DYI Bird-Bath and Effortless Hummingbird Feeder Cleaning

Not a lot to this post, unless you like Birds. Especially Birds in your yard. I learned my enjoyment of birds from my Father. When I was young, he worked much of the week. One of the first things he did when getting home was fill his bird feeder with seed.

On a side note, my Father’s Bird Feeder was an upside down car hub cap on top of a galvanized pipe, stuck into the ground. The birds never seemed to mind. He also expanded into making Wren houses, raising Pheasants, Homing Pigeons (which flew back to their previous owner without fail), Chickens and Turkeys.

My Father’s Bird-Bath was the same. A second hub cap attached to a galvanized pipe, stuck into the ground. When I lived on my own, and took in (one at a time) stray cats which spent my out of town time outside, neighborhood sparrows were well fed on leftover bread. This kept a large bird population for the Cat to dine on when I wasn’t home. Lazy animal husbandry in action.

I’m now on my third Bird-Bath in one year. It hasn’t been a good time for Bird-Baths in my back yard. The first Bird-Bath broke in half. The second, laying on the ground in pieces in the bottom of the photograph, I thought was broken by wind. The third one, on the bottom left was knocked off the second night it was used. There have been sightings of Raccoon and Bobcat in the neighborhood this spring, so these may be the culprit knocking the baths down due to their weight. This is odd, because I am at least two miles from any wild areas.

I went to a second hand store looking for a cheap plastic something that would work as a bird bath and not break if knocked down. I found the current plastic ‘skylight’ Bird-Bath for $1.99.

I had my doubts it would work, as it doesn’t hold a lot of water and needs filling almost daily during these hot summer days. The skylight would fall off the pedestal in the slightest breeze, which was also a problem. Fortunately, I found the big piece of lava rock that is now sitting in the middle of the Bird-Bath. I fill the clay bath on the ground daily too.

The big piece of lava rock, displaced half the water holding ability, but the skylight hasn’t ‘fallen’ off. Considering the total cost of two dollars and change, I choose not to complain about the need for daily filling.

Bird-Baths do not need to be expensive. $1.99 for this incarnation!

Whet I do find fascinating about this most recent version of a Bird-Bath, is the number of Birds that show up and drink out of it! I have become spoiled over the years by Sparrows, Finches, Hawks, Robbins and Doves showing up throughout the day. With this newest Bird-Bath incarnation, the numbers of birds have increased four-fold!

I am not complaining, but rather, I am confused about why, when I had ‘real’ (and expensive) bird baths, the birds came hesitantly. Even with a sprinkler in the bath. Yet this cheap piece of oddly shaped plastic with a rock in the middle, really draws the birds in.

Bird related, I came up with an idea for my Hummingbird feeders, of which I have two. Instead of scrubbing the mold and slime out of them every three days when I put out a clean feeder, I came up with a no fuss solution. I empty the used feeder, rinse it, and place it in a covered bucket of bleach water.

After three days in bleach water, all the feeders need is a good rinse before use, to ensure the bleach water is rinsed off. I use 1/2 cup bleach per gallon of water. Being covered stops evaporation, so I will have enough solution for the rest of the season.

The Hummingbirds too are more prevalent now, and I am not scrubbing Hummingbird feeders in the kitchen sink, which makes my wife happy. If I forget to pull in a feeder after three days, I don’t have mold building up in the top of the feeder.

That’s it for this post, a bird loving bath, and no scrub Hummingbird feeders. Give my ideas a try, and let me know how they work for you.

Headlight Cleaning in Ten Easy Minutes

My vehicle headlights were so fogged over I may as well have had candles instead of headlights. They were so bad the only time I really noticed the colors of other vehicles at night was if another light source was shining in the other vehicle or it was a stop light.

It was so bad, it was getting to the time when I thought I shouldn’t be driving at night as the headlights were so bad. Not wanting to spend anywhere from $20.00 up to have them cleaned, after seeing how bad some of the cleaning jobs were, I decided I would clean my headlights myself.

I decided the headlights were suffering some form of oxidation. Oxidation with iron is rust, but other materials oxidise also. I knew it was severe oxidation as the vehicle is a 1998 model, and the headlights had never been cleaned.

Rummaging under the sink and laundry room, I came up with some possible solutions. Using a green scrubbing pad I tried the following which all failed: Ammonia and water, bleach and water, some glass cleaners, and other cleaning products. Don’t waste your time trying any of these, they do not work, and I am sure the finish on your vehicle would prefer they were not used.

When all else fails Google is your friend. I found the top three do it yourself recommendations were: Sand paper, tooth paste, and automotive mag aluminium cleaner. I looked at the sandpaper I had and it was all for wood, so that was a no go. I had some old tooth paste that had no additives such as whitener – whitener I read sometimes made it worse.

I tried the tooth paste and a green scrubbing pad for about ten minutes on one headlight. There was some improvement but nothing to write home about. The headlight now looked like it hadn’t been cleaned in at least ten years. Not the results I wanted.

I had an old, old jar of mag and aluminium cleaning paste I bought for another purpose several years ago. I dug it out, and it had a brown layer on top. Underneath though was the white cream I remembered. I cut off part of an old tee-shirt and started rubbing lightly as the directions said.

In less than five minutes I had an almost brand new looking headlight! It was a little cloudy, maybe from age, maybe from the toothpaste, but it looked almost brand new. I moved over to the other headlight, and five minutes later, same result!

I would expect you can have the same bright and shiny headlights if you are willing to spend a few minutes on each headlight. My results however may be different from yours, so remember you could end up ruining your headlight cover, and end up buying a brand new one. In my case the headlights were bad enough, it was a risk I was willing to take. Think about it before trying to clean those headlights yourself.

This was three weeks ago, and both headlights still look clean and shiny. Ten minutes work, and at least a twenty dollar savings. I am pretty happy with that!