What’s Old is New Again

Cedarburg Fox Farm Creations Derives Character from Distressed Wood

Multi Condo Stone Birdhouse

Multi Condo Stone Birdhouse

It takes talent to see the beauty in old, neglected materials. And it takes imagination to find new ways to use things like rusted tin, faded boards, and wire. Sue Knox of Cedarburg has shown she can spot the possibilities in derelict things. She has been constructing birdhouses out of stone and old wood for the past 22 years.

It all began when she and her husband purchased and old fox farm. “All of the fox pens were still in the fields,” Knox says.  “The farm had not been in operation since the 40’s or 50’s, and the wood was wonderfully distressed and the tin rusted to a great shade of rust.  I decided to make a birdhouse from the old wood, and that was the start of many more houses, garden stakes and bird feeders.” Knox’s husband and children pitched in to help collect wood, tin tops, wire, hinges, and whatever else they could find in the old pens.  “After I had sold many birdhouses, people started collecting them and asking what was new.  I started to add stone to the houses and then I did full stone houses. Eventually, I added garden stakes and then feeders.”

Knox explains that hanging stone birdhouses for wrens and chickadees are selling especially well at the moment.  “People come back for another one as they have wrens fighting over the one they have,” she says. Another novel creation of hers involves small solar lights that Knox attaches to the back of a small stone birdhouse. Strictly decorative, these little yard accents give the impression that someone is home once night sets in.

Knox has created custom birdhouses for people, and in about to assemble her first bat house for a customer.

When you stop by Knox’s booth at Octoberfest you will see an assortment of birdhouses with half – stone and full – stone, along with half – stone and full stone hanging birdhouses for wrens or chickadees, garden stakes, and even oriole feeders. Though Knox has been at Octoberfest many times in the past 20 years, she clearly finds the experience rewarding, and that is advantageous for anyone looking to add a touch of her unique charm to the back yard.

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