Friday, April 20, 2012

Build a Leaf Bird Feeder/Birdbath

" Nature's Lullaby"
A Scottish Folksong 
written by Richard Compton

Hush-a-bye, baby,
The night winds are sighing,
Go to sleep, baby,
The crickets are crying;
Sleep 'til the dew
On the green grass is winking,
Sleep 'til the morning sun
Wakens you blinking.
Warm in their woolly folds, 

Lambkins are resting,
Soft in their swaying beds,
Birds are nesting;
All through the night
In your cradle lie dreaming
'Til the bright sun
Through the window comes streaming.
Off in the distance,
a hoot owl is calling,
Into sweet dreams,
Little babes should be falling;
Hush-a-bye, baby, 
It's time you were sleeping,
"Til the rays of sunlight
At morning come creeping.


Well, I just must be the luckiest blogger on the planet! I have some very astute readers who advised me to snip off that rhubarb seed pod before it ruined my plant! Thanks, Carole! It's so nice to have the experts with us! 

 Hot as Hades here, so I am grateful to be inside writing the blog instead of out there weeding!

BINDI UPDATE: Wow, we are really coming along and I have a sneaking suspicion that it won't take the whole three months with the heat up here! We stuck our hands in there and burnt our hands! The people at Starbucks have adopted us and leave the coffee grounds to the side for us. Today I add some wonderful watermelon rind, coffee grounds and some dried chicken poop.

Just know you'll get a kick out of this! I had to take my dog to the vet yesterday and was going to not-my-regular office , as our favorite vet is transitioning to a new office. This place is hideously expensive and I wasn't quite sure they took farm animals so I hid L'Oreal, our little chick, in a big purse, where she had lots of air but nobody could see her! Ok, I must be a redneck've ever had a chicken in your purse! Turns out she has a swollen elbow so she is now on antibiotics. We put her with the other little runt so they can grow happily without being harassed and bullied by the bigger ones. So L'Oreal and Maybelline have the chicken hospital all to themselves. The other 12 chicks have grown so big they are now in their own run. Once L'Oreal and Maybelline grow big they will join our other two oft-bullied hens, Babe and Snow White, in their run where they will be welcomed.
You don't have to pay a lot to have a one-of-a-kind birdbath/feeder! This project also makes a serene resting place for butterflies as well.
You will need:

  • A leaf that is at least 10 inches long and 7 inches wide. Here's some plants that have big leaves: hosta, rhubarb, elephant ear, burdock, gunnera, castor bean, caladium, etc.
  • Plastic sheet or large plastic bag to cover workplace
  • 1/2 to 1 bag of play sand
  • 3 to 4 cups of contractors sand
  • 1 to 2 cups of Portland cement
  • Concrete fortifier
  • bucket to make cement in
  • sturdy stirring stick
  • rubber gloves
  • green or brown spray paint
  • concrete sealer
  • spray bottle of water
  • small foam brush
  • measuring cup
  • Take your leaf and wash and dry it well. Spread flat and remove stem.
  • Spread out as sheet of plastic or large plastic trashbag to protect work surface. HINT: If you plan to do more than one of these, it helps to have a sturdy piece of plywood you cover with the plastic, so you can remove the first one and have room to work on another.
  • Pour the play sand onto the plastic and make a pile. Wet the sand slightly with the spray bottle of water so that it sticks together, like you would for a sand castle.
  • Using your rubber gloves, shape the pile to approximately the size and shape of your leaf, but keep in mind that birds do not like baths that are more than a few inches deep.
  • Once the sand pile is to your liking, cover it with a piece of plastic or a plastic bag. Place the leaf vein-side up on top of the plastic, centering it. 
  • In a bucket, mix three parts of contractor's sand to one part Portland cement.
  • Mix 1/4 cup of water and 1/4 cup concrete fortifier, and add slowly to the sand until it reaches the consistency of thick brownie batter. You may have to play with the mixture, mixing more water and fortifier if needed.
  • Rinse your gloves or hands. Pick up a handful of the sand mixture, plop it on the center of the leaf and spread to the edges, being careful not to tear the leaf. This gives you a solid surface that picks up the leaf's veining while removing air bubbles.
  • Now slowly build up the thickness of the casting. For strength, keep it between 1/2 and 1 inch thick. Be careful to keep the edges smooth to get a good contour.
  • Once you have it at a good thickness, build up the center to form a pedestal, with a flat surface for the bath to stand on once it is turned over.
  • Cover the mixture loosely with plastic, If it is a hot day, you might want to mist it from time to time to keep the casting from drying out too fast and cracking.

  • Let your project dry slowly about 24 hours. Then remove your outer plastic and discard the leaf.
  • After the casting has dried for a week, you can spray paint and then when dry, use concrete sealer. We brushed it on with a foam brush.This will protect it from the weather and make it water-proof to hold water for your birdbath.
  • Congrats! You now have a very unique conversation piece that is beautiful as well as functional for your garden! 


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1 comment:

Mary said...

Your lead pictures are always outstanding!