Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Bird Bath

The bird bath in the backyard has not been without its problems. I bought it a few years ago at a statuary place in Skiatook.  I liked the design; a faux wood with a cute little squirrel at the base. The first problem was from a raccoon (although it could have been a cat) when I found the bath lying on the ground one morning with a huge chip out of the base causing stability problems. A few well placed rocks helped to get it back in service.  But a few days ago, when the ice melted, I noticed that the bath no longer held water.  Well it did, but only for a day or so.  Then it was lug a bucket out there or unreel the garden hose. Obviously an unsuitable situation. The thing is made of cement you see, and apparently the years of cold weather and the recent 6 below had taken its toll.
I wasn't all that upset as the bird bath had some inherent design flaws.  It was too deep for the little birds; chickadees, wrens, and such but the blue jays and cardinals loved it. Then, during hot weather, the Oklahoma wind and heat sucked the water out of it at the rate of about a gallon a day requiring constant maintenance.  It was time for a change.

The idea was to come up with a suitable spa for the birds that did not require a bucket or a hose, in other words flowing water.  Now I've had a little waterfall fixture back there for quite some time; nothing fancy mind you, just some rocks piled up with a pump and a piece of tubing.  What I had in mind was to create a flat area, with varying depths, suitable for the different species of birds. This proved to be beyond my skill levels.  Try as I might, I couldn't figure out do it and keep the water level where I wanted it and at the same time, contain said water in the intended area without flooding Osage County.  My best idea, theoretically, was to make a mold from whatever and with a bag of instant cement, make my own basin. But then there was the matter of the spillway, how to control that. It was all sooo much trouble.

It was then that I remembered that my friend Bill had given me a piece of pond liner from his water project (his looks great) and used that as my starting point. Much to my surprise, it was none other than the Missus who came up with the idea of using the old bird bath basin as part of the new design. A few well placed rocks and some gravel provided the variance in depth. Turns out, all I had to do was chip out a portion of the concrete on the old bath and I had my spillway. Didn't matter that it leaked a little, the liner would catch it and divert it down the waterfall.

A half day of back breaking labor and voila, a free flowing birdbath.  I brought the Missus outside to admire my work.

"Nice," she said. "The cats will love it.  Now they only have to jump half as high to get a bird."

I"m bringing in the bulldozer tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. Your heart is bigger than the whole wide world!!


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