A while back I build a bird house to spice up the ugly street sign in front of our house. Cassie and I took bets on how long it would last. Our block gets a lot of traffic, and is just up from some bars, so we weren’t terribly optimistic. Cassie guessed a week, I hoped it would last for 3 weeks. That was back in spring of 2013. Amazingly it survived Seattle street life. Until last week. Someone ripped the house off the post. The base is still embedded in the street sign post, but the house has been sheared off. I built that base to be strong – it’s a solid square of five pieces of wood glued together, with screws running diagonally though them. But it did last over a year – a year and a month to be precise, which massively exceeded our expectations. And people noticed it and thought it looked cool. For what it’s worth, during that whole year I never saw a bird in the birdhouse.
Cassie and I also ran a similar experiment last year – we placed a gnome in the traffic circle in front of our house. It looked really cool, but it wasn’t locked up. In the end the gnome lasted 3 weeks. Tons of people saw it, but nobody messed with it, until the northwest folklife festival arrived. The festival goers were parking in our neighborhood, and one of them walked off with the gnome. So I guess the lesson is that people are surprisingly honest in their own neighborhood, but not so much when they’re in someone else’s neighborhood.
Someone made an offering of an unopened bottle of beer to our gnome god.