A flurry of white just danced past the window. Could it be that the East Coast's winter weather demon is rearing its head in the Pacific Northwest? Like cartoon characters, we comically double blink as if to refocus our view. Ahhh, false alarm. It was a springtime breeze that blew a gust of white petals (and not snow) from a neighbor's flowering pear tree. Blooms are bursting open in waves all around the neighborhood. We wish the same for our East Coast friends very soon.
Lately, we’ve been waking to the cheerful chirps of morning songbirds, as well as the sound of our old friend the woodpecker who has returned to announce the arrival of spring by rhythmically pecking at our metal chimney cap. It’s as if he hammers out “how was your winter, old mate?” with the cadence of a machine gun. Call him nature’s alarm clock.
The early signs of spring continue to bring renewed optimism especially during a cursory tour of our garden. It seems that a quick clean-up is all that’s necessary to reveal the beautiful buds that are sprouting from the ground. Scooping up handfuls of dried ornamental grass and gazing at the moss-covered rocks and trees hatches a fun idea. With a nod to the mama birds that will soon lay eggs in their beautifully designed yet ephemeral nests, it dawns on us to do something else with the detritus from the garden rather than dump it straight into the compost bin. Since this is the time of year where we get to indulge our inner child and decorate some eggs, why not create our own nest for them?
Doing our best to channel avian techniques, we source our materials from beneath trees, in flower beds and scattered all about to create a nest made of pine needles, dried grasses, twigs and mosses from the garden. In the spirit of spontaneity, we encourage you to go for a walk and see what unique materials you might find where you live.
Right from the start, we humbly realize that we might not be as skilled or as patient as a bird, so we improvise and cut a circle from a piece of recycled cardboard to use as the base of the nest. Admittedly, we are just winging it.
Wrap the grasses into a circle shape to fit the base and glue the grasses to the cardboard. Continuing to develop the nest shape by adding more grasses and needles, we keep going until the cardboard is covered from view. Then, the fun part begins. Time to trick out the nest. Trying to gain some style points to make up for our lack of nest-building experience, we bend some branches and weave them in.
Moss seems like a perfect fit to add color and a soft lining for the eggs to rest. Giving a bird-like hint, we add a flourish with some cherished feathers. In the end, we decide that some tiny quail eggs will be the perfect inhabitants of our nest. So, we blow out the contents of the eggs and clean them, no decoration necessary. It’s easier than you think and fun to do with kids. Here’s a link.
The essence of this little project is in keeping with the spirit of nature: accepting the beauty of the bits and pieces we collected; taking inspiration from our clever avian friends; creating something that serves it’s purpose for a short time and then gets repurposed as we go on to the next season. In fact, after we enjoy it as part of our table decor, we might put our nest outside to see if we get any feathery takers!