This gift is for birds

When we added finches to our family, we started with a cage on a table. As time passed and the birds doubled, we ended up with two cages in two different rooms, one on a chart table and one on two chairs close together.

It wasn’t ideal, but “ideal” wasn’t exactly what we were looking for over the past year. It was perfectly fine. Yet, as the person who feeds our birds and cleans the cages, I dreamed of the day when I could maybe have the birds in an easily accessible place.

I looked for shelves that could hold the cages, but nothing seemed sturdy and sturdy enough. And nothing was the right size.

I could only think of one solution. I asked my dad if he would be willing to build a stand for the cages.

My father is the son of a cabinet maker, and he himself is quite a craftsman. He built a large wooden toy box in the shape of a truck for each group of grandchildren. He designed and created bunk beds for my sister’s twins, who (inexplicably and without asking my permission) have just turned 4. on Christmas morning.

And he probably built dozens of other items that I’m forgetting right now.

If anyone could build the bird cage stand from all the bird cage stands it would be my dad.

He took measurements and designed the structure, keeping in mind that the stand had to be strong and sturdy, but also had to be open to allow air circulation for the birds. I didn’t have high expectations for the elegance of the stand, but my dad had a vision. He decided to go to a sawmill in Kingsville, where he bought a nice slab of ash. He asked a friend to plan the wood for him. Then he set to work.

Every now and then we got some exciting text updates on the progress he was making. After weeks of work, he announced he was done. Our stand was ready! John went to pick it up and bring it home, where he put a layer of polyurethane on it, and then we put the cages in place. It’s an absolutely gorgeous addition to our living room, and I smile every time I look at it.

Birds – who usually dislike change of any kind, even when it’s for the best – immediately seemed at home. And I have the easiest time feeding and cleaning them because the stand is beautifully open and accessible.

Best of all, of course, is that the booth was made just for us – or our finches – by my dad. It was installed in our house in time for the feast of St. Francis when our youngest son sprinkled the finches with holy water while I read a blessing. Finches love water, even when it is not sacred. They were chirping and dancing around their cages at their beautiful new booth.

This gift is for the birds and I love it.

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