The Birdhouses at 173

Homes for Everyone!

Birds have always been friends of 173! For years we've been happily surprised at sunflowers and other flowers popping up in surprising places in the yard - presumably thanks to our friends!  As such, there have always been birdhouses around 173.  Some are a little fancy, none are real fancy, some are utilitarian, others decorative, but all of them have added to the fabric that is 173.

It's Not Just the Houses

Many of the plantings here have been done with birds in mind, from trees to bushes, and even vines like the honeysuckle.  There are so many varieties, one can barely count, let alone name them.  I've seen hummingbirds in the weigela and honeysuckle, and other flowers and bushes throughout the yards.  Geeze, I just learned that weigela is in the honeysuckle family!  The things we learn.

The Spa at 173

In the middle of the vegetable garden there's a birdbath, and many's the morning from the breakfast nook window, can be seen birds of all feathers splashing around.  

The robin flew from his swinging spray of ivy on to the top of the wall and he opened his beak and sang a loud, lovely trill, merely to show off.  Nothing in the world is quite as adorably lovely as a robin when he shows off - and they are nearly always doing it.  ― Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

Birdhouses Made at 173

Quite a few years ago, maybe around '98 or so, I put together several birdhouses using scrap wood, mostly 1/2" plywood. I have no idea what project the plywood was left over from, but - there it was. Some of these pictures may be a bit blurry, but that's because they're digital pictures taken from print pictures. No need to adjust your glasses! Difficult to see in this picture, but it's the yellow and green tall one, with the hippie flowers! See it back there? That birdhouse was in that spot for years. I don't know what became of it, but it's a goner.

Some of 173's favorite birds:
Cardinal Common Grackle  Robin     Mourning Dove

Precariously Placed

It's certainly clear that not all the birdhouses were for the birds (pun intended).  If you look closely at the steps on the back stoop, you can see the old red and black abode I made, also long gone...  No bird in their right mind would have made that house a home, and none did.  But it made for a nice little spot of interest in an otherwise dull vignette back in the day.

Some Need Remodeling

Some of the birdhouses have seen better days. A number of years ago a bird feeder went up on the shed, and lasted more than a decade...

We also picked up a gorgeous birdhouse made by some guy down in Texas and sold on ebay.

But, in recent years they both fell into such a state of disrepair they needed to be taken out of commission.  Although, I'm happy to remind our regular readers, the Texas birdhouse was mended just a few weeks ago!  Which reminds me, I need to get on with fixing up the old bird feeder too!

'Til then, they have a nice parking spot on the gardening table, which could use a little maintenance too.

Purely Decorative Houses

Over the years we picked up some little birdhouses that serve no practical purpose but add just a touch of whimsy here and there in the yards.  Here are a few:

As a matter of fact, the one on the upper right sits on a small shelf on the side of the shed...

Nothin' Like a Real Nest

Back in October of '18 the hemlock tree had to come down.  It was a real heartbreaker, not the least because that tree had been home to at least a few generations of robins and mourning doves.  

But today of all days, I see that a family of robins has made a new nest in the Charles Joly lilac bush!  That makes me feel a little better after having displaced them!  Sorry, I had to add some filters to the picture, but if you look closely, you can see a robin in the nest!  

Every day, when I hear the coo of the mourning doves, I can't help but think of WH Auden's terrible lament, which, because it comes so readily to my mind, I share with you here in its entirety.

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone, 
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone, 
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum 
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead 
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead, 
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves, 
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West, 
My working week and my Sunday rest, 
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song; 
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one; 
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun; 
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood; 
For nothing now can ever come to any good.  - W H Auden

And Here's My Favorite

I have no good pictures of the early days of this first birdhouse I built at 173.  Like the others, it was of the simplest design, and painted gray and red.  It's been perched (see what I did there?) at the end of the front yard corner post ever since that first day!  If you look closely you can see it in this picture, all open and exposed...

But now it's nicely tucked into a little grotto worn into the arbor vitae.

I find the older I get the more I appreciate things that have stood the test of time. They may be a little worn, maybe a bit broken, showing their age but still there.  Kind of a metaphor for me, maybe that's the attraction.  

Thanks for stopping by, and be safe out there,
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