For My Dear Birds

I woke up around 2 a.m., for no particular reason, and then found myself unable to go back to sleep as my brain kicked into gear. You know what was keeping me awake? No, not Election Lifetime; not covid; not the latest financial report from my business; not even the decisions that occupy my waking moments, like those about my old truck and how we could possibly manage some sort of annual holiday party at work. No, I was kept awake by a bird post.

Excuse me? What the heck is a bird post? I would tell you, but it doesn’t exist yet. Except in my mind, where it was quite busy during the wee hours.

As perhaps you are aware, this year for the first time in my life I bought a bird feeder, to go with my new hobby of attracting hummingbirds to keep the mosquitoes at bay.

I put the bird feeder, theoretically as a temporary measure, on the deck railing, although it ended up staying there until the weather turned cold. We must have picked up a more aggressive bird species around then, and the ingrates kept knocking the feeder off the rail, where the frozen ground chipped away at its plastic edges until I had to go buy a replacement feeder.

Looking around Tractor Supply for support options, I spent $1.50 on a plastic fence T post with clips for wire fencing. I hung the new bird feeder from a clip out in the yard, where it dangled, it turned out, at the perfect height for Lynn’s new pet deer, Faline.

Faline was completely without shame, snubbling up sunflower seed after dried fruit piece even as Lynn stepped outside and gained photojournalistic evidence of the misdeed. She didn’t flinch at any of Lynn’s attempts to get her to move on, and when she did, begrudgingly, leave her snack bar, she moved a few dozen feet away to the top of a berm, where she stood, waiting for Lynn to get out of her way.

Except that Lynn tricked her by bringing the bird feeder inside, where it currently resides, to the dismay of my magpie friends.

Prior to Faline’s appearance, I spent a weekend winterizing around the exterior of our house, stuffing more and more and more into the packed gills of our garage. (And deciding that I am done buying Lynn big items like gas firepits and deck umbrellas because we have nowhere to go with any of them.) While I was sorting through my magnificent collection of completely useless wood pieces, I ran across the 4 x 4 posts that once upon a time were the legs of Pat’s folding table. And I thought, I could stack these and make a post from which to hang my bird feeders. I could even put a birdhouse on the top.

But in my vast woodworking experience, I had no idea how best to connect the two 4 x 4s to make a post that’s higher than deer noses. I took them the other day to my woodshop for a consult with DJ, my teacher.

I don’t know what it means for my budding woodworking avocation, but for all intents and purposes my makers’ space is closed down. He and Branden are now using it as their own workshop, as Branden gets busier with calls for projects like my garage loft. Branden had previously told me about someone who abused their shop privilege, using up without apology or payment a bunch of supplies that weren’t covered by his membership cost. DJ said sockets have gone missing and at least one person was running a defacto mechanic’s shop out of there instead of personal use projects.

Branden had told me they were eliminating access codes for a lot of people (not me), but that’s different from closing down the entire maker concept. I’m still not clear, after talking to DJ, if I will be able to sign up for another year when my membership expires in January.

DJ kept saying they like me, and that I know how to use the tools, which is far bigger faith in me than I deserve (the nail gun and I are still barely speaking to each other, and while the chop saw and I get along, I have no idea how to use the router), but I have many grandiose plans for my woodworking future. And nowhere to fit a woodshop of my own into a garage packed to the gills.

Plus, I need supervision and direction, although at 2 a.m. I believe I had a better idea than DJ’s suggestion for hooking the two posts together. He was concerned that the post would bend at the join, but I think — at least, it sounded good at 2 a.m. — that if I cut two ends at 45-degree angles, I should be able to join them with screws and create one sturdy post. I think.

I still don’t know how best to go about a base for my post, although I imagine it involves more angles, or how to attach pegs from which to hang bird feeders, or how to build a birdhouse . . . This is going to be like my last bookcase, which I thought would get done quickly and only took two months of Sundays.

But at least it involved angles, which I almost scrapped but which ended up looking okay (I think) and have informed every project I’ve taken on since (except the casters I put on a repurposed TV stand, which now lives in our packed garage).

So today I’ll go work all the angles I thought of overnight, and see if they come to fruition, much to Faline’s chagrin, or if I should have spent my midnight hours ruminating on other issues, such as the election that has just been called, at very long last, for President Elect Biden.

My completed. but not completely filled, bookcase, started in August and not done until October. Birds may not get fed until next year.

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