The two images in this blog are of a bird house that rests on the mantle in my living room. One is an overview picture that shows the complete birdhouse, and the other is a close up that shows the exit holes of powder post beetles that attacked the wood and came and went many decades ago. This birdhouse is in a prominent location in my house, and I see it every day and it reminds me of my father who has since gone on to Glory. Many years ago after he had retired, he took down the old house (home place) in rural Illinois where he grew up. He did it board by board and it took him a long time. I don’t recall how many years. The house was in very poor condition and needed to come down. I can still remember walking through that house and even as a young boy, I was struck by the simple living conditions. The outhouse was behind the house as was a big garden.
He kept some of the yellow-poplar siding from the house and used it to build two birdhouses. One for me and one for my older brother. These birdhouses were built for humming birds he told us – note the small hole. He thought that we would use them outside as any other birdhouse. However, we both have kept them in our houses as cherished reminders of a great man and father. I know that when I die if I can become half the man that he was, even on his worst day, then I will be proud.
You may not have an old house to tear down or the time to do it, but I encourage you to look for opportunities to build something out of wood for your children or grandchildren. You have no idea how much they will treasure it. One possibility is that when it is time to cut down an old tree from your yard, save some of it to build something for your children and grandchildren. Maybe your father built a picnic table that is damaged beyond repair. Before you throw it out, try to salvage a few boards. Maybe you have to trim off some decayed wood on some pieces but save what you can. If possible, include the kids on the planning and the hands-on work of the project. You are building much more than a birdhouse or a cabinet. You are building precious memories that will leave a lasting legacy of you for those that mean so much to you.
Meet the Author
Dr. Todd Shupe is the President of Wood Science Consulting, LLC. He is a well-recognized expert on wood forensics, wood preservation, wood decay and degradation, and wood species identification. He has a broad background in new product development, quality management, and marketing and sales in both the public and private sectors. For more information please visit DrToddShupe.com.
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