For Summer 2020, I am trying to get out more with a sense of purpose to enjoy the fresh Nova Scotian air. This project was spawn from the Insect Hotel.
While finding branches and logs on the property, we stumbled across a fallen and dried out tree. We have been collecting birdhouses from various artisans in Nova Scotia for the past couple years.
The insect hotel needs eco-balance to survive. This means birds to be bouncing around but they need a few things for their own ecology.
We have planted trees for them to stop and perch to scout the grounds for food sources. If you attract the bugs, the bugs are the food for the birds. The bugs are also the pollinators for producing more food in turning the flowers into fruits in the trees.
So it’s not only ornamental but also a possibility for nesting and a place to rest.
Preparing the Tree
We pulled the tree out of the woods. Just a few spots where the bark hasn’t rotted off. Some of the branches were snapped and some of them still a little long.
I sawed off branches that were snapping and chipped off the bark. I also hand sanded the tree to remove the dirt. I also pressure washed the tree to get the final dirt off.
While the tree was drying, we picked up some semi-gloss outdoor paint to paint up the tree.
The painting was to be random, and random it was. I wanted the look to be extremely random. We looked up some outdoor artwork to get a sense of the colour.
We also looked at the existing birdhouses we had to help bring the balance.
Once the tree was painted, the birdhouses were attached. I also planted some sedum in the steel canoes that don’t mind drying out. They will flower, giving bug opportunities for food later in the season.
Securing the Tree
I left the bottom unpainted to represent the 3 feet that will be sunk into the ground. I wrapped the the bottom with chicken wire which will help the cement grab onto pole better.
While transporting it was the easy part, getting it into a sono tube was hell. The tree is 35 feet long and really heavy. If ever there was something to be said about thinking about size in advance, we didn’t think of that.
It was an ordeal and a half to get it to go upright without falling over. It had to slip vertically down into the 3-foot tube hole.
It slipped in after a lot of effort. Two bags of cement mix and filling in the hole with large rocks from the property were put for the first 2 feet into the hole. This allows the cement to form around the rocks to better lock.
Using 3 spare pieces of beams, we secure the pole vertically. Then filled in the hole with cement and added water.
The beams stayed on the pole for 2 weeks after. It was pretty windy over the 2 weeks and rained a lot. This allowed the pole to settle. The pole doesn’t shake in the wind, so it’s secure.
The beams were removed. Since put up, swallows, which we have never seen here before, have stopped by and sitting on the branches looking over the property. We don’t expect anything to move in.
With this up, it spawned the new idea of doing more birdhouse structures. However, with COVID-19, buying more from artisans with most things closed is unlikely. If I want more birdhouses, I will have to learn how to make more.
It looks really colourful in the sunlight.