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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Rejuvenating Bird Houses, Feeders and Garden Statues, a Spring Chore





Yesterday I rejuvenated some birdhouses and my garden bunnies and made the decision, for now, to take my old party bird feeder out of commission. The old feeder and the bunnies have been with us for about ten years.

In the past ten years the feeder has had a new paint job almost every year and a few repairs, the bunny Mom has been repaired several times and the bunny set has had a couple different paint jobs. This is the first re-paint and modification for the little birdhouses.

I stashed parts from the big party feeder in case I want to repair it yet again in the future, this time it needs a more major overhaul than I want to do this season--just too busy. For this season at least, I am happy with the one big feeder I have in my garden, and I'll also have just one hummingbird feeder in the garden. Perhaps later I'll add on again, we shall see.

Its a little early for hummingbirds, but I think it may not be long. Yesterday I saw the one sign of spring that I think tells me it is here, the fire ant hills are active again. There are other signs. We slept with windows open some of last night, and could hear all the frogs and sometimes the neighbor's donkey too. There may be some cold days, but its all uphill from here I think.

I got out some sandpaper and a wire brush and cleaned off loose dirt and paint and smoothed out a gap in a bird house that I had fixed earlier with some wood filler so no baby birds would get wet in the rain. I painted the roofs only of the houses with an acrylic enamel paint formulated to use inside or out, 2 coats on each. I used old crafting acrylic paints. Berry Wine and Moss Green. The two houses also got little blocks of wood for their backs so I could mount them on trees rather than hang them from branches, we rigged it so that we can leave the wood blocks on the trees and simply remove one screw to detach the houses for future repairs and paint jobs.

Most of our trees do not have horizontal branches anyplace within reach, they are all tall trees, hanging a house from a branch as the little houses were originally designed would not work here; besides, I always thought it seemed treacherous to have a house that swayed about in the wind hanging from a chain or rope. I think the birds will prefer being solidly in place on the tree trunks.

Hubby was busy thinning out the woods around the now much bigger garden and cutting up some logs so I had him cut one tree and leave me about a 5 foot stump to mount my blue bird house on. They don't like their houses on trees that could harbor animals up above them--so this is more like a fence post and it is across a field so I hope they will find it inviting. I hung three houses this year. The other three I decided to retire. One is a cracked gourd house, the other two are metal and I don't think would be good to use, I think they'd either be too hot or too cold. I'll use them in the house maybe as decorations. I personally would not put my babies in a hot tin house would you?

The bunnies I usually paint brown and even detail some so they resemble the bunnies in old storybooks like Peter Rabbit. This year I repaired Mrs. Bunny with a mortar & stucco mix and she had little sandy grains all over her. It gave me an idea. Why not make the bunnies look like green moss was all over them? So they all got coated with the gritty mix and I brushed some of it off. I then gave them several coats of paint with a couple of different green spray paints. It took several coats because I needed to use the paint to sort of help 'cement' the mortar grit onto the bunnies. I will use them in a shady spot in the garden and I think next fall they will come in and overwinter in the house with some of my favorite plants. Hopefully next spring they'll just need a touch up and no more repairs. When/if I ever get tired of the moss look I'll just wire brush the bunnies and give them another new look.

Mrs. Bunny has had a tough life. She had weathered I don't know how many Wisconsin winters before she and I met, and fiver or six more after that. She then brought her two babies with her and joined us in Fargo where her ears had to be almost totally re-modeled. I seem to forget how fragile the ears can be and they seem the easiest sot to grab when she needs moving, oops. Since Fargo she has come along with her babes to North, and now South Carolina where I hope she'll continue to have a long useful life and keep those two babes with her as long as I live. They are a darling little set, I have no idea how old, but I know they are well over ten. The babies never grow up though, they just stay little and cute in the garden wherever it has been.

I now have my three feeders mounted across the field where I can see them from this window and also from my garden and the bunnies will be set in place in a shady bed later today now that they are dry. I will get a nice spot cleaned up for them.

Oh! There is a little blue bird now, is he looking at my house?? I hope so! I've put it in the best spot I could think of to get some bluebird action, usually that house ends up with sparrows, but I do keep trying. I wonder if a few meal worms might sweeten the deal? We shall see..

4 comments:

  1. Hello. I found you through 2 Tramps. Thanks for the reminder that I need to put up the bird houses.
    Judy

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  2. ~smile~ My birds reminded me, they all seem to be twitter-pated lately.

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  3. What adorable bunnies! You have had them so long...definately part of the family! Good job getting all thse houses up and going! I'm hoping for the bluebirds to come...

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  4. I'm watching the birds for reaction to the houses. I should have put them up earlier I think. The markets a bit slow now. A few 'looky lous' some 'fly bye's but no serious showings yet. I guess its a birdy's market. ;)

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