Building a Better Birdhouse

We broke ground on Better Farm's second outbuilding last September during a memorial celebration for two dear old friends of mine, Em Doran and Emily Richardson. The memorial, coined "A Better Celebration", served as a launching point for future foundation and scholarship support for young women; and those in attendance at the event helped us at Better Farm out with several projects.

Blueberry bushes were planted, doors were painted (part of an ongoing art series led by artist-in-residence Mike Brown), and we started the second outbuilding, which we're calling the Birdhouse for very obvious reasons. The design was found by Corinne online, and we all fell in love:
The building is obviously amazing, but there were a few kinks we foresaw applying this model to the North Country: keeping the bugs out, having more space, and frost heave. This building was intended from the start to house artists-in-residence at Better Farm. So, we tweaked the design a bit to make it an 8'x10' building, allowed for four stilts rising up out of the ground, and included a proper door and window. Here are photos from the memorial party last September, when we dug holes and laid the groundwork:

Truly a group effort! After the party, several Better Farmers teamed up again with Craig and Teresa Rice and Jody Szepeski to get three of the four walls up and the roof framed.
And there she sat, as the cold winds came and we were forced indoors to endure the particularly cold North Country winter. As soon as the snow melted, it was back to work. A new crew came onto the job; namely, Joel Zimmer and Mark Huyser. Mark built the steps and put the door on (reclaimed from renovations at the Riveredge Hotel), Scotty Tummons came in to lay the roof down, and then Joel and Mark finished the edging, cut out the window David Garlock helped to draw, insulated and sheetrocked the walls, and (maybe most importantly) put the perch on. And, at long last, the birdhouse is just about finished:

See the full album here.

Many thanks to the entire Better Celebration crew, Craig Rice for getting the project planned and executed so skillfully, Redwood Lumber for meeting our demands for wood, David Garlock for donating the roof, Mark Huyser, Joel Zimmer, and Scotty Tummons for doing such nice work, and Erica Hauser for being the first person to call this birdhouse home.

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.