraps of Carly’s childhood swing set into bird houses. I could reuse, reduce, recycle, and remember all the fun we enjoyed together on the swing set, while giving my local birds some new homes. Peter was more than willing to help me hollow out the log scraps from the old swing set. Together we spent a couple hours removing the centers of the play structure logs. He carved with his chainsaw and loaned me his chisel to do the finer detail. Once that was done, all that was left was to design and build.

As a birthday gift to me, Carly and Mark spent much of “my day” designing, gathering the salvage material, and building my ‘new’ bird houses. I can’t think of a better gift. The time we spent produced a visual product that reminds me of past time spent together. When I look at these lovely bird houses I get to remember Carly’s childhood swinging and our now shared adulthood building bird houses together as a loving family. For this I am truly grateful.

How do you celebrate your birthday? Can you reduce and reuse something in your life into a project with loved ones? How do you build memories?

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