Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Birdhouse

A bit ago my wife says to me, "you need to build something with the kids."  This past weekend, we built/builded (builded?) a birdhouse....
The 3 of us went to the basement.  I found a sheet of Luan board and some rather thick molding.  I ended up using the molding for the rough frame and the luan, of course, for the main walls.
Before we got going, the 6 year old saw me getting all the stuff ready: work bench, drill, nails and screws, etc.  When he found out it was going to be a bird house he said, "I don't want to build a birdhouse.  I want to build a clock."  To wit I retorted, "based on the tools, materials and engineering expertise at hand, I can assure you that we will not be building a clock, unless it is a sundial...."
And thus, so, the birdhouse began.  As it started coming together in my mind and before my eyes -- the 6 year old jetted from the project about 5 minutes into it, but my daughter stayed enthralled over the entire weekend, and was eager and asking to do more, a great assistant -- before long, the project took on a life of its own.
I thus approached the project, the thing -- a birdhouse -- as a analyst/engineer might:
  • What are we building? a birdhouse.
  • Why? for birds to live and raise a family in.
  • How should it work: for years, over many seasons.
  • What are the challenges:
    • Maintenance
    • Adaptability (you know, making it so different birds can live in it of different sizes)
    • Durability (the birds need a safe, dry home)

 Maintenance: cleaning a birdhouse is something any proud birdhouse maker/owner should do.  If you don't agree, then I question your claims to ornithology.  To answer this challenge, I created a removable shelf in the bottom, with a crude handle.  The front panel was only framed, allowing the some 5 inches of shelf to be fully removed.  Using tin snips, I cut a piece of old metal blinds, attaching this to the rear of the shelf.  This will grab the debris of the old nests, and yank it out when the shelf is removed. 
(Finishing nails were only used at first to hold pieces in place, but screws throughout of both 3/4 inch and up to 2.5 inches in length.  All were pre-drilled.)
Adaptability: the front panel is entirely separate, held in place by screen door levers I had lying about.  Simply turn all 4 corner levers 180 degrees clearing the entire "fake" front, and it is removable.  This feature serves a 2-fold function: ability to apply different front panels, ergo, "bird holes" (and the size of the hole matters, google it) while also allowing for the maintenance feature listed above.
Durability: I caulked with White Lighting all purpose interior/exterior caulk the entire structure, which now consists of a nice, pitched roof -- well fortified in the interior with more thick molding -- and also, Ace Hardware provided very nice, new-brand exterior latex paint, which my daughter and I applied just yesterday.
The project continues.  I plan on purchasing new Dremel bits -- lost mine in the move -- in order to finish cutting off any screw-points within the structure (my daughter is worried they will hurt the birdies; yes I did Dremel down many prior to the roof; these are the roof screws that punched through ... they were _that_ long).  I bought exterior green and yellow paint for the kids to finish the look, and I'm considering attempting to paint/caulk the insides as well.
I think in Bird House v.0.0.12b, I will make even more adaptability by being able to disassemble the structure further, in order to perform deeper maintenance.
Last night, my wife says, "I think the next time you show it to me, it will have electricity wired-in."  I thought, "hmmmmm."
And so, according to Progressive Theology, this is exactly how we and our cosmos came about.  God set out to make a simple garden, with a simple man and some animals.  He thought this would be cool and fun.  But not long into it, Adam was lonely, so god made Eve (by ripping Adam apart mind you).  This became problematic as well, and before you know it, god is instilling such concepts in the minds of people as Wall Street, French food, hamster cages and weird Japanese pop culture.  He also took the time at some point after the initial project to toss in Super Novas, red Mars' dirt and solid ice on Mercury that exists along-side molten rock.  Once we started reeeally looking at the stars, he went, "oh sh*t!" and threw some other galaxies out there.
Now, we're seeing about 14 billion years into the past.  Currently, he's affixing new features to look at beyond this.
He left up to us some work too -- like, the birds will build their nest, not me -- and to this, we as people created Big Brother, Jersey Shore and wearing one's pants "on the ground."  God looks at these things as we do the bird's nest containing a discarded 6-holed, plastic, soda can holder and bits of garbage VHS tape, and he thinks to himself, "they really just throw anything together they can find, no matter if it fits or not...."

Here it is with the roof not yet complete, no caulk/paint and some other things not yet done.  It is currently very caulked and painted "Designer White," exterior latex.  More coat going on tonight and hopefully some more dremeling -- ayeday I'm dremmelin'....

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