07 December 2010

design for critters: Water Bowl

Okay, I guess a blog should (can?) be a warts-and-all proposition, so I'm posting this embarrassing image of my first foray into concrete artistry.

A friend of mine has made some beautiful concrete planters that we've used around the garden. I love them, and decided it was high time that I took a stab at making them. I knew the first one would be a learning experience (and probably the next three will be too), and well, it was...

The general form turned out OK for this water bowl, but the top edge is really uneven and crumbly, the inside to outside ratio is all wrong, and it just wasn't quite the sleek modern look I was hoping for. But, it'll do, and I've learned some lessons. Plus, it was really fun and easy to make.

I decided that it could still do its job: to provide a little water for wildlife. Providing wildlife a water source in the yard is critical. Amphibians, reptiles, birds, insects and mammals all need water to survive, and in the heat of summer, I've even seen birds lapping up the dripping water from our AC unit.

If you place a water bowl in the yard, be sure to include a rock so that frogs, toads and other critters that fall in can have something to grab onto so they don't drown.

In this water bowl, I used a large stone I collected from the Chihuahua Mountains in Mexico. It's hard to see, but there is a small spiral in the stone which I believe to be a fossil of some kind. The bowl is sitting between a native pale-leaf yucca (Yucca pallida) and a young anacua (sandpaper) tree, Ehretia anacua.

I can't wait to get back to work making more of these...hopefully I can learn from my mistakes!


Sarah said...

This is simply beautiful. Do you have a problem with mosquitoes? My husband and I argue about having standing water in our yard. I want to do things like this but he insists that it will be a breeding ground for the little buggers.

Janine Robinson said...

i love the raw, uneven edges of your bowl! that's what makes it so cool! we kicked around idea of making a larger version of one of these for a firebowl/firepit, but opted for block. i think you should make more!!

Lee said...

You know, we have so many damn mosquitoes anyway that I don't think one bowl will be a problem. ;-) That being said, the best way to deal with skeeter larvae is to just spray out the bowl with a hose or empty it every now and again. The larvae take a little while to mature and they need standing water. I know people with larger bowls also throw in mosquito dunks, which is a little tab of chemicals that effects the bug and not the birds.

Carey Brown Strombotne said...

Your bowl is great and I really like that it is homemade. I also have been thinking of making a bigger version for a fire pit. Can you tell me how you made the mold, and any other tips for making this? Great job, and look forward to seeing more of your "mistakes"!