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Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Sad Tale

 This bird house belonged to my grandmother. It hung in a tree in her backyard for as long as I can remember. Then when my grandparents died, my mom took it to her house at the beach where it hung for another very long time. When she moved to her new house there were no trees for it, so I brought it home with me. It most likely came from Seagrove. It is a funny piece, it wasn't glazed, just a bisque earthenware and as was common back in the day, my grandmother had painted it a light blue.
I recently took it down to have a look at it, and sadly found a dead baby bird inside. It was packed tight with pine straw and leaves and for some reason this little one did not leave the nest. I'm not sure if it got too big to get out of the hole or if it was just forgotten by the mother, but it was a very sad sight to see.
I tried to get it out, but I just got too creeped out by the whole thing and left it alone. I thought maybe by the end of summer it would decay and I could clean out the straw. No such luck. Yesterday as I was doing a raku fire, I had the idea to just put the bird house in one of my trash cans and smoke fire the bird house.

So, I had a little cremation for the baby bird. It was hard to do and I nearly cried. But oddly enough, my yard filled with birds while I was firing the piece. It was like they all came to a little bird funeral and I didn't feel so sad and alone. The bird house survived the smoke and fire and came out beautiful. It is a little worse for wear, this thing is at least 50 years old and probably older than that. It's perch was broken off long ago and there are lots of little chunks missing, but it is a beautiful shape and such a holder of memories. I cleaned it up, got all of the packed earth out of it and hung it back up. I'm not so sure about this design. It's hard to clean out and what if that little bird really did grow too big inside to get out and was trapped in there? I don't think that was the case, but if you are a potter making these bird houses, keep that in mind.....
Hopefully a new family will find this house in the spring and I will have some more baby birds next year. Since the baby was cremated inside this house, I like to think that there is a good spirit with it now. This has sure been a summer of bird episodes for me!

PS: I talked to my mom this morning and she reminded me that yesterday was my grandmother's birthday, how appropriate! She would have been 101years old

13 comments:

Dennis Allen said...

I love old country pots.Bet this potter made nice jugs and churns too.

pattispots said...

What a lovely story!!! So thoughtful of you...

Michèle Hastings said...

I was afraid you were going to say the birdhouse didn't survive the smoking, glad it did and that the little bird had a proper cremation.
If this keeps up we will have to start calling you the crazy bird lady!

Tracey Broome said...

Dennis, my mom thinks that this piece came from Cole Pottery in Seagrove, so yes there would have been jugs and churns, which I also have that belonged to my grandmother.
Thanks Patti
Michele, After I went back and looked at the pots, I figured some people would think uh oh, the pot broke! So glad it didn't!!

Kings Creek Pottery said...

I love your connection to nature and particularly the birds :) Sorry about the little guy who did not make it- he was fortunate to have such a nice place to transition from (the beautiful, old pot).

Tracey Broome said...

Hey Kathy, when you live with woods all around your house, you are connected to nature whether you want to be or not! But we like it that way

cookingwithgas said...

This is not sad to me at all- what a great story Tracey! You are connected to birds- you walk the walk when it comes to what is around you.
I love that bird house and think what you did by firing it was brilliant.

Tracey Broome said...

Well, good, I'm glad people weren't creeped out by this, thanks! I'm lucky the thing didn't blow up:)

JUDI TAVILL said...

wow. and major coincidence? interesting...

Lori Buff said...

This is not a creepy story at all, and where it's sad that the bird died it's very beautiful the way you honored it. I would have been afraid of damaging the pot in the raku, I'm so glad for the happy ending, that gives me confidence.

Tracey Broome said...

Judi, yeah, I had not even realized it was her birthday until late when I talked to my mom.
Hi Lori, I did feel like I was honoring this little life in a way. I have had an interesting summer with tiny lives...
I was pretty sure the pot would make it through a smoke firing, it has lasted this long being abused by three generations :)

Amy said...

wow, love the shape of this birdhouse and your story. Adrienne Dellinger makes these; and the birds seem to love them. Who knows what happened with the one bird inside. Love hearing how you honored its life.

Scott Garrett said...

Tracey, i love that bird house! I'd be happy to make that form over and over. I was glad it survived being smoked! great story too. I want one now to hang in my garden... it's not a very 'English' thing to make though, so I'd better learn how to make them myself... and switch to stoneware!!