Monday, February 16, 2009

My big bird cage

About six months ago I realized that my new porch's west side, a rectangular cage-like area, practically insisted on being a garden.

The cage part results from the need for security. Only a couple weeks after I moved in I woke up at 1 am to find a man’s arm poking through the screen in the bedroom next to mine. Seeing that disembodied arm enraged me. I scrambled back to my room to get my bolo to chop off that offending appendage, but alas, the arm’s owner heard me and made good his escape.

Anyway, the little prison cell looking area became a pretty little garden. It didn't happen overnight; of course, I did have a little to do with it. Once finished it was nice to have the view, but something was missing, something alive and moving besides the boring plants, which don't move around all that much. (I get bored easy. I MUST have action!)

Looking at the rectangular enclosure behind the bars and screen, now quite pleasing to the eye, it occurred to me that it already resembled a bird cage sans the birds. Birds! It was a minor Eureka moment. I would have birds.

I put the idea for it on my list of projects to eventually develop into reality. In other words I would bring it up to Eddie and let him mull it over. In short order that’s exactly what I did, and mulling is what he did.

Within a week he brought over a hand scrawled diagram of his vision, now our vision.

I especially liked its soaring height. Once completed it would arch up to well over ten feet. I knew the lucky birds that lived in there someday would certainly enjoy that. I mean if I was a bird, raised in a tiny cage with dozens of other birds, I’m sure I would enjoy all that room to "spread my wings."

To enclose it we decided to go with heavy duty green netting instead of metal screen. I see this netting everywhere around here used for all sorts of purposes; it’s easy to cut and shape, easy to fit, and easy to repair. I figured it would be better for the birds as well, easier on them for clutching purposes. In effect, the soft mesh would make every side of the cage a potential perching opportunity, including the topside.

Once I could pay him to start, Eddie came over one morning with his trusty well-used yellow arc welder and all the metal stock he’d need to manufacture the cage. It was already all laid out in the yard before I yawningly came out on the porch to see what all the noise was about.

We chatted for a few minutes as I had my morning coffee before I left him and one of his boys to their task. I took off for my daily couple of volunteer hours at the veterans’ service office knowing full well that I would come home to something pretty cool. It’s always like that with Eddie—leave him do his thing for a while, come back, and its Christmas morning.

Sure enough, that afternoon, there in the middle of the yard was the arching roof top of the soon-to-be over-sized bird cage. Resembling the frame of a miniature Quonset hut, its new coat of dark green paint cured in the sun for the next day’s continuing bit of progress.

By the next afternoon, again while I was at the office, four of “the boys” (they needed the extra hands and muscle to lift it) installed and welded into place the heavy roof frame. After that, all that was left to do was to make the resulting enclosure “bird tight.”

On the third day it was complete. I had my cage. Time to go bird shopping.


Ed said...

Looks awesome so far but I'm curious to know what you intend to do with all the droppings? Won't the grass and pavers get completely covered and nasty in short order?

PhilippinesPhil said...

Geez Ed. Let me finish! I'm still editing. My God your quick.

PhilippinesPhil said...

There done. And the answer is water. Lots of it, and drainage.

KA said...

how on earth are you able to keep up all this construction?

PhilippinesPhil said...

not hard... little bit at a time, and labor is cheap.